0

News

    Norge Roi - "Da Base" - It's a Beautiful Thing

    When you're engineering a blueprint to construct a world skydiving record, you have to start with a solid foundation. Roger Nelson, at Skydive Chicago, was building the 300-Way World Record attempt on Chicago native, Norge Roi.
    The objective of Skydive Chicago's endeavor to break its own world record was simple. Position twelve aircraft in formation at 21,000' above the ground. Have 300 skydivers jump out of the airplanes. Then, they will fly their bodies and dock on each other to form a pattern of concentric circles as big as a football field.
    Last, at predetermined altitudes, they will let go of each other, make a 180° turn, place their arms in a delta-wing position, and speed away from each other, deploy their canopies, and land. They have 70 seconds to create the formation while they're dropping through the sky at about 120 mph.
    Norge isn't just a team player, he's a team builder.It sounds scary, doesn't it. Yet, this effort wasn't about fear. It was about discipline, concentration, and team work. That's why Roger Nelson chose Norge Roi to be in slot "001"- the Captain of "Da Base". Norge isn't just a team player, he's a team builder.
    Many of the other 299 skydivers who participated in the World Record Camp arrived with thousands of jumps in their logbooks on August 12 to start building the formation. They were committed to making 24 jumps. But Norge's 6 to 15 person Base Team had been practicing all summer. One member drove six hours to practice each weekend. Another drove four hours. The Base Team had launched nearly 200 times, and successfully completed Da Base 97 % of those times. As a union carpenter, Norge understands the value of a cornerstone. Da Base was the cornerstone of the 300-Way.
    When asked what his duties as Base Captain were, Norge explains, "I was responsible for launching Base on heading, at the right speed, with nice, set back-up plans."
    Da Base grew from 6 to 15 and then to 60 on the record. But, Norge's responsibility didn't end there. He signaled the entire 300-Way skydiving formation when it was time to stop flying and start deploying their canopies. Break-off altitude for this formation was 6,500'. The team member opposite Norge wore his chest-mounted altimeter upside down, so that Norge can read it without turning his head.

    Conversation is impossible in freefall. Nevertheless, Da Base Six: Norge, George Wright, Duane Klinefelt, Christa Cross, Robert Lawton, Doug Durosia, and Mark Folkman communicated. "We had eye signals and head gestures-- we were very intimate with each other. My guys were spotting for me, all around me, watching for me."
    At 6,500', Norge threw out his pilot chute, a piece of fabric that in seconds catches the air, and deploys his main canopy. His pilot chute was the first signal that the dive was over.
    On video, when Norge's canopy deploys, he appears to be rocketing straight up from the center of the formation. In reality, the formation continued to fall while he was suspended above them.
    This is unusual because, at the end of a skydive, most skydivers turn and track away from the formation, for collision avoidance, before they deploy.
    When asked, as the centerpiece of the 300-Way, what he saw, Norge replies, "It was a beautiful thing. It was a trip. I've probably been extracted from 2,000 formations. I watch it every time. It almost looks like I'm taking off from it. It's a beautiful thing, the huge circular platform of colorful human bodies."
    "It's a beautiful thing. It's a romantic thing. Especially the sunset load." Only a very few people in the entire world have seen what Norge saw under canopy high above the formation. He adds, with wonder, "The deployment sequence looked like a fireworks explosion-- people were tracking away, then their canopies opened." Norge nods and repeats, "It's a beautiful thing."
    Norge's aesthetic appreciation may, at first, seem in-congruent. He's an imposing figure in his bright yellow jumpsuit, solid at 6' and 225 pounds. Rugged, with an easy grin that makes him seem much younger than his 45 years, his tone shifts. "I could see everything from up there, and I go into a defensive mode. I look for cutaways, wraps. Because I'm at 6,500', I could spot canopies on the other side of the river. As soon as I landed, I reported them to manifest so the divers could be picked up. I identified my guys by their parachutes. I wanted to know that they were OK. "

    As he continues, Norge softens again. "I was up so high -- I could see the twelve planes lined up on the horizon for the traffic pattern." And again he adds, with sincerity, "It's a beautiful thing. It's a romantic thing. Especially the sunset load."

    He explains, "I set up. I land. Then I reported on who's here. Who wasn't. Then, I went to the captain's meeting for the debriefing."
    Norge was also the Base Captain on the July 26, 1998, 246-Way World Record at Skydive Chicago. He has made nearly 3,000 jumps since he began in 1985.
    Why does he do it? Why does he keep skydiving? He gazes off into the distance while answering, "We're magic people... There's something in our composition... We have a high artistic value... Everybody here has a life wish... The camaraderie inspires me... We experience things that most people never experience... It's a special life... I really feel blessed... Not many people get to do this... Especially at this level... These are some of the best skydivers in the world."
    Roger Nelson was trying to create another world record, and he put a Chicago carpenter in charge of building the foundation. The efforts to break the record concluded on Sunday, August 20th. For more information about the record attempt, visit www.skydivechicago.com.
    Marcelaine Wininger is an instrument-rated commercial pilot, flight instructor, Grand Rapids FSDO Safety Counselor, and a skydiver. Her free-lance writing has appeared in McCall's, The AAA magazine, and Michigan Living, The International Journal for the Fantastic in the Arts, Teaching Theater, Michigan Education Association Voice, English Journal, Midwest Poetry Review, Superiorland, UP Catholic, Above the Bridge , Marquette Monthly and many newspapers. For three years she was a national-level American Red Cross Disaster Public Affairs Officer. In addition, she's an English teacher of at-risk high school students at Houghton High School in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

    By admin, in News,

    Squadron Leader Harry Ward, AFC, Parachutist, Dies at Age 97

    Squadron Leader Harry Ward, AFC, parachutist, was born on June 1, 1903. He died on July 24 aged 97
    IN THE heyday of the travelling air circuses of the 1930s, the former RAF parachutist Harry Ward toured the world, from Ireland to India, astonishing crowds with his death-defying "birdman" leaps from rickety biplanes. In his winged costume - which imparted a measure of control over the freefall - Ward was an early forerunner of today's skydivers.
    Ward's costumes were different from those of his fellow birdmen in one important respect. Far too many of those daredevil parachutists stunned the crowds by making a lasting impression on the ground when their chutes became entangled in fanciful clothing. Ward incorporated a release mechanism into his rig, to enable him to jettison his wings before he pulled the ripcord, so reducing the risk of snagging his parachute. In this way he lived to rejoin the RAF at the outbreak of the Second World War and serve as a parachute instructor.
    Henry Wilfred Ward was born in Hackney six months before the Wright brothers first flew. His first passion was painting and he studied at Bradford School of Art from 1919 to 1921. But he was one of seven children and there was no money to support a struggling artist, so he joined the fledgeling RAF and trained as a carpenter-rigger.
    He later went to the parachute section at Northolt as a packer, and became a parachutist himself when the commanding officer challenged him to jump with a chute he had just packed. He made his first descent from the wing of a Vickers Vimy biplane bomber. When the RAF's crack parachutist, Corporal Arthur East, was killed making a jump, Ward took his place in the RAF's demonstration team. (During the First World War parachutes had been discouraged on the assumption that flying without them "makes the chaps try harder".)
    But when the parachute ceased to be a novelty, the demonstration team was disbanded, and with the RAF in decline as the Twenties wore on Ward left the Service in 1929. On the strength of an RAF driving licence he became a London bus driver, and when the bus company formed its own flying club he volunteered to make a parachute jump at the opening ceremony.
    He was soon earning more from display jumping than from bus driving, so he left his job for the life of the travelling air circus. In the days long before steering toggles he attained a high degree of manoeuvring expertise with a simple 24ft canopy.
    With the circuses becoming less popular as the decade moved towards its close, Ward worked briefly as a mechanic for Imperial Airways before becoming a civilian instructor at the RAF's apprentice school at Cosford. He rejoined the RAF at the outbreak of the war and was soon helping to set up a parachute training school, to produce airborne forces.
    The first aircraft were Whitley bombers, with a hole in the floor in place of the ventral gun turret, through which the parachutists had to jump.Ward produced a prototype helmet, from strips of foam rubber purloined from his landlord's sofa, to afford the troops some protection against the hazards of dropping through the narrow slit. He also helped to prove the feasibility of using barrage balloons for parachutists' initial training.
    He was awarded the Air Force Cross in 1942 and posted to the staff of the Army's 1st Airborne Division. He finished the war as a squadron leader at the headquarters of 38 Group at Netheravon.
    A civilian again in 1945, he managed officers' clubs in Greece and Germany. Returning to England in 1951, he ran a succession of hotels and pubs in Yorkshire.
    He was twice married. His second wife predeceased him, but he is survived by two sons.

    By admin, in News,

    Acampo Sky Diver Dies in Jump

    Nicole Cadiz wanted one more sky dive before the day's end, but she never expected it to be her last.
    The 26-year-old woman died Saturday evening after winds ripped off her harness during a 13,500-foot free fall at the Parachute Center in Acampo, just north of Lodi, according to the San Joaquin County Coroner's Office.
    Cadiz, an experienced parachutist with more than 1,000 jumps under her belt, had executed eight leaps earlier in the day.
    Then, on her ninth just before 7:40 p.m., high-velocity winds snatched her harness and chute off her back.
    Parachute Center owner Bill Dause said Cadiz then attempted, but failed, to get back into her harness, and she plummeted to the ground.
    Paramedics found her in a neighboring vineyard.
    Her new husband, Anthony, was one of seven others making the jump with Cadiz.
    Dause attributed the accident to an unclipped chest strap -- which he could not explain -- and Cadiz's upside-down position in midair.
    "Skydiving is a high-risk act, but with the equipment we have, it's got to be a combination of things that go wrong for that to happen," he said. "It wasn't just that the chest strap was undone, but also her position in the air."
    The National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration investigates parachuting accidents, but representatives from the agencies could not be reached Sunday.
    Cadiz, an Acampo resident, worked as a manicurist in Lodi, though friends said her real passion was sky diving every weekend at the Parachute Center, where she first learned the sport seven years ago and became adept enough to work as a sky videographer.
    "She loved sky diving, she was always here," said a 21-year-old friend who was one of seven others with Cadiz on her fatal jump. "She was well-liked by everyone here. Her whole life was this drop zone."
    "It's just devastating, we're all devastated by this," added Jan Davis, who was editing a parachuting videotape on Sunday.
    The last parachuting death in the Sacramento region occurred at the Parachute Center last October when a 23-year-old Orangevale man committed suicide, said coroner's Deputy Al Ortiz.
    Nationwide, 32 of the 3.25 million parachute jumps made in 1997 resulted in fatalities, according to the U.S. Parachute Association, an Alexandria, Va.-based group that sets safety and training guidelines for the sport.
    Some at the Parachute Center were visibly shaken Sunday, but they still moved about the hangarlike building, packing their parachutes and watching others descend from the sky.
    Dause said parachutists understand their sport's inherent dangers and know that tragedies like Cadiz's can happen. Still, their love of the sport compels them to continue.
    "Everybody's sad," he said between flights. "But we've just got to bite our tongues and keep going."
    To see more of the Sacramento Bee, or to subscribe, go to http://www.sacbee.com
    © 2000 Sacramento Bee.

    By admin, in News,

    Tragedy Ends Skydive Effort

    Man dies, another injured after collision
    DAYTON TOWNSHIP -- The death of a Missoula, Mont., skydiver and the serious injury of another Sunday ended Skydive Chicago's attempt to break the world record for the number of skydivers in a free-fall formation.
    Paul L. Adams, 54, died during a mid-air collision with Kenneth Reed, 22, of Holts Summit, Mo., during an 10:30 a.m. jump, the 22nd jump record attempt.
    Reed was taken to Community Hospital of Ottawa, and was later airlifted to OSF St. Francis Medical Center in Peoria, where he remains in critical condition this morning.
    Sunday was the last day for the skydivers to break the record -- they had been attempting since Aug. 13, and had scheduled 24 jumps.
    The accident is being investigated by the La Salle County Sheriff's Department and the La Salle County Coroner's Office.
    "Unfortunately, on this jump, people from two different waves somehow crossed," said Roger Nelson, Skydive Chicago program director and jump participant. "We've had no problem on the other jumps."
    The decision was made after the accident to stop the world record attempt.
    The skydivers began to open their parachutes at about 7,500 feet, according to Nelson. Chutes are opened in "waves," meaning skydivers from the outer, middle, and inner rings of the flower-shaped formation open at different times and altitudes to avoid collisions.
    Adams opened his parachute first, and immediately struck Reed, Nelson said. Reed's parachute opened, and their passengers floated to the ground. Both divers were equipped with devices to automatically open the parachutes at a preset altitude.
    Adams was reported missing shortly after the jump. Each skydiver is required to check in immediately with a captain after landing to maintain accountability in the record attempt. The collision was spotted by another diver, who reported it to a ground medic.
    Adams' body was located by a spotter plane carrying Nelson, who jumped from the plane and landed near Adams' body in a cornfield off the runway.
    Nelson began yelling during the descent that he found Adams, said Sheriff Thomas Templeton. Nelson separated from his parachute and ran toward Adams. Adams was pronounced dead at the scene at 12:24 p.m., said La Salle County Coroner Jody Bernard. An autopsy is scheduled for later today. Bernard did not know if Adams was killed in the collision, but said at a minimum he was knocked unconscious.
    Reed was located before Adams. He was found in a soybean field about 350 yards west of East 19th Road, Templeton said.
    The Federal Aviation Administration will investigate the accident, Nelson said, and examine the equipment used by the skydivers. Nelson said that the equipment Adams used is in perfect working condition, and that the accident wasn't anybody's fault.
    The death marks the seventh since Skydive Chicago moved to its present location in 1993.
    ...................
    Victim `had passion for skydiving'
    Paul Adams planned to take Amber Taylor and her roommate -- who rented the basement of his Missoula, Mont., home -- skydiving with him when he returned from the world-record attempt in Ottawa.
    "He talked about (skydiving) a lot. He was always trying to get us to go," Taylor said. When they agreed, "he was all excited to take us when he got back."
    She learned Sunday he had been killed in an accident that morning, and it looks like she and her roommate won't be making that jump for a while.
    "It's not because of the accident, really," Taylor said. "It's because he's not here. He was an amazing guy. He treated us awesome."
    Adams, 54, had given Taylor a $70 watch when she graduated from the University of Montana this spring, and he bought his tenants a new refrigerator for their apartment, she said.
    Before he left for Illinois, he was in the yard, excitedly showing the women a diagram of the formation planned for the world-record attempt. He told them he was a little nervous, Taylor said. Adams' ex-wife, Brenda Elvey of Missoula, said skydiving was a natural part of life while they were married, and the two have maintained a friendly relationship since their 1992 divorce. They have two adult children, Beth and Steven.
    Elvey estimated Adams had been skydiving for more than 30 years. When the couple would move to a new town, the first thing he would do is search out the nearest place to skydive, she said.
    "He really loved it. He had a sense of adventure. He had a passion for skydiving, and that probably grew the more he did it.
    "He had had a couple small injuries before, broken bones in his foot and different things like that, but that never seemed to bother him or set him back, or make him not want to do it. He really enjoyed a lot of things -- scuba diving, hunting -- but skydiving was his biggest passion.
    "I think he was very responsible; he wasn't foolhardy. I think he was very much safety first," she said.
    "I think he was a Christian man. He liked skydiving, traveling and he enjoyed his kids."
    Mick Fauske, who worked with Adams at Montana Rail Link, said Adams was "thrilled" to be asked to join the record attempt, and proud he was one of the oldest people participating.
    The two men hunted together, but Adams had never persuaded Fauske to jump.
    "I'm not much of a heights person, but he enjoyed it," Fauske said. " (He liked) the thrill of it, the idea of flying. I know it was his favorite sport."
    Adams had been a railroad engineer for more than 30 years -- for Burlington Northern and Union Pacific before Montana Rail Link formed in 1987 -- and both Elvey and Fauske praised his railroading abilities.
    Elvey said, "I know he could run an engine by how the seat felt. He was a good engineer."
    "He was a really good guy," Fauske said. "He took care of his family. He was a good railroader; he was a good skydiver."
    "He'll be missed," Taylor said. "We're all still in shock here."
    © The Daily Times
    http://www.ottawadailytimes.com/odtnews/news4.htm

    By admin, in News,

    Excerpts from the Navy SEAL Fatality Report

    Harness Container was a Telesis 2, Main was a Navigator 280, Reserve a PD253R
    Training background:
    Deceased was trained by a highly experienced USPA AFF and military instructor. The training was a military exercise done strictly in accordance with USPA guidelines. Deceased had made 5 prior jumps, with good to excellent performance on all jumps, with the exception of a tendency to dip right side low on deployment. This was his second jump of the day. His training records reflected corrective training on body position at pull time.
    Description of incident:
    The AFF Level 6 jump went as planned, with excellent performance by the deceased. He waved and pulled at 4500' as planned. His body position at pull time was right side low due to knee dropped. Deployment appeared to progress normally to the jumpmaster. The jumpmaster did not see full canopy deployment. Deceased was next seen at approximately 2500' with a main/reserve entanglement. He was seen trying to clear the entanglement until impact.
    Post jump inspection found that the cutaway handle and reserve ripcords had been pulled. The kink in the reserve ripcord cable caused by RSL activation eliminated the possibility that the deceased had pulled the handles in the wrong order. The reserve bridle was found entangled with the right main line group. The main canopy was twisted in such a way that it appeared to have hung up on the left (RSL) side.
    Final inspection of the equipment revealed that the slider bumper on the right rear riser may have snagged the reserve static line, causing the dual deployment. Pulling the cutaway handle may have taken away this jumper's only chance of survival.
    To put the jump in the most likely order of events:
    Deceased deployed right side low.
    Right rear riser slider bumper snagged RSL during deployment. Main deployed normally. Reserve partially deployed. Deceased saw main and reserve out, with malfunctioning reserve. Deceased pulled cutaway handle and reserve ripcord. The resulting entanglement was not surviveable.  
    This sequence of events is considered the most likely scenario based on the available information. It should be noted that in this, as is the case of all fatality reports, the person with the most information is unfortunately, unable to provide his or her input.
    Conclusions:
    It must be stressed that the pull priorities of :
    Pull Pull at the correct altitude Pull at the correct altitude with stability  
    still apply. Stability at pull time great improves the probability of one good fully functional parachute. Sacrificing altitude for stability still is not a viable alternative. Even in an unstable body position at deployment time, the chances of a good parachute are very high.
    A review of different 2 canopies out scenarios, and practicing procedures in a suspended harness, or even a conversation with a very knowledgeable Instructor to review your current philosophy on different 2 canopies out scenarios may be enough to save your life.

    By admin, in News,

    Adrian Nicholas Proves Da Vinci Chute Works

    More than 500 years after Leonardo da Vinci sketched his design, a Briton has proved that the renaissance genius was indeed the inventor of the first working parachute.

    Adrian Nicholas, a 38-year-old skydiver from London, fulfilled his life's ambition to prove the aerodynamics experts wrong when he used a parachute based on Da Vinci's design to float almost one and a half miles down from a hot air balloon. Ignoring warnings that it would never work, he built the 187lb contraption of wooden poles, canvas and ropes from a simple sketch that Da Vinci had scribbled in a notebook in 1485.
    And at 7am on Monday, over the Mpumalanga province of South Africa, Mr Nicholas proved in a 7,000ft descent that the design could indeed be looked upon as a prototype for the modern parachute.
    Yesterday he said: "It took one of the greatest minds who ever lived to design it, but it took 500 years to find a man with a brain small enough to actually go and fly it.
    "All the experts agreed it wouldn't work - it would tip over or fall apart or spin around and make you sick - but Leonardo was right all along. It's just that no one else has ever bothered trying to build it before."
    Mr Nicholas, who holds the world record for the longest free fall at just under five minutes, was strapped into a harness attached by four thick ropes to a 70ft square frame of nine pine poles covered in canvas. He was then hoisted by a hot air balloon to 10,000ft above ground level.
    The balloon dropped altitude for a few seconds, to enable the parachute to fill with air, and the harness was released, allowing the parachute to float free.
    Surrounded by two helicopters and two parachutists, Mr Nicholas fell for five minutes as a black box recorder measured the 7,000ft descent, before he cut himself free and released a conventional parachute. The Da Vinci model, which has more in common with sail technology than with the modern-day parachute, made such a smooth and slow descent that the two accompanying parachutists had to brake twice to stay level with it. It had none of the sudden plunges and swinging associated with modern parachutes.
    After being cut free, the contraption floated to the ground with only minor damage on impact.
    Mr Nicholas, a former broadcaster who has made 6,500 skydives, said: "The whole experience was incredibly moving, like one of those great English boy's own adventures. I had a feeling of gentle elation and celebration. It was like floating under a balloon.
    "I was able to stare out at the river below, with the wind rattling through my ears. As I landed, I thanked Leonardo for a wonderful ride."
    The contraption, which has seen two aborted attempts to fly over Salisbury plain in Wiltshire earlier this year, was built by Katarina Ollikainen, Mr Nicholas's Swedish girlfriend.
    Following Da Vinci's design for a four-sided pyramid covered in linen and measuring 24ft square at the base, Ms Ollikainen used only tools and materials that would have been available in the 15th century, apart from some thick balloon tapes to stop the canvas tearing.
    Although there was little demand for parachutes in the 15th century - and it was the Frenchman Louis-Sebastien Lenormand who was always credited with the first parachute jump after he leapt from a tree with the help of two parasols - Da Vinci gave specific instructions for his design.
    He wrote beside his sketch: "If a man is provided with a length of gummed linen cloth, with a length of 12 yards on each side and 12 yards high, he can jump from any great height whatsoever without any injury." Leonardo's inventions By Helen Morris Aereoplane Numerous machines using bird-like wings which could be flapped by a man using his arms and legs - although most were too heavy to get off the ground using manpower alone. Encompassed retractable landing gear and crash safety systems using shock absorbers
    Helicopter Prototype featured a rotating airscrew or propeller powered by a wound-up spring
    Armoured car/tank Powered by four soldiers sitting inside. Problems included its thin wheels and large weight, which would make it hard to move
    Diving Several different suits, most with a diver breathing air from the surface through long hoses. One imagined a crush-proof air chamber on the diver's chest to allow free swimming without any link to the surface
    Robot First humanoid robot drawn in about 1495, and designed to sit up, wave its arms and move its head via a flexible neck while moving its jaw
    Machine gun His innovations to create rapid fire led to the Gatling gun and the machine gun
    To see more of the Guardian Unlimited network of sites go to http://www.guardian.co.uk

    By admin, in News,

    Landing Fatalities in Florida and Montana

    Panama City Beach Florida
    PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. Minnesota National Guardsman killed in skydiving mishap: A Minnesota Air National Guard technical sergeant was killed after landing improperly during a skydiving jump.
    Benjamin A. Freeman, 31, died Tuesday after jumping from an airplane 3,000 feet high near Eagle Air Sports, a small airport near Panama City Beach.
    Jennifer Collins, a spokeswoman for the Bay County Sheriff's Office, said human error appeared to have been the cause of the accident.
    "The parachute deployed normally and he was doing some simple maneuvers," she said. "There was nothing odd with the plane or the equipment. He was an experienced jumper."
    Freeman, a full-time guardsman, was stationed at nearby Tyndall Air Force Base, where he was part of an alert detachment of the Minnesota Guard's 148th Fighter Wing, said Maj. Don Arias, a spokesman for the 1st Air Force at Tyndall.
    Ground crew members such as Freeman are on permanent status at Tyndall while pilots rotate from Minnesota. Freeman had recently moved here from Tulsa, Okla., where he had been with the Oklahoma Air National Guard, Arias said.
    His wife and child were at the airport at the time of the accident.
    The Air Force Office of Special Investigation and Bay County Sheriff's deputies were still investigating.
    Chico Hot Springs Montana
    A Great Falls skydiver who did a trick turn to pick up speed as he was coming in for a landing at Chico Hot Springs Saturday died of multiple injuries after hitting the ground.
    Philip Moore, 39, and an experienced jumper, suffered multiple traumatic injuries when he landed hard in a field near the horse barn about 2:30 p.m., said Park County Coroner Al Jenkins. Moore was participating in an annual Chico jump meet.
    He died aboard a Life-Flight helicopter taking him to St. Vincent Hospital in Billings.
    "This is a terrible tragedy at a really positive and high-energy event, and everybody is just sick," said Colin Davis, Chico's general manager.
    The accident happened as Moore was coming in for a landing, said sky diver Chris Trujillo of Casper, Wyo., who witnessed Moore's jump.
    "Everything looked normal until the last few seconds," Trujillo said.
    Moore was coming down under a full canopy, and as he made his final approach, he did a hook turn. A hook turn allows a sky diver to get a little more speed and sets him up for a fast approach on landing.
    "He didn't recover from the hook turn fast enough," Trujillo said. "There may have been turbulence in the air."
    He described the winds as "light to moderate, well within the safety range" for sky diving. He speculated that circular winds may have complicated Moore's landing.
    "It's one of those fluke things that just happened," he said. "We've made thousands of skydives here."
    After Moore's hard landing, two doctors, who happened to be driving by the resort, gave Moore CPR and attempted to stabilize him until emergency medical technicians arrived from Emigrant and Livingston. The Life-Flight helicopter was called.
    At least 60 sky divers from throughout the nation were attending the annual event. Sky divers stopped jumping for a while after the accident, but resumed about 5 p.m., Davis said. Plans are to continue the meet Sunday.
    An investigation is under way by the coroner and Park County sheriff's deputies. Jenkins said he is awaiting the results of autopsy toxicology.

    By admin, in News,

    Skydiver Wins Lawsuit Against Teammate

    CALGARY, June 26 (Reuters) - A Canadian skydiver who was knocked out by a teammate during a jump, then plunged nearly half a mile (more than half a kilometre) to earth, was awarded C$1.1 million ($748,000) in damages by a judge who ruled the teammate was negligent.
    Gerry Dyck, an expert who had made about 1,800 jumps before the 1991 mid-air accident, sued Robert Laidlaw, charging the team member failed to take proper care to avoid the collision that caused him severe brain injuries and ended his career.
    The case raised questions about how much risk one can expect in an inherently risky sport, and included expert testimony from a veteran Hollywood stuntman known for his work in several James Bond movies.
    In his 19-page decision issued late last week, Alberta Judge Peter Power ruled Laidlaw violated well-established safety procedures by failing to keep a proper lookout for Dyck while manoeuvring his body in preparation for opening his parachute.
    "The defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff which was breached by the unchecked turn into the plaintiff's air space," the judge wrote. "This act, which was foreseeable, was negligent and resulted in substantial harm being inflicted on the plaintiff."
    Dyck's injuries were severe enough to prevent the 43-year-old former surveyor from holding a job ever since.
    "The judge found that this is not a sport about people falling from the sky like flies, it's a sport that's highly regulated, that's highly controlled in terms of procedures and prescribed practices," Dyck's lawyer Greg Rodin said on Monday.
    During the trial in Calgary this spring, the judge heard the eight-person team jumped out of a plane at an altitude of 12,500 feet (3,800 metres) on May 5, 1991. The members went into formation to perform manoeuvres while free-falling above the farmland near Beiseker, Alberta, 47 miles (76 kilometres) northeast of Calgary.
    The jumpers were to perform manoeuvres until they fell to 3,500 feet (1,067 metres), then "track off," or steer away, so they could open their parachutes.
    As they opened their chutes, Laidlaw's elbow hit Dyck in the head, knocking him unconscious and causing the two men's parachutes to become tangled.
    At about 2,200 feet (670 metres), Laidlaw managed to free himself and land using his reserve chute. But Dyck, out cold, remained entangled and plummeted to earth, sustaining severe brain injuries and broken bones in his right arm.
    Laidlaw had testified that as he moved away from the centre of the formation, he lost sight of the other jumpers in his peripheral vision, indicating to him that he was sufficiently clear of his teammates.
    Testifying on behalf of Laidlaw was B.J. Worth, an expert skydiver and stuntman, who co-ordinated and performed aerial stunts for numerous motion pictures, including such James Bond films as "Tomorrow Never Dies," "Goldeneye," and "License to Kill."
    Worth's testimony did not convince the judge, however.

    Dan Downe, Laidlaw's lawyer, said he was surprised by the ruling, and was reviewing it to determine whether there were grounds for appeal.
    "We were quite confident that the trial evidence indicated that Laidlaw did not make any turn prior to collision, and he was the only eyewitness because Dyck was rendered unconscious," Downe said.
    Rodin said Dyck was pleased with the result because it proved his right to compensation after nine years, and that he believed the skydiving community would "benefit from a decision that holds jumpers accountable for their conduct in the sky."

    By admin, in News,

    Safety Board Cites Probable Cause of 1998 Plane Crash That Killed Five

    An airplane crash that killed a pilot and five skydivers in Grain Valley in 1998 probably was caused by preflight errors that led to a loss of oil and to rod failures in the engine, according to investigators' final report.
    A report released over the weekend by the National Transportation Safety Board concluded that the pilot, David G. Snyder of Independence, inadequately prepared the single-engine plane before the flight. No safety board spokesman could be reached for comment on Sunday.
    Leaking oil apparently led to overheating and engine failure, the report said. The oil filler tube was missing and screws were either missing or loose. Connecting rods in two of the plane's six cylinders were found unattached to the crankshaft.
    Shortly into the flight, which originated at Independence Memorial Airport, Snyder told air traffic controllers he was canceling skydiving operations. Witnesses reported seeing white and black smoke and hearing a banging sound from the plane.
    The 1979 model Cessna 206 crashed and burned at the East Kansas City Airport in Grain Valley on March 21, 1998.
    Skydiving passengers who were killed were Marion C. Rudder, 47, of Oskaloosa, Kan.; John H. Schuman, 47, of Lawrence; Kenneth L. Buckley, 50, of Independence; Paul Eric Rueff, 32, of Kansas City, Kan.; and Julie L. Douglass, 24, of Kansas City.
    Snyder, 55, was the registered owner of the plane. He obtained his commercial pilot certificate in 1971 and was rated to fly by visual flight rules, which he was doing on the day of the crash.
    Snyder was flying for the Greater Kansas City Skydiving Club, which was based at the Independence airport. The club does not have a listed telephone number, and its officers could not be reached Sunday.
    Chris Hall, president of a separate operation in Lee's Summit called Skydive Kansas City Inc., said he frequently gets calls from people trying to locate the former Independence outfit.
    The safety board's finding of probable cause differs with a theory propounded by Kansas City lawyer Gary C. Robb, who represents the families of four of the dead skydivers in a lawsuit against the engine manufacturer, Teledyne Industries Inc.
    Robb contends there were metallurgical faults in the engine's connecting rods. Robb could not be reached Sunday, and the status of the lawsuit could not immediately be determined.
    Robert Cotter, a local lawyer representing Teledyne, has said the crash was a result of maintenance problems.
    Federal Aviation Administration records show that a certified mechanic had declared the aircraft and its engine airworthy four months before the crash. Work was done on the plane's cylinders and rings one month before the crash, and work was done on the oil pump one week before the crash. A second certified mechanic declared it airworthy at that time.
    Investigators looking at the wreckage found that the engine and the left side of the fuselage, including the wing and strut, were covered with oil film. A metal oil filler tube, the piece to which the oil cap connects, was missing and the screws that would have connected it were not found.
    In addition, five of six screws connecting the rocker-arm cover to cylinder number 6 were missing, and the sixth one was loose.
    Holes were found on the left crankcase near cylinders 2 and 6, the two in which the connecting rods were unattached.
    "The engine's internal components suffered damage typical of oil loss and heat distress," the safety board report states.
    The fatal flight took off with a full load of passengers shortly after 5:30 p.m. on a Saturday. Snyder made contact as "Skydive Six" with air traffic controllers and apparently left his radio microphone on, or it was stuck in the on position.
    About eight minutes after Snyder indicated he was going to climb to 11,000 feet above sea level, the controller reported hearing, "What the hell was that?" In his last transmission Snyder announced, without explanation, that he was canceling the jump.
    Radar indicates the highest altitude the plane achieved was 5,200 feet above sea level or roughly 4,400 feet above the ground. Witnesses eight miles northeast of the Grain Valley airport reported seeing white and black smoke trailing from the plane.
    A witness two miles north of the airport reported hearing a banging sound. At the airport witnesses saw flames from the engine licking the windshield.
    The plane clipped some trees just south of the airport. Its right wing struck the ground, and the craft cartwheeled and burned.
    Buckley, Rueff, Rudder and Schuman all were experienced skydivers. Douglass was to make her first jump.
    Ron Sharp, who was president of the Greater Kansas City Skydiving Club, said a few days after the crash that the Cessna 206 had been in the air several times already that day.
    At one point the engine became flooded and the plane was allowed to sit awhile. Later, after the battery was recharged, another pilot took it up for a test flight, Sharp said. Then Snyder took off with his passengers.
    "It sounded good," Sharp said at the time. "It sounded perfect."

    By admin, in News,

    Search for missing BASE jumper comes up empty

    HANSEN -- His friends warned him not to jump. It was too dark. The wind wasn't right. The water was too high.
    But 29-year-old Roger Butler, an experienced BASE jumper who once parachuted from the Stratosphere hotel tower in Las Vegas, apparently died Sunday after jumping from the Hansen Bridge and disappearing in the water.
    "All of them tried to talk him out of it, but he had to do it," said Cpl. Daron Brown of the Twin Falls County Sheriff's Office. "The guy was experienced, but he made a bad choice."
    With the help of a brand-new underwater camera, search and rescue teams from Jerome and Twin Falls counties continued searching the frigid Snake River Monday for signs of Butler and his parachute, but the search was called off as sundown neared. Water flow at the Minidoka Dam was stopped late Monday to lower the water level and aid searchers when they continue this morning.
    The counties don't know the cost of the search.
    Butler, who had made more than 600 BASE jumps, spent Sunday with three friends parachuting from the Perrine Bridge, a popular spot for BASE jumpers because it is legal to jump there. BASE stands for building, antenna, span and earth.
    In October 1999, this same group had parachuted with a woman the day before she broke her back in a jumping accident at the Perrine Bridge, said Nancy Howell, spokeswoman for the Twin Falls County Sheriff's Office.
    The group was headed back to Ogden, Utah, Sunday before stopping at the Hansen Bridge, where jumping also is legal. With his friends videotaping, Butler jumped from the west side of the bridge and glided toward the water without a hitch, but he ran into trouble after hitting the river, Howell said.
    It wasn't immediately clear what happened, but shortly after landing in the water Butler and his chute disappeared below the surface. Neither has been seen since, she said.
    Butler was not wearing a life jacket, and he was jumping into a highly inaccessible area of the Snake River Canyon, Brown said.
    "BASE jumping is like whitewater rafting," he said. "It's a self-saving sport. You can't expect to jump off a bridge and have someone come and save you."
    Butler's taste for daring jumps was passed down from his father, a parachuter for 30 years, said Paul Butler, an uncle who drove to Twin Falls after the accident.
    Roger Butler watched his father nearly die in a 1998 parachuting accident that almost cost the older Butler his leg. But a year later father and son were parachuting together again during a Fourth of July celebration, Paul Butler said.
    "He just loved to do this," Paul Butler said of his nephew. "He loved to fly."

    By admin, in News,

0