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    Choosing Emergency Contacts

    One of the things that all most every Dropzone or Boogie waiver has is a space to list an Emergency contact. Most jumpers just fill this information in with the first relative or friends name that pops into their head as they fill out the waiver, but jumpers should fill this section out after carefully selecting a contact. Jumpers should put more thought into this decision then they do into what type of jumpsuit they are going to buy.
    There are criteria that make people better emergency contacts then others and jumpers should keep this in mind as they make their selection. Potential emergency contacts should meet the following criteria at a minimum:
    Potential emergency contacts need to be aware of any medical issues or conflicts that you might have. If someone is allergic to something and forgets to put it on their waiver the emergency contact might just be the last line of defense there is to prevent the emergency responders from giving them a potentially dangerous drug or drug combinations.

    Emergency contacts should have phone numbers to your immediate family members rapidly available so they may inform your loved ones about any potential incidents that might have happened. Poor choices for emergency contacts include people that have never met you or your family before you visit the DZ. At a minimum your emergency contact should have the phone number to contact the person that you would want to be notified of your injury or death first.

    Another trait that makes a good emergency contact is choosing someone that is not at the airport the same time you are. In the case of something like a plane crash or canopy entanglement you might be involved in the incident with potential emergency contacts. By choosing someone that is not involved in skydiving or at the airport at all you maximize the availability of contacts that DZ personal might be able to reach in the case of an emergency on the dropzone.

    Contacts should be someone that will be able to initially handle receiving potentially devastating news about you. Choosing someone that is known to be extremely emotional over the phone might be a poor choice as a contact if the Dropzone or medical teams need to ask questions of the emergency contact. Choose someone that will be able to calmly answer any potential questions after being informed that you are injured or worse.

    Having multiple methods of contacting emergency contacts makes the task of reaching the emergency contact a lot easier for the dropzone personal. Emergency contacts should have at least one phone number and if possible multiple phones. List every phone number in the order that they should be called. Listing mobile numbers, home numbers and work numbers should all be done at a minimum to insure the maximum possibility of reaching someone in a true emergency.
    Other things that should be used as criteria in potential emergency contacts include knowing who might be on vacation and out of reach at the time of certain boogies, knowing which contacts will be available to rapidly travel to deal with incidents if they happen, and in the case of international jumpers knowing the time difference and how that is going to affect the ability to contact your potential contact.
    Using these criteria to choose an emergency contact will increase the probability that the dropzone personal will be able to reach and inform people of emergencies involving you, plus it will reduce the anxiety factor on the dropzone staff side in contacting people if they know they will not have to end up calling 10 people to reach someone that has needed answers about you.

    By admin, in Safety,

    Skydiving Incident Reporting: For Mass Media Reporters

    Reporting a skydiving (or any other technical sport) accident isn't an easy job, but making the effort to do it thoroughly can give your readers a better product that tops competing publications in this area. Why is improving coverage of this relatively rare event important? The reason is because turning out boilerplate or inaccurate coverage of these incidents angers many skydivers, who might then become ex-readers, and gives the non-jumping segment of your audience nothing special to take away from the story and thus doesn't reinforce your publication's brand.
    Accuracy, Not Generalities
    Before you think I'm suggesting that you write a full investigative report of any sport accident, let me say that I don't suggest any additional words in your reports. What I am suggesting is making those words count, with more solid information. Often the sentences that appear in skydiving accident coverage are misleading as to the true nature of the accident. For example, the explanation of "The parachute failed to open" that is so often used in such reports is not a simplification for an audience uneducated about skydiving; it's just plain wrong nearly all the time. It's comparable to saying of a single-vehicle accident, "The car failed to stay on the road," implying that the car is at fault rather than the driver.
    Such a statement implies that the skydiver did everything in his power, correctly, and still his/her equipment failed to function. However, this is exceedingly rare-occurring far less often than once per year. What is far more common is that a skydiver makes a mistake landing a perfectly good canopy (39% of the 35 U.S. skydiving deaths in 2002, the most common cause of death), collides with another skydiver in freefall or under his parachute (21% of the 2002 deaths), or fails to respond correctly to a survivable equipment malfunction (12% of the 2002 deaths). (Note: skydivers do carry reserve, or backup, parachutes; a malfunction of the main parachute does not automatically kill the skydiver.)
    We all like to think that we'll make all the right decisions when the chips are down, but the unfortunate truth is that nearly all skydiving deaths are caused by "pilot error"-a mistake on the part of the skydiver. This doesn't mean that we have to crucify this person who made the mistake, but we shouldn't imply that the equipment was at fault when it wasn't necessarily the main factor in the accident.
    Getting the Scoop
    Reporting the specific cause of sport accidents gives more "meat" to your story, which both your skydiving and non-skydiving readers will appreciate. But how do you know what to write when you're not a skydiver and don't understand the topic you're supposed to report? Work with the experts-foremost of whom is that drop zone's safety and training adviser (S&TA). The S&TA is an individual appointed at almost every drop zone in the U.S., and abroad, by each Regional Director of the United States Parachute Association (USPA), regardless of whether or not the drop zone is a Group Member of USPA. This individual is tasked with many different safety and administrative-related duties at their appointed drop zone, one of which is investigating skydiving accidents and fatalities. Investigating incidents is one of the less enjoyable responsibilities of an S&TA.
    Other interview possibilities include the coroner (if the skydiver involved is deceased) and the rigger (person licensed by the Federal Aviation Administration to pack reserve parachutes, and usually knowledgeable about skydiving gear malfunctions) who inspected the gear--if applicable and if the S&TA directs you to talk to this person. A third possibility is the drop zone owner/manager if an S&TA is not available. The USPA is a good source of general skydiving information, but is not a good source of information on specific incidents.
    The local sheriff or a representative often becomes a media liaison by default, but unless this person is a skydiver working closely with the drop zone's S&TA, then working only with this person is not good. A sheriff with no skydiving experience is no better information source on a skydiving incident than a reporter with no skydiving experience, and will often garble information he or she is given simply through unfamiliarity with the topic.
    Ask the previously listed skydiving professionals to explain to you, in layman's terms, the cause of the accident so that you can accurately report it. They may not yet have all the answers, especially if certain equipment malfunctions are suspected, but if you are polite and interested rather than forceful about getting the story before an early deadline you will get a lot more cooperation. A good working relationship with the drop zone in question is ideal, because not only will this help you on this story, but you will also get a much better story for other drop zone events such as charity fundraisers (skydiving is interesting to your non-skydiving readers, and can sell publications when good events happen as well as accidents).
    Introducing more specifics to your report will be good for your readers, but more information requires more fact-checking. If possible, send a copy of the article to your source at the drop zone before publication. The source will likely jump (pardon the pun) at the chance to review the coverage for accuracy.
    Don't Make These Mistakes
    Skydivers do not skydive because of a death wish. If that were the case, they'd only make one jump apiece. They most definitely are thrill seekers, but they are dedicated to skydiving safely, even while pushing the envelope, so they can continue to skydive. Portraying skydivers and skydiving as irresponsible, imminently dangerous, or suicidal is an inaccurate disservice.
    It is also inaccurate to imply that drop zone management is to blame for most skydiving deaths, because it is every skydivers' choice to exit the aircraft; once they have done so, the only person who can keep one safe is himself/herself. For the most part, blaming a drop zone for an experienced skydiver's death (nearly always skydiver error, as previously stated) is similar to blaming the highway system for a motorist's death. The system simply provides the place for the motorist to drive; the drop zone merely provides an aircraft and landing area for the skydiver to jump and land. What a skydiver does with those resources is his or her responsibility alone.
    Also, keep in mind that stating or implying that a drop zone is to blame for an incident could lead to a libel suit if there is no evidence to back up the accusation.
    While the following isn't technically a mistake, it is the author's firm belief that in most cases, the practice of including a roll call of any deaths that have previously occurred at a drop zone (or any other sports facility) with an accident article serves no good purpose. If all of these deaths were attributable to the management or equipment provided by the drop zone, then there is something going on that should be exposed. Without proof of such culpability, however, listing previous deaths generally just angers skydivers and creates the mistaken assumption by non-skydiving readers that there is something going on that should be stopped. Again, keep libel laws in mind.
    Jump Plane Accidents
    Thankfully even less common than skydiving fatalities, jump plane accidents present a different reporting challenge mainly because aviation accident investigation falls under the authority of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). The local skydivers might or might not have an aviation and accident investigation background, and might or might not know the cause of the accident; they are not the people you should interview about aircraft incidents. Just because the accident involved a jump plane doesn't make it a skydiving accident. The pilot would be a good source if he survived, but NTSB is the final authority on aircraft accidents, and their reports tend to take some time to come out. They do send public affairs officers to the scene of aircraft accidents; these people are the ones you should talk to in this instance. Resources for journalists regarding aviation accidents can be found on their web site at www.ntsb.gov/events/journalist/default.htm.
    The end goal of this article is more informative, balanced, tasteful reporting of skydiving and other sport incidents in order to better serve readers and thereby the commercial publications they purchase.
    Thanks to Randy Connell, S&TA, S/L Instructor, AFF Instructor; Chris Schindler, ATP, CFII; and Jim Crouch, AFF/I, USPA Director of Safety and Training, for their contributions to this article.



    Christy West is a journalist and gold/silver skydiving medalist with over 1,800 jumps.

    By admin, in Safety,

    Skydiving Incident Reporting: For Skydivers

    None of us want to think about a member of our skydiving family getting hurt or killed, much less getting hurt or killed while skydiving. Even further down the list is having to talk to a journalist about a skydiving incident. As distasteful as it is to try to explain to a whuffo reporter why a fellow skydiver was injured or killed while jumping, though, it's actually an opportunity to improve the image of the sport.
    As we well know, most journalists aren't skydivers and at best have a tough time explaining the circumstances of a skydiving incident. They often get it wrong with a common theme of "The parachute didn't open." But while it is certainly their responsibility to get the story right, they can't do it without help from the experts-which in this case is you, the skydivers who were present during an incident and are designated media contacts.
    Avoidance and condemning of the media for their often poor explanation of skydiving incidents is common among skydivers, but we can do the sport far more justice by working with journalists towards a proper article than by blowing them off. It requires more effort, to be sure, but more accurate coverage of these incidents can help dispel the image of skydiving as a ruthless sport in which some participants die despite doing everything right.
    Take the common statement of "The parachute failed to open," for example. This implies that the gear is at fault, when we all know that it's a very rare situation when the skydiver can do everything right and still die. Almost 100% of the time, a skydiver dies because of a primary (e.g., no pull, low pull, low turn) or secondary (incorrect response to a malfunction) mistake. The public doesn't understand this. While it might not seem important that they do, think of the number of times you are asked by non-skydiving friends and coworkers why you skydive, or hear a comment of how they can't believe you skydive, all with the overtone of why would someone want to do a sport that everyone knows will kill you. Do you get tired of that? I do.
    The simple fact is that a large percentage of the non-skydiving population thinks that people who die skydiving die through no fault of their own, thus they think skydivers are a bunch of adrenaline junkies who don't care if they die skydiving. We know that's far from the truth, but when news articles don't give the whole story for long periods of time, this is the result. Additionally, it's frustrating to all of us skydivers when the story isn't right.
    Following are some suggestions for dealing with the media in the event of a skydiving incident. Thankfully, most of you will never have to do this, but if you do perhaps this will help.
    Send them to the source. If you are not the S&TA or other appointed drop zone media liaison, do not discuss the incident with a journalist. We all know that rumors bloom fast and furiously on drop zones, particularly in situations such as this. What began as a simple low turn by an inexperienced jumper on a smaller canopy than he was used to can quickly become an evasion of traffic, a dropped toggle, avoidance of an obstacle, etc., via the rumor mill. Whether you saw the incident or not, don't talk about it to the media and don't offer any opinions unless you're the media liaison. Refer any reporters to the S&TA or DZO, or whomever the drop zone has designated as the media contact. This person's job is no fun, but it's their responsibility to investigate the incident based on witness accounts and gear information, to prepare a complete report, and to deal with the media (and the coroner if the accident was fatal). Again, no one but the designated media contact should be talking to the media.
    Don't dodge the press. We'll give chapter and verse to anyone who asks about most things related to skydiving, but when it comes to chatting with a reporter about a skydiving incident we often clam up. Why? Because we're afraid they'll get it wrong again. But if we don't give them information, we're guaranteed a minimal or misleading report of the incident. If we want these incidents to be reported accurately, the information has to come from us-the S&TA or designated media contact.
    Be professional and courteous. Don't say, "You shouldn't be writing about this," because they will anyway, and this will just annoy the reporter and make it more likely that he/she will write something negative about the situation, the drop zone, and/or the sport. Also, it will burn a bridge that can be used for publicizing positive events at the drop zone such as charity events or milestones. Anytime you speak as a skydiver or skydive in front of non-skydivers, you are an ambassador for the sport whether you like it or not. Use this interaction with the media as a chance to portray skydiving accurately, and in the best light possible in a bad situation, by being honest and helpful. Avoid the "us vs. them" kind of interaction; this doesn't have to be a challenge where either you or the reporter gets their objective at the other's expense.
    Think about your description beforehand. In all likelihood, reporters won't be there right away following an incident, unless it occurs during a demo. In either case, coverage of the incident will turn out better with better information, and you will be able to give better information after thinking about the incident a bit and getting it clear in your mind.
    Be specific, but simple. It's pretty clear by now that I'm asking for more accurate reporting of skydiving incidents, and this isn't a problem for skydivers. What is more of a problem, especially if we're distracted by the substantial emotional impact of the incident, is that we'll talk to a reporter in the same way we'll talk to fellow skydivers-discussing things in skydiving terms rather than lay terms--if we talk to them at all. This doesn't improve the coverage, it just makes their eyes glaze over. For example, don't say "The right toggle came unstowed from the toggle tip keeper, allowing the cat's eye to come off of the loosely stowed brake and sending the canopy into a left-hand spiral to the ground," Instead, think about your audience (the general public as well as the reporter) and say, "It appears that a minor malfunction during deployment caused the parachute to spiral down, and so and so did not correct it in time to avoid the hard landing from the spiral."
    Refer questions about a jump plane crash to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). It is extremely counterproductive to speculate about the cause of a jump plane crash without an investigation report. If you are asked about a jump plane crash, refer reporters to the designated NTSB public affairs officer once he/she has arrived on the scene. We don't like it when uninformed reporters speculate about the causes of skydiving accidents, and the pilot (if he survived) and his family won't appreciate uninformed speculation about the plane crash either.
    Offer to review the article before publication. It's not often that you will get the opportunity to do this, but you might if you offer it. What better chance will you get to ensure that the coverage is accurate? Of course, the reporter will reserve the right to accept or reject your changes as they choose, but the chance to review the article before publication is something not to be turned down.
    The relationship between skydivers and the media has not always been a good one in general, as is often the case when laymen try to describe technical pursuits. That can't be changed overnight. But things won't get better without a responsible effort from both sides, hence the two-part coverage of this topic directed to both groups. A better working relationship between skydivers and the media, both for good and not-so-good events, will benefit both of us.
    If you found Part 1 of this series useful-"Skydiving Incident Reporting for Mass Media Reporters"-please feel free to copy it and give it to any media representatives (print, web, or television) whom you think would benefit from it.

    Sidebar: Recommendations for Working With Police
    Working with the police in the aftermath of a skydiving incident is about as much fun as dealing with the press, but there are a couple of things they should know about the investigation that will make things easier for everyone.
    First of all, the gear is only to be removed from the area by the coroner, not the police or the local rigger. When the coroner gets there, the drop zone representative and hopefully a rigger should be there to help answer any gear questions.
    Most policemen don't know how to investigate the gear or scene, so removing evidence (gear) hampers the ability of those skilled in accident investigation-the coroner and your S&TA, rigger, or whoever is designated to investigate-to determine what happened. If the police want to rope off the area without disturbing the scene, that's fine. But if they try to remove the gear without it being investigated by the coroner, politely advise that they will get far more information if they will wait until the coroner, along with the S&TA or rigger, can inspect the scene and the gear with them. Don't get angry with them-which is easy to do when a member of our skydiving family has died and the police and/or media seem to be handling things wrong. Anger will only introduce further tension into an already awful situation, and make it less likely that things will get handled with skydiver input.
    When the coroner is finished with the gear, the police often will impound it, do whatever they need to do with it, then release it to the FAA. The FAA then will usually inspect the gear with a rigger of their choice as part of an investigation.
    Working with instead of against the police can help us get better answers to a skydiver's death than a feud. Make every effort to keep things civil and helpful, and this unpleasant situation will be minimally unpleasant for all concerned.
    Thanks to Randy Connell, S&TA, S/L I, AFF I, for his contributions to this article.
    Christy West is a journalist and gold/silver skydiving medalist with over 1,800 jumps.

    By admin, in Safety,

    Downsizing Checklist

    While I was an S+TA, I spent a considerable amount of time telling people they shouldn't be loading their canopies so heavily. 90% of the time it didn't work. Skydivers can have a bit of an ego, and when I told them they probably shouldn't downsize yet they heard "I think you're a crappy canopy pilot who can't handle a smaller wing." So they downsized and broke their legs, backs and pelvises with some regularity.
    A few years back I met up with Brett, one of the people I'd been lecturing to whle I was an S+TA. He told me that he wished he'd listened to me back then. He had broken his femur during a botched landing, been out of the sport for a while, and then came back and really learned to fly his canopy. He took a canopy control course and actually upsized to get more performance out of his canopy. He ended up coming in first in one of the events at the PST that year.
    That started me thinking. Maybe the approach I was taking was wrong. Since jumpers tend not to listen to other people who tell them they're not as good as they think they are, perhaps if you could give them better tools to evaluate themselves they could make better decisions about canopy choices. It's one thing to have some boring S+TA guy give you a lecture about not having any fun under canopy, quite another to try to perform a needed manuever under canopy - and fail. In that case there's no one telling you you can't fly the canopy, it's just blatantly obvious.
    So I came up with a list of canopy control skills everyone should have before downsizing. Some are survival skills - being able to flat turn would have saved half a dozen people this year alone. Some are canopy familiarization skills - being able to do a gentle front riser approach teaches you how to judge altitude and speed at low altitudes, and how to fly a parachute flying faster than its trim airspeed, a critical skill for swooping. It's important to do these BEFORE you downsize, because some manuevers are a little scary (turning at 50 feet? Yikes!) and you want to be on a larger canopy you're completely comfortable with before trying such a thing.
    The short version of the list is below. Before people downsize, they should be able to:
    flat turn 90 degrees at 50 feet
    flare turn at least 45 degrees
    land crosswind and in no wind
    land reliably within a 10 meter circle
    initiate a high performance landing with double front risers and front riser turn to landing
    land on slight uphills and downhills
    land with rear risers

    1. Flat turn 90 degrees at 50 feet.
    This is the most important of all the skills. The objective of this manuever is to change your direction 90 degrees losing as little altitude as possible, and come out of the manuever at normal flying speed. Coming out at normal flying speed means you can instantly flare and get a normal landing. If you can do this at 50 feet, and come out of the manuever with normal flying speed at 5 feet, you can flare and land normally.
    Every year people die because they decide they simply have to turn at 100 feet and know only one way to do it - pull down a toggle. The parachute dives and they hit the ground at 40mph. To prevent this, not only do you have to know how to flat turn, but you have to practice it enough that it becomes second nature. Then when you do need it, you won't have to think about it.
    To pull off this manuever, start by toggle turning the parachute gently. IMMEDIATELY follow that with some opposite toggle. The idea is that you want to flare just a little to counteract the canopy's desire to dive. Continue adding opposite toggle until you've stopped the turn. At this point let both toggles all the way up. If you feel the parachute accelerate after you let go of the toggles (i.e. it feels like you just flared) use less opposite toggle next time. If you feel like the parachute is diving, like you just did a toggle turn, use more opposite toggle next time. Basically you want to start the turn with one toggle, stop it with the other one, and use just enough toggle to keep the wing from diving but not so much that it does a flare.
    It should go without saying that this manuever should be practiced up high before you ever try it down low. If and when you do try it out low, start at lesser angles (i.e. try a 15 degree turn first) make sure the pattern is clear and make sure conditions are good (soft ground, good winds.) Work up gradually to a full 90 degree turn. I do think it's important to try at least a gentle flat turn very low; we are horrible judges of exact altitudes when we're at 1000 feet, and it's hard to tell if you've lost 50 feet or 200 in a turn. By trying it out down low, you'll get a better sense of what it can do for you, and you'll have the "sight picture" better set in case you have to use it for real one day.
    A variation on this is to go to half brakes and then let one brake up. This gives you a flat turn, but by flaring first you "use up" some of the canopy's energy so you can't turn as effectively. On the plus side the turn happens more slowly. If you are about to hit a tree and want to make a last minute turn, this variation might be the way to go, as it combines a turn and a flare, thus reducing your speed before impact. A version of this is currently taught in the ISP, so it might be a good way to make your first flat turns before transitioning to the less-braked variety.

    2. Flare turn at least 45 degrees.
    This does two things - it gives you another tool in your arsenal to dodge last minute obstacles, and teaches you to fly your canopy all the way through to the landing. The #1 mistake jumpers with new HP canopies make is to "reach out to break their fall" while they're flaring; this of course turns the canopy in the direction they are reaching. Most people decide that this is due to a side gust just as they're landing. I remember one jumper at Brown who, amazingly enough, experienced a side gust seconds before he landed (and always from the right) 40-50 times in a row! Learning to flare turn will help eliminate this problem.
    To flare turn, start with a normal flare, then flare slightly more with one toggle. The canopy will turn. Bring the other toggle down to match it, and the canopy will straighten out. It's a dynamic process; rather than put the toggles at a certain position, you have to speed up one toggle for a second, then speed up the other to match it, before you level them and finish the flare. If you balloon upwards, then don't flare as quickly. If you drop to the ground, bring both toggles down more aggressively when they are 'split.' One thing that helps people is to think about where your canopy is rather than what it's doing. Use the toggles to put it off to one side for a moment, then use them to put it back over your head.
    This can be hard to practice with a large canopy. I can pull off a 45 degree turn on a Manta, but the flare is over so fast that it's hard to explain what I just did. It's much easier on a canopy loaded around 1:1, so you may want to wait on this one until you get to that loading.
    Note that if you combine a flare turn with a flat turn, you can pull off nearly a 180 degree turn at just above 50 feet. Also note that knowing how to do flat and flare turns doesn't mean you can always turn at 50 feet and get away with it - sometimes it's better to accept a downwind landing than make a turn at a dangerously low altitude. But if you do have to turn low (say, you're on course for the electrified fence around the pit bull farm) a flat/flare turn will let you either turn and land normally or turn and minimize the damage caused by landing in a turn.

    3. Land crosswind and in no wind.
    These are straightforward. No wind landings are pretty easy; the only issue is that your perception of speed and altitude will be off. Since you seem to be moving faster over the ground when there's no wind (which you actually are) it can seem like a good idea to add just a little brake to 'slow you down' before you land. Resist that urge! Keep that speed in your canopy; you can turn the speed into a good flare only if you start the flare with decent (i.e. full flight) speed.
    Crosswind landings can be a little more tricky because of that strong tendency to want to "reach out to break your fall." Counter this by flaring with your hands in towards the center of your body. You may have to PLF on these landings, since you'll have some decent forward speed and have some sideways motion from the wind. If you want to get fancy, try a flare turn after you start your flare on the crosswind landing - you can easily pull off a standup landing if you get turned enough before you put your feet down.
    If these work well you may want to try a downwind landing. The benefit to doing that is it will prepare you to accept a downwind landing in the future; you won't be tempted to turn too low to avoid it. Choose an ideal day for this one, with a slippery landing area (wet grass is perfect) low winds and a clear landing area. Prepare to PLF, and think about "laying it down" on your thigh as you land to start sliding. You can slide across grass at 30mph without getting hurt, but planting your feet and cartwheeling at those speeds can be very dangerous.

    4. Land reliably within a 10 meter circle.
    This is essentially the PRO requirement. This is critical because your accuracy skills are what will keep you from having to turn low. It's very comforting to know that you can land in any 50ish foot clearing if you find yourself having to land out; it's especially important as you get to smaller canopies that need longer and longer runways to land well. Your only option may be a section of road, and you may have to hit the beginning of the road dead-on to have enough room to slow down.
    The subject of canopy accuracy is too long to do justice to here, but the top 3 hints I've heard are:
    - If you're not sure if you're going to make it over a wire or tree, look at what it's doing with respect to the background. If more background is appearing from beneath the wire or tree, you're probably going to make it.
    - As you look at the ground, most points will seem to move away from a central point. Some will rise, some will fall, some will go out to the side. If you look long enough you'll find one point that's not moving - that's where you're going to land if the winds don't change all the way in (which is rare.)
    - Going into brakes usually makes you land short in high winds, but can extend your glide in no wind. Front risers almost always make you land shorter.

    5. Initiate a high performance landing with double fronts, and a front riser turn to landing.
    I am pretty convinced that front riser high performance landings are a lot safer than toggle turn high performance landings, and double fronts are the safest of all. If you do it too low, or become worried about the landing - just drop the risers and you're back to normal flight.
    For double front riser landings, set up a normal landing, aiming for a point a little farther away than you normally do. At 100 feet or so, pull down both front risers. Your canopy will drop and accelerate. At some point above the ground (30-10 feet depending on your canopy) drop the front risers. Your canopy will begin to recover. Before it completes the recovery to normal flight, you should be at flare altitude. Start the flare normally. You may need to use less toggle than normal, since the canopy is now going faster than you're used to, and the same amount of toggle gives you more lift. You will also plane out farther, since you have more speed you have to bleed off before you come to a stop.
    For front riser turns to landing, first try front riser turns out above 1000 feet and get used to how your canopy recovers. Then start by coming in 10 degrees off the windline, and making a gentle front riser turn to line up with the wind at ~100 feet. The canopy will dive and accelerate, so be prepared to drop the front riser instantly and flare if you have to. Also be prepared to steer in the flare, since the canopy may not have stopped turning completely before the flare begins. Done correctly, you'll start the flare with more forward speed, giving you a longer planeout.
    Make sure your flares are smooth for this! A smooth flare generates more lift for a longer period of time than "stabbing" the brakes. However, don't start the flare at 30 feet - starting the flare that high will slow the canopy down, negating the effects of the front riser approach. If you do find yourself stabbing the brakes to prevent hitting the ground, move the altitude at which you start front risering up.
    Probably the most critical skill you will get from this exercise is the development of the "sight picture." Below 200 feet your altimeter is pretty useless, and you should be looking at traffic and the landing area anyway. Eventually you'll develop a sense of what "picture" you should see just before you start that riser turn. The picture will vary with wind, landing area etc. If you arrive at the point where you would normally start the front riser turn, and the picture's not right - abort it and land normally.
    Once you have the picture down, and are doing front riser turns that transition to gradual flares, then start increasing the angle. Once you get to 90 degrees you're going to be gaining a lot of speed, so be sure to adjust your sight picture up to compensate. As always, bail by dropping the risers if you feel like there's anything wrong. Once you drop the risers, level the wing with your toggles and prepare to flare. At worst you'll have to land crosswind - but that's a skill you should have by this point anyway.

    6. Land on slight uphills and downhills.
    Often, land away from the DZ isn't perfectly flat; sometimes you can't tell this until you're at 20 feet. To prepare for this, find a place in your LZ that's not perfectly flat, scope it out, and plan on landing there. There's not too much magic concerning landing on a slope. You flare more aggressively to land going uphill, less aggressively to land going downhill.
    Obviously not all DZ's have slopes. If you don't have a good slope on your DZ somewhere, you may have to put this one off until you're at a DZ that does have one. Beaches are a good place to practice this, since they have pretty predictable slopes down to the water, and overrunning the landing just means you get wet.

    7. Land with rear risers.
    Knowing how to land with rear risers can help you deal with a canopy problem like a broken or stuck brake line, and can help you make a better land/cutaway decision when you do have such a problem.
    Again, this is best practiced up high. See how far you can pull the rear risers before the canopy stalls. It will stall much earlier with rear risers; memorize where that happens so you don't do it near the ground.
    When you try it for real, choose an ideal day - steady moderate winds, soft ground, clear pattern. Be sure to try this for the first time on a largish canopy (one of the reasons you should do these things before downsizing.) Leave your hands in the toggles and wrap your whole hand around the rear riser. That way if things go awry you can drop the risers and flare normally. Start the flare at a normal flare altitude, and prepare to PLF. You may get the sort of lift you're used to, but you probably won't slow down as much before you're near that stall point. Make sure your feet are on the ground (sliding preferably) before you get there.
    On smaller canopies, you may want to start the flare with rear risers. Then, once the canopy is leveled out, drop the risers and finish the flare with the toggles (which are still around your hands.) That way you get your vertical speed to zero, which is the critical part of a safe slide-in landing, and can still stop the canopy without hitting the ground going too fast. (This is also a technique used by swoopers to extend their swoops BTW.)

    The above list is not meant to include all the skills you need to safely fly a canopy; it’s just a checklist for a cross-section of skills you should have before downsizing. Some of these will be easier on a larger canopy, and can be practiced right away. Landing downwind, for example, is easier on a larger canopy simply because it can slow you down more before stalling. Some skills are more difficult on a larger canopy. It can be difficult to get a planeout at all on a larger F-111 canopy, so practicing things like a flare turn may best wait until you approach a 1:1 loading on a ZP canopy. At that loading, the canopy begins to perform more along the lines of how we expect a HP canopy to fly. More importantly, skills like the flare turn become both possible and necessary to practice, so you can hone your skills while you are under a canopy that tolerates minor mistakes.
    As I mentioned in the beginning, these are skills you should learn before you downsize, although some (like the flare turn) can be difficult to practice at very light loadings. If you can't do some of them yet? Get some coaching; it makes a lot more sense to learn them on your larger canopy, before you start jumping a smaller canopy that scares you. Once you can do them all, then try the smaller canopy. And if someday someone cuts you off under the smaller canopy, you'll have the reactions you learned under the larger canopy. Even if you haven't completely adapted those manuevers to the smaller canopy yet, those reactions will more likely than not save your life.

    By billvon, in Safety,

    Wings Level

    Wings Level
    I've been thinking for some time about a final bit of advice,
    some catchy canopy control phrase, to say to students when they
    are about to go up. This morning it finally came to me:
    Wings Level
    When you're close to the ground keep your wings level

    This covers a lot of ground. Most of the injuries I can think
    of violated this principle.
    You can survive a lot of horizontal embarrassment by pulling
    your breakables in and doing a PLF. The vertical stuff is what
    hurts, and that mostly comes when your canopy is not level.
    There are three common situations: turbulence, SLAMMs and flaring.
    One feeling of turbulence is the canopy suddenly rocking/tilting
    right or left. If it tilts to the right our untrained reaction
    is to raise our left hand to catch our balance, and lower our
    right hand to catch ourselves. This causes a hard right turn
    and slams us into the ground.
    Under canopy we must retrain ourselves to think "Wings Level!"
    and counter the tilt with our toggles.
    Tilt to the right:
    Think "Wings Level!"
    Left toggle down / Right toggle up
    Canopy overhead
    Back to neutral or continue flaring or ... If we're flaring when this tilt to the right happens another
    part of our reaction is to raise our left leg up and reach for
    the ground with our right leg. This is an injury prone position
    to hit the ground in.
    Our ground based habits are strong, and it takes some effort and
    practice to use only canopy control, our hands and toggles, while
    we're still in the air.
    Active control is the idea, you fly the canopy, don't let it fly you.
    SLAMMs - Stupid Last Minute Moves

    SLAMs - Stupid Low Altitude Maneuvers
    I got this term from Rick Horn. It refers to last minute panic turns.
    These last minute turns happen when people
    Get too low before facing into the wind (Get-home-itis)
    Try to avoid last minute obstacles
    Chase the windsock Large scale canopy strategy - thinking ahead - is the approach to
    focus on here.
    The idea is to get up wind of target, and then fly a landing pattern.
    It starts before you even put your gear on.
    Get a flight planner (an aerial photo of the drop zone).

    Go outside and look at the ground winds.

    Draw both left and right hand landing patterns for these winds.

    Pick one or the other based on obstacles and other factors.

    If the winds are still the same when you jump, this is the one
    you will try to use.
    The actual jump often happens differently than the plan.

    The point here is to learn a process, a way of thinking,
    an approach, that keeps you out of the awkward situations
    and last minute moves in the first place.
    Now draw the jump run (what have previous loads been doing?).
    Mark where the first and last groups got out (watch the actual
    jump or ask people who have just landed where they got out).
    If the uppers are strong mark both exit and opening point.
    Now put yourself in the shoes of someone who has just opened.
    I'm here, the windsock is still the same, so my two possible landing
    patterns are there, what do I do between now and later to get from here
    to the onramp, the beginning, of the landing pattern I want to use?
    Should I run? Should I hold? Should I crab?

    If I keep facing the way I'm facing now, where will I land?

    There's an obstacle, a lake, some trees, a power line between
    here and there. Can I fly over it? Should I fly over it?

    What if the wind changes and I land on it? Is that a disaster,
    or just inconvenient?
    If I can't make it back, where's a clear spot that I can land in?

    Which way is the wind blowing and therefore what landing pattern
    should I fly?
    Can I make it back but the wind has changed, the windsock is moving?

    What's my new landing pattern and how do I get from here to the onramp?
    Is the windsock going in circles? Are the jumpers ahead of me landing
    in all directions? Should I move my landing pattern over a bit and
    land outside the swarm of clueless sunday drivers?
    Am I too long but the wind is at my back so I can pull a few inches
    on the toggles and come down slower and ride the wind back?
    Am I down wind and don't want to blow away so I should face the wind
    and pull a few inches on the front risers and get down quicker?
    Have I by some miracle of forethought made it to the onramp of my
    chosen landing pattern? How do I handle it now?
    As a student they told me the 1,000 - 600 - 300 ft technique, but
    most experienced jumpers guage the pattern by angles and rates.
    On a light wind day I fly the down wind part at a certain distance
    from the target so the target is at the correct angle down from
    me. I fly down wind until the target is maybe 45 degrees behind
    me and turn cross wind. Once again the target is at the correct
    angle down from me. At the magic moment I turn on final.
    If I'm too low in the pattern I can cut across corners and shorten
    my flight path. If I'm too high I can go into brakes, come down
    slower but steeper, and bleed off unwanted altitude.
    If I've misjudged the whole thing, I remember that it's better to
    land out and walk back than land in and get carried away on a stretcher,
    so I do my turns onto cross wind and final at a nice safe altitude,
    and congratulate myself on what good judgement I have.
    It is hard to stress enough the value of persistently trying to
    fly your canopy on a predetermined course (get up wind of target,
    and then fly a landing pattern) rather than zooming aimlessly
    around and then landing.
    The value is that trying to make your canopy go where you plan to
    go in all the different conditions teaches you how to make your
    canopy go where you *want* it to go in all the different conditions.
    Canopy control is not simple and it's not easy. There are zillions
    of variables and circumstances, and on any given jump you don't
    even know what they all are.
    If you put genuine effort into this for 200 - 300 jumps you will
    start to sort out the patterns and learn what you can and can't do.
    Knowing what you can and can't do is especially helpful in staying
    out of the SLAMMs when you're landing out.

    Sometimes, even when you're thinking ahead, you have to make a turn
    close to the ground. There is a way to do it and still keep your
    wings level and that is braked (flat) turns.
    The idea is to first go into the right amount of brakes, half brakes,
    deep brakes, and then use one toggle slightly up or the other slightly
    down, or both, to turn.
    This gives you a change of heading with only a slight bank.
    If you were really at 50 or 75 ft when you did this, you just have
    to land that way (PLF).
    Practice braked turns up high until they feel really comfortable so
    that when you need one close to the ground it will be easy to do.
    Letting up from deep brakes near the ground is tricky because you drop
    quite a ways before your canopy resumes its normal glide path.
    At some point it's worth spending maybe 10 or 20 jumps edging gradually
    into this to find out what you can do. It's different with each canopy.
    Turn onto final in part brakes. At say 150 ft let up slowly and see
    what happens. Push gradually (that's *gradually*) into deeper brakes,
    lower altitudes, faster let ups. After while you will get a sense
    of what you can do.
    If you keep pushing you will eventually scare yourself and then you
    will know where the boundary is.
    Another place where you can get wings unlevel is flaring
    flare too high and then let up
    flare too high and stall
    flare unevenly There is an old accuracy technique called double clutching,
    where you let the toggles up 6 or 8 inches (not a foot!),
    let the canopy fly for a moment, then toggles back down maybe
    4 or 6 inches.
    If you flare too high and just hold it, you will land hard
    but probably get away with it by doing a PLF.
    If you flare too high and then let up, you will land much
    harder and may not get away with it. Even big, slow student
    canopies can slam you in if you do it wrong enough.
    If you've been practicing double clutching up high where it
    doesn't hurt, you can impress your friends and coaches with
    your great canopy control.
    If you flare unevenly, one hand lower than the other, you get
    the canopy tilting one way or the other as in turbulence.
    Tilt to the right:
    Think "Wings Level!"
    Left toggle down / Right toggle up
    Canopy overhead
    Back to neutral or continue flaring or ... Some people look at their hands or bring their hands together
    at the bottom of the flare in order to flare evenly.
    Those can be good short term techniques, but in the long run it
    is better to focus on what the canopy is doing.
    If the canopy tilts or banks I want to counter with one toggle
    down and the other up regardless of whether it was turbulence
    or an uneven flare that caused it.
    The flare works in two stages. The top quarter or top third
    stops your downward speed and levels you out (for a short while).
    The bottom part slows your forward speed.
    This means that in high winds, where you're barely penetrating
    and your horizontal speed (relative to the ground) is already
    stopped, you just do the top part of the flare, and you do it
    much closer to the ground.
    If you do a full flare in high winds you get picked up and thrown
    backwards pretty hard. This will impress your friends and coaches
    but not the way you want.
    The hard part of flaring in no winds is guessing when to start.
    You start the top part higher. This levels you out, changes your
    visual picture, and gives you immediate feedback on how good your
    guess was.
    If your guess was good, then do the bottom part and land.
    If you started too high, then pause for a moment, and then do the
    bottom part.
    Part of the trick is where you look.
    If you look at the horizon then you can't see the ground well enough
    in your peripheral vision and you can't tell when.
    If you look straight down under your feet all you see is ground
    rushing by and you can't tell when that way either.
    Up higher I'm looking more out ahead.
    As I'm starting the flare I look ahead of where my feet are going
    to touch down just like you do on an uneven mountain trail.
    As my feet are just about to touch down I look more downward just
    like you do at a rough spot on that mountain trail. What I'm looking
    for is any rock or uneven spot where I might twist an ankle.
    If your flare motions are too slow you don't get the effect, but
    if you yank the toggles down you just distort the canopy and airflow
    and that doesn't work either.
    If you back off a little from the yank to a definite, strong
    motion, it works pretty well.
    The final bit of flaring technique is to practice PLFs until
    they are comfortable and natural, because in spite of all this
    great technique there is nothing like a PLF to save your body
    and your pride when you misjudge it.

    A point of terminology is that panic turns are not hook turns.
    Hook turns, canopy swooping, turf surfing, pond swooping are a form
    of canopy flying that you can learn about later if you want.
    If you are interested, then go to some of the larger drop zones
    in Florida or California or some place and learn from the people
    who are already good at it.
    Like any envelope pushing around high speed dirt, it's pretty easy
    to kill yourself if you fuck up, so it's smarter to build on the
    experience of others.
    Meanwhile, in your day to day jumping, keep your wings level when
    you're close to the ground.

    Sometimes, in spite of our best efforts, our best training, our
    best intentions, we have a brain fart and do something stupid.
    Here's one that ranks right up there with the best of them.
    One year at Quincy it was hot, it was humid, it was late in the
    week, I was tired, I didn't want to land out and wait for the
    pickup, and I had to cross the loading area to get back.
    The loading area is a pretty wide section of concrete filled with
    Otters and Casas picking up jumpers, getting fuel, spinning props,
    planes taxiing in and out, tents full of waiting jumpers.
    I had seen it in freefall, I had been eyeing the situation from
    the time I opened.
    Can I do it? I'm not sure. It's gonna be close.
    I'll just face that way and decide when I get closer.
    Can I do it? I'm not sure. Just barely. Maybe. No, I should
    turn around and land over here. I'm going for it.
    Concrete. Staying aloft by sheer terror. The slightest gust
    and ... Shit.
    Props. I could land on the tail. Massive social humiliation
    and broken bones but I'd miss the props. Shit.
    The tent. I'm going to land on the tent. Shit.
    I'm over. I land.
    I gather up my chute and walk back thinking that was the stupidest
    thing I've ever done.
    To this day I can still hardly believe that I did that.
    It's not just students who show bad judgement under canopy.
    Bryan Burke has said that minds are like parachutes, sometimes
    they just don't work.
    That means that we must develop the best set of habits and background
    experience that we can, so that when our minds don't work we might still
    accidentally do the right thing.
    Keep your wings level when you're close to the ground.

    By admin, in Safety,

    How to survive the WFFC

    It's summer again, and that means the summer boogies are in full swing. Big groups of jumpers are getting together at this and other boogies througout the world, jumping like crazy, trying new equipment and disciplines, and partying all night. While they can be a lot of fun, boogies also present some unique risks and dangers that we have to keep in mind if we want to make it through the summer without injury. Presented below are some tips to help keep you alive and jumping at the biggest skydiving boogie in the world.
    1. Do only one new thing at a time. Many jumpers show up and are awed by the array of canopy demos, big ways, new planes (with new exits) and new styles of flying. Indeed, the WFFC is a great place to try new gear and jump new planes. But showing up, grabbing a demo rig with a tiny main, getting on a new type of airplane, and trying head down for the first time is not such a good idea. Want to try a new rig? Great! But first make a few jumps with your old rig. See if the canopy traffic near the landing area is OK with you. If it gets a little too intense, you're still in good shape, because you are familiar with your canopy, and are in a better position to handle lots of traffic. After your first few jumps on your current canopy, you can make a better decision whether a smaller canopy is a good idea, or if you want to land that smaller canopy in an alternate (i.e. larger, lower traffic) area.
    2. Make small changes. If you do decide to jump that demo rig, talk to the folks at the canopy tent and get a canopy they recommend. I would hesitate to downsize more than one canopy size at a time at the WFFC, no matter how good you think you are. Put a few jumps on each size or style of canopy before going on to a more aggressive one, so you have some experience you can fall back on if the next landing doesn't go as well.
    3. Know who you're jumping with. You're generally not going to know everyone on the dive, but at least make an effort to not to jump with all unknowns. Skydiving is still small enough that your friends probably know their friends, so ask around to determine their skill level. Ask them how many jumps they have, but be aware that this isn't always indicative of skills, and people sometimes lie about their number of jumps (which is really stupid.) The WFFC organizers are a good resource here, since they have a lot of experience matching people and planning safe dives. Even if you don't want to jump with them, you can ask them for recommendations on other people. Chances are one of the LO's knows them or has jumped with them at some point.
    4. Jump with a clear head. The WFFC has some excellent parties. But if you were up all night, it might be a good idea to get a little sleep before jumping. Adrenalin can't always make up for a hangover or a lack of sleep, and you need all your wits about you when you're
    in the air at the WFFC.
    5. Plan your outs. The main landing area by manifest is popular, but a lot of people have gotten hurt trying to land there. If dense canopy traffic worries you, land somewhere else. Also, if you open and you think you may not make it back to the main landing areas, pick your outs at 2000 feet, not at 50 feet. You don't have too many options left at that altitude.
    6. Learn to flat turn and flare turn. This is really important. You will be in big crowds of jumpers flying back. At some point, someone will cut you off. If it happens at 50 feet you have three choices: make a hard toggle turn (and plow into the ground at a painful speed) run into them or flat turn away. If it happens at ten feet, or after you have begun your flare, you have even fewer options. So be sure you can both flat turn (turn with minimal loss of altitude, using both brakes) and flare turn (turn right and left in the flare) before you get put in a position where you need those skills.
    7. Plan your opening altitude and stick to it. At the WFFC, it can be dangerous to open high, since the next plane may be coming along on the same jump run just a few minutes later. There are some aircraft/loads that allow higher openings; check with manifest if you need a higher opening altitude to try out a new canopy (for example.)
    The WFFC can be a dangerous place. But with a little planning and some common sense, you can spend your time at Rantoul jumping and partying rather than taking that "other" helicopter ride.

    By admin, in Safety,

    Becoming An Experienced Convention Skydiver

    For most of us that have been to the World Freefall Convention (WFFC) before, the excitement begins to build as soon as we drive up to the airport entrance and stop at registration. Just seeing canopies in the air is enough to get our adrenaline flowing and make us hurry to get in the sky so we can have as much fun as the people we see there already.
    But wait! For safety's sake we need to slow down and take some time to familiarize ourselves with the convention facilities. In particular, those of you who have never been to the World Freefall Convention at least need to take a look at a map of the airport and convention site so you know where to find the best places to park, camp, and land your parachute safely.
    There aren't many rules at the convention, but the ones we have are important, because they affect the safety and enjoyment of the convention by you and everyone else who attends. We skydivers are generally some of the most safety conscious people around, but the excitement and fast pace of a large skydiving event have the potential for making us forget or ignore the usual good judgment we use back at the home DZ. One of the most important safety rules that we ask you to follow is to not push yourself and exceed your skill or capabilities. This applies in several areas:
    Getting On A Load
    The World Freefall Convention has the widest variety of skydiving opportunities you may ever experience in a short period of time and at one location. You will have a chance to jump from many types of aircraft and be on many types and sizes of skydives that might not be available to you back at your home DZ. Load organizers will be available for all of the skydiving disciplines, as well as seminars, coaching, and formal instruction by well known skydivers in these areas. These people will do all they can to help you learn to skydive better and to help you get on skydives that are safe, fun, and challenging.
    Most people who come to the convention seem to be interested mainly in freefall formation skydiving. If you are one of these jumpers the best bet is to start off with a group no larger than you usually jump with, and keep it simple until you are comfortable jumping with people you don't know and with figuring out where you are going to land. Even some experienced jumpers who have been to several conventions in the past try to first find a small group of jumpers and "warm up", while at the same time refamiliar- izing themselves with the convention at a relaxed pace. If you usually jump with small groups it wouldn't hurt to break off a little high on some of the first few loads so you can get some practice tracking a good distance from others in case you want to get on larger loads. Just be sure to use that time tracking, and don't open higher than recommended.
    Once you have made a few jumps you may get the urge to try bigger formations, and a good way to start is by checking with the load organizers that are available at the convention. The organizers are there to help you get on a skydive quickly, and to plan safe and successful skydives for jumpers at all experience levels. If you have any questions about safety or what type of skydive might be appropriate for someone with your skydiving experience while at the convention, just ask one of the load organizers. They will be happy to help you even if you are not jumping on one of their loads, or if you already have a group with whom to skydive.
    Landing areas at the convention are generally unrestricted and we would all like to keep them that way, but this depends on your good judgement and common sense. If you are experienced enough and are conservative, you can land right next to where you are parked or camped, but there are plenty of large open areas in which to land, and the short walk you will make back to your packing area in some situations might be well worth the additional safety. While under canopy you will need to constantly be checking for other jumpers that may not see you. Think ahead and plan your landing site and pattern while still high enough to avoid other canopies without requiring evasive maneuvers. Hook-turns (turns more than 90 degrees for landing) are allowed only on approach to the swoop pond (where they are expected) and must not be done anywhere else! As a reminder, there are some situations in which you will definitely want to land in a large open area:
    If you are jumping a demo canopy with unfamiliar flight characteristics.
    If you have any problems with your canopy and decide that it is safe to land anyway, for example, a broken steering line, an accidental step-though pack job, or a canopy connected backwards.
    If you have a reserve ride.
    Demo Gear
    Most of the major manufacturers of skydiving gear will be at the convention and they will have gear available for you to see and to test jump. However, these people probably do not know you, and do not know your experience level and abilities. If you exaggerate your experience or ability when deciding what gear to try out you are only putting yourself and others in danger.
    Canopies are the most likely piece of gear that you will have the opportunity to test jump and there will be a wide range of types and sizes available, some of them very high performance types. Be conservative, and take the manufacturer's advice on what canopy to try first. Most importantly, land in an open area that is away from other jumpers. A quick toggle turn required by suddenly finding another canopy in your path could be disastrous in an unfamiliar high-performance canopy.
    The harness/container systems provided by the manufacturers to test jump or to use when trying out a canopy are always very nice pieces of gear, and some of them even allow you the option of where to put the pilot chute. Still, they are not the same as jumping your own gear. Make sure the rig fits well and that the leg straps are tight and securely in place. Practicing your pull before the skydive is a good idea.
    In Conclusion
    The World Freefall Convention can provide us with some of the greatest opportunities and most fun skydiving times of our lives, but we must exercise a good deal of caution to keep it that way. Please be careful so we can all share in the fun for years to come.

    By admin, in Safety,

    Advanced Canopy Control via CRW

    The Advanced Canopy Control Course is designed for the average skydiver. It will give
    the skydiver confidence and ability to fly in close proximity to other canopies safely,
    while providing the skills necessary to avoid problems caused by others. It does not
    however, address proper tracking and deployment awareness, or landing skills.
    The purpose of the course is to improve safety by teaching proper canopy maneuvering
    techniques and to develop a sincere and lasting respect for Canopy Relative
    Work, through
    Advanced Canopy Control.
    The course includes one hour of ground training each day before jumping and is divided
    into three parts. Each part consists of five jumps for a total of fifteen jumps. There is
    a multiple choice, true/false test at the end of the course. The course will expose the
    skydiver to the fundamentals of Canopy Relative Work through Advanced Canopy Control.
    Areas of emphasis will include proper equipment, dirt diving, aircraft, weather,
    spotting techniques, exiting, piloting, approaching a canopy formation, catching, proper
    docking procedures, docking techniques, transitioning, break-off and emergency procedures.

    At the completion of the course, the skydiver will have learned the basic abilities
    that are required to avoid potentially fatal collisions with others in congested
    conditions. The jumper will be better prepared to handle a tight landing situation, dock
    safely onto various canopy formations, and deal with situations that can rapidly develop
    when other jumpers do not fly safely.
    Ground Training - One Hour Each Day

    Emergency Procedures
    Formation Funnels
    Avoiding Problems

    Instructor’s Note:
    If the student has recently graduated AFF, please help with packing, spotting
    and landing; encouraging on heading awareness, groundspeed/winds and controlled ground
    approaches without a windsock --should be 100% before & during a
    For example, packing: explain the difference between rolling the nose and splitting it.
    Tail pockets vs. bags. Large toggles that can be kept in the hands when risering, staying
    on proper heading…spotting: judging the aircraft heading whether crabbing, going
    downwind or upwind. This requires having a sense of speed over the ground. For instance,
    normal jump run airspeed is about 90 knots. If there’s no wind at altitude for the
    first five jumps, then you will get a feel for 90 knots of ground speed looking down from
    the door. Then if on later jump runs, if you are traveling half as fast across the ground
    you could surmise that there is a 45 knot head wind, etc. Encourage this type of analysis
    along with wind direction; i.e. crabbing characteristics as viewed from the door and even
    odd occurrences where it would seem that due to a very fast ground speed you might be
    going downwind unbeknownst to the pilot! Ground approaches: the old method of feet
    together at 1000' check groundspeed with toes, turn 90-degrees, recheck, turn 90, etc.
    taking the slowest groundspeed heading as the direction for landing, and treat landings
    with the utmost respect for 100% awareness! A windsock should be considered a luxury.
    Think of anything that could cause you an 'accident' sometime and how you
    would avoid getting hurt.
    Emergency Procedures
    The first step towards successfully surviving an emergency situation is to have
    a plan, prior to the onset of the emergency. It must be a well-considered plan, based on
    experience gleaned from the wisdom of experts and analysis of fatal errors committed by
    others. Do not limit yourself to a single course of action, however. This is
    your life under canopy or in freefall. Be spiritual in some way to accept
    any risk, but always perform at 100% and encourage the student to do
    likewise. You'll always be happy with the performance and you'll be in
    control should there be any major challenges.
    For example: You are wrapped! The canopy is wrapped around your head and the lines are
    wrapped around your neck. You can’t communicate with the jumper below you. Your face
    is turning purple and consciousness is fading. Your plan was for the guy who wrapped you
    to relieve the situation by cutting away, since he can’t hear you yelling
    instructions to him. He is supposed to cut away, but he cannot. Unknown to you, he has
    become wrapped severely and is having his own problems. Therefore, you whip out your
    trusty Jack the Ripper and lay waste to his canopy, thereby saving your own life.If
    you are truly confident in your decisions, I believe you will survive and
    your student as well IF they follow the doctrine of always doing their very,
    very best.
    A primary plan is necessary, but don’t limit yourself to a single emergency
    procedure and kid yourself that it is going to work every time, all the time.
    The second step is to practice it. You should practice your emergency procedures so
    that they become second nature to you. The middle of an emergency is not the time to
    become confused or indecisive. You should review your emergency procedures prior to each
    skydive. You should also quickly review your emergency procedures whenever you become
    involved in a rapidly deteriorating situation. This will replace potentially paralyzing
    fear with a positive plan, and the plan will be the first thing that comes to mind.
    Once your mind goes into survival-mode via 'procedure' --you'll gain
    additional insight as to how to deal with the problem. Each problem is
    unique. It's luck in my opinion that you get out of it. You do EVERYTHING
    you can thoughtfully and distinctly think of one-after-another solutions and
    go for it intelligently without panic and resolve the issue in time &
    with altitude. Once you're clear and under a reserve --I suppose if you were
    really hard-core you could go look for some more action but I would stay
    clear of anyone and get to the ground safely.
    The third step is to do it!

    Sounds easy,
    but you need to realize you will die if you don't. Definitely --clear
    it while checking altitude. Speak out loud your actions so they can be
    heard. Get under the problem with strength & body-English. use the
    hook-knives, lines off of you --check altitude
    and yell it out. Clear the air and chop it. Make your OWN decisions.
    Types of Emergencies:
    CRW emergencies are divided into two categories, Wraps and Entanglements. A Wrap
    occurs when a canopy becomes wrapped around a jumper’s body. An Entanglement occurs
    when two or more canopies become entangled with each other. Either way, you
    are fucked. One way you may still have a good canopy above you --the other,
    both are twisted together doing their absolute own thing and there's nothing
    you can do but get away from it by chopping (so long as you are BELOW the
    A wrap can be compared in severity to a low speed free fall malfunction. With
    sufficient altitude, you will have time to consider the problem and solve it. The canopy
    of the jumper above you, who is wrapped, should remain inflated. This gives you
    substantially more time to deal with your malfunction than you would have during a high
    speed freefall emergency. But it is very serious. Take care of it while you
    have the LUXURY of TIME.
    Do not land a modern square canopy with two people suspended under it. You will have
    incredible forward speed because of the increased wing loading on the still-inflated
    canopy. Landing impact will be severe, particularly to the bottom jumper.
    BUT --if you are in a Bi-Plane at 1500 feet, can't see your pilot-chutes,
    --plan on landing it --the pilot chutes 'may' be entangled --ain't worth the
    The rule for wraps: The bottom jumper cuts away first. The top canopy usually remains
    open, so there is no reason to release it. Also, if the person who is wrapped cuts away,
    (the top jumper), he will go into freefall with the bottom jumpers canopy wrapped around
    him. That will only make the situation much worse --definitely for him,
    perhaps for you too.
    Usually, you can extricate yourself from a canopy that has wrapped you by sliding it
    down your body. If not, then the bottom jumper will have to cut away. That will release
    the tension and make it easier for you to extricate yourself and get free of the fabric.
    If he can't hear you then he might just cut-away. Then gather-up the canopy
    to throw it away 'whole' --DON'T
    throw it away if you think there may be a stray line or two wrapped-around
    your neck or leg, etc. Keep it gathered-up, stuff it between your legs and
    land with it.
    An entanglement usually results from one person passing through the lines of
    another person’s canopy. This causes the two canopies to become entangled, with the
    jumpers dangling beneath the partially inflated or completely collapsed canopies. This
    situation almost always requires both persons to cut away. This can result in both jumpers
    being subjected to sudden and extremely violent G forces. Usually, one person is suspended
    higher than the other, but not always.
    The general rule for entanglements is for the top person to release first. If the
    bottom person releases his lines first, the risers may recoil upward and wrap the other
    person. When the top person releases first, he may impact the bottom person on the way by,
    but he won’t have much momentum.
    The top person is usually the one who passed through the lines of the bottom person,
    and, many times, his canopy will pull itself out of the mess after it is released.
    Sometimes the entanglement begins to spin, and one person will be hanging downward
    while the other one is orbiting the entanglement. This spin may accelerate rapidly. In
    this situation the orbiter should cut away first. This will fling the orbiter clear of the
    entanglement and does not alter the other person’s orientation to the entanglement.
    If the jumper who is hanging downward releases first, it can cause the orbiter to change
    orientation to the mess and could make the situation worse.
    When jumpers become involved in a wrap or an entanglement, the first
    thing to do is to communicate. You need to communicate the altitude, the problem and the
    plan. When someone has a canopy wrapped around them they may not be able to read their
    altimeter. In all the excitement they may have forgotten what the altitude was the last
    time they checked. You certainly don’t want them to panic and cutaway. 
    It is very
    reassuring to hear the altitude called out every 500 feet when you are totally engulfed in
    nylon. It can also be encouraging to hear that your canopy is OK. --do
    If you cannot get any response from the person wrapped up in your canopy, then you
    should go ahead and cut away. They probably have nylon across their face or around
    their neck and can’t respond orally. They may not even be able to
    breath at all. You need to release the tension by releasing
    your risers, (cutting away) and leaving them with a ten pound mess of canopy
    --or a re-inflating canopy that jerks their head/leg off from time to time.
    Point is --better to leave them sooner than later if they are NOT
    If you are the person who is wrapped in a canopy, you should communicate that you are
    working on the situation, if you can. This information should be conveyed at regular
    intervals. Be cautious of your terminology. Don’t say to the other person,
    "Don’t cutaway!", or anything else that could be misunderstood!
    Once the decision to cutaway has been made, don’t panic. Do it right!
    Keep your shit together. It only takes seconds to do
    right. Follow the numbers straight-thru and you survive according to the
    statistics --I think.
    First, get your hands on both handles and insure that you are clear of any lines. You
    should peel your cutaway handle off the Velcro, but leave the reserve handle in its
    pocket. If you have a hard pull on the cutaway handle, you can momentarily release your
    grip on the reserve handle and use both hands to cutaway. Keep your eyes on the reserve
    handle, so you can regain your grip quickly. Be prepared to do a freefall delay, if you
    have sufficient altitude. Look down where you will fall and figure you need
    around 400 feet or more of clear air beneath you.
    If there is going to be more than one person cutting away, the first one out needs to
    freefall for five to ten seconds, altitude permitting! This will provide sufficient
    vertical separation for the next person who cuts away to safely deploy a reserve.
    The most important thing that can be done to maintain a margin of safety is to
    remember your altitude!
    Most problems begin during docking or break-off. USPA states that the minimum altitude
    for docking is 2500 feet. How low would you want to be in a wrap?
    The next question is, how low would you want to be in freefall? USPA states that the
    minimum safe altitude to initiate a cutaway is 1800 feet. These limits have been
    determined by years of experience and several fatalities. Respect them.
    It is also conventional wisdom that a cutaway initiated below 500 feet has almost no
    chance of being successful. At that altitude you may save yourself by deploying
    your reserve into the malfunction. It is better to increase aerodynamic drag than it is to
    accelerate toward the ground in freefall.
    What causes wraps and entanglements? Usually, bad docking techniques. The three
    factors most often involved are speed, (closure rate), angle, and distance from center. If
    you have too much speed, your body continues to travel forward after you have docked. The
    point where the target jumper grabs your canopy remains stationary, but the rest of the
    canopy continues to move in your direction of travel.. The canopy may then lose
    pressurization and wrap the person you docked on. Because objects tend to swing in an arc,
    it is common for the canopy to dissipate its momentum by wrapping securely around the
    jumper that you docked on.
    There are good and bad angles to dock from. Docking from straight behind, a zero degree
    angle of approach, is the safest angle. Docking head-on is obviously the worst angle. A
    head-on dock can result in injury.
    Docking with your canopy heading 90-degrees to the target jumper’s heading will
    still give you too much speed. The most efficient angle is 45-degrees to the side of
    straight behind. Docking unintentionally with an end cell is more likely to generate a
    wrap than docking with a center cell. These three factors combine to make a dock safe or
    Formation Funnels
    Another cause of wraps and entanglements is when the formation
    "funnels." This can be the result of the unanticipated collapse of a mismatched
    or misflown canopy. It can also occur if a canopy in the formation stalls.
    In a plane formation, the nose of the canopy below you is pushing on your brake lines.
    Your canopy can stall if you apply as little as half brakes.
    If someone docks and wraps the corner of a formation, it can cause part of the
    formation to funnel. It can also funnel at breakoff because the trim of the formation
    changes as canopies leave it and the stress distributed throughout the formation changes.
    Another problem is carelessness. Some people don’t look where they are going. You
    should always look before you turn. Don’t fixate on the formation.
    (Many people have gotten wrapped on a freefall jump by not looking where they were
    going, after opening. If you are looking at your toggles right after your canopy opens,
    you may experience a sudden and violent encounter with someone else who is doing the same
    Avoiding Problems
    What can we do to prevent or ease wraps and entanglements? The foremost
    preventative measure is thorough planning. Perform a thorough dirt dive. That is the time
    to share techniques that will work for the type of formations and transitions that you are
    planning to accomplish.
    CRW is very three-dimensional and, therefore, quite complex. Participants can easily
    miscalculate a maneuver, if they are trying something new. Don’t just dirt dive the
    formation. Share what you know. If someone is approaching too hot, you can spread out your
    arms. and prevent the canopy from wrapping you. Even if it does wrap, you can extract
    yourself easier because you won’t be cocooned so tightly. Nylon will stick to itself
    like a Chinese finger trap when it is wound tightly around you. If you can give it some
    slack it will come loose. You can grab the area of nylon with the most tension, then lift
    it, if only an inch, then as you let it down it will loosen and start sliding down your
    If you are in a formation and someone below you gets wrapped, hold on to them until
    they can sort things out. Do not drop them unless they expressly request it. This gives
    them more time and less to worry about, as it will keep their canopy on heading.
    If you are planed on the jumper above you and they have become entangled in your lines,
    you can apply light front-riser pressure. This re-tensions your nose and tends to keep
    your canopy from spinning. They may then be able to slide up your lines, which will allow
    their canopy to stay inflated. This front risering must be done initially, as the problem
    occurs. Once the two canopies become entangled, one or both of you will have to cut away.
    If an end cell wraps around your foot, it can be difficult or impossible to release.
    You can’t lift the jumper’s weight up with one leg. Attempting to do so can
    injure you. As a canopy starts to wrap around your foot, you should stick the other foot
    in there, also. This will enable you to lift the jumper who is fouled on you and will
    allow you to get your hands on the canopy to relieve the tension on your legs and feet.
    This can help prevent injury.
    Example wrap: The canopy
    hits you with its left end-cell. The end cell stays (you gripped-it or
    snagged it) and the canopy flies around in front of you counter-clockwise
    (left turn) and continues around and stops back on its original heading when
    it first made contact with you. Reach over with your right hand andgrab your
    left front riser, Reach with your left hand in front of your right arm and
    grab a hold of your right front riser. Stiffen your body and pull your hands
    together and and out to your sides --this will turn you to the left 180
    degrees --repeat the same move again and get the correct grip for a solid
    point. (Don't forget to present the point) it shows you know what you are
    If the canopy is collapsing and
    re-inflating, you don’t want to fight it. Have the
    bottom person cut away. The snatching action of the rapidly inflating-deflating canopy can
    really damage your ankles.
    The best strategy to prevent or reduce the effects of wraps and entanglement is to wear
    proper equipment. All participants should wear thin, leather gloves, shoes, socks and long
    pants or a jumpsuit. Wrist mounted altimeters are not recommended. Your RSL should be
    disconnected. AADs are fine. If you are too low and going too fast, you want your reserve
    coming out, regardless of the circumstances.
    You need a CRW parachute to do safe and sane CRW. The time to learn CRW is not
    after completing a freefall opening at 2000 feet on your little micro-lined skyrocket.
    Learn it from an expert, using the proper equipment, and at the proper altitude.
    Part One Jumps

    Basic Techniques

    The student exits 1st and is promptly docked on top by Instructor
    A. Instructor B docks on the student from below, on Instructor B’s center cell. The
    student will catch Instructor B’s center cell and take foot grips in his center
    lines. On command from Instructor B, the student drops the grip. Instructor B will re-dock
    on the student, approaching from the right side. Emphasis should be placed upon the
    student’s technique in properly and smoothly catching Instructor B’s center
    lines and getting quick foot grips, then returning to toggles in hands.
    Instructor B is then released by the student, and docks the student from the left.
    After the third dock by Instructor B, the student then releases his grip on Instructor B
    and then retreats when Instructor A releases him.
    The two instructors shall then form a biplane and the student will set up low, on
    center, and float up for a center dock.
    (always get the student from the top on their first CRW jump, you never know how they
    will react and you need to be in control. Keep the docks from Instructor B smooth and
    accurate, encouraging the student to catch the centerlines without a lot of moving around,
    etc. Setup with Instructor B quickly for the student. They usually will approach from
    straight behind, and may even use front risers, however, the ‘plan’ for the
    classic bottom-up approach instills confidence, wave them in or tell them to 360 and set
    up for them if they abort. Make sure they understand if you move to not follow; they wait
    for you to stop moving and then they continue their approach.).
    2.Base Setup Repetitions:
    Instructor A exits. Student follows 5 seconds later. Student positions canopy
    next to Instructor A. Instructor B positions himself behind and below. Student leaves
    Instructor A and positions himself next to Instructor B. The instructors continue to
    provide various approach angles for the student to practice.
    (use the rear risers to float up behind the student, telling them to do the same, 360
    fast, they do the same. 90 out, 180 back, then on heading, they do the same, creep out
    front, have them tuck up knees to get to the scrimmage-line…be creative!)
    3.Sashay Wing Rotations - No Grip:
    Student exits first. Instructor A docks right wing. Student turns out to the
    left and back, then down and over to dock left wing on Instructor A. Instructor B then
    docks left wing on student. Instructor A leaves and student turns out to the right and
    back, then down and over to dock as right wing on Instructor B. Instructor A waits for
    student to dock. Instructor A then descends to make contact as right wing on student.
    (use the word "Point" between formations, get them to react quickly,
    encouraging direct approaches. Try to get a flow going, have fun!)
    4.Sashay Center Rotations with grip:
    Student exits first. Instructor A docks the student on top; Instructor B docks
    student on bottom. Rotation begins with emphasis placed on keeping the formation on
    heading. This should be the students’ first successful dock.
    (each time you dock them, tell them to check heading. Make sure they get their toggles
    in hands quickly after they catch, emphasize the importance of piloting the
    formation… holding steady while someone else is rotating, correcting the heading if
    necessary after the catch.)
    5.Tri-Plane piloting exercise:
    360,180, and 90-degree turns. Emphasis is placed on recognizing formation
    appearance, taking proper grips, and observing the leading edge characteristics of other
    canopies and how to handle them. Also, awareness of the DZ should be emphasized.
    Instructors should fly slow, leaving student leaning forward on top.
    (toggles in hand & 4th finger grips on centerlines for stability,
    arching and proper foot grips. Proper turns, smooth but deliberate.)
    Part Two Jumps

    Top Docking, Rotation and Sequential

    6.Top Dock, Plane - Repetition:
    Student spots the jump run, taking mental note of actual ground
    speed to compare with future spotting during course. He exits 3 seconds after Instructor A
    to set up for a top dock. Instructor B follows student. Emphasis is on keeping the
    student’s focus on instructor’s canopy leading edge. The instructor’s
    leading edge should be kept level with the student’s body while the student
    approaches. The student will be given every opportunity to complete his top dock. After
    the dock, the formation heading is changed intentionally. The student then descends the
    instructor’s lines to form a bi-plane. Instructor B sets up behind, low and to the
    side on heading and the student leaves the top to go back and get him.
    (help them with vertical separation, but make them work everything else. Tell them not
    to look at their canopy but keep their eyes on yours. When they climb down the lines, have
    them do it symmetrically bare handed, then leaving from an arched, straight-legged posture
    with toggles in hand.)
    7.Warping and End Cell Tag:
    Adding equally opposing forces on the airfoil, with a front riser and an
    opposite toggle while maintaining heading and stability, the student uses strength and
    finesse simultaneously. Emphasis is on using deep front riser and deep opposite brake
    without inducing heading changes. Tagging begins as the instructor flies end cell to end
    cell and bumps lightly on one side. The instructor then backs-up a little and flies over
    to the student’s other side and flies forward a little and bumps again on the end
    cell. After the instructor bumps each side once, the student unwarps his canopy while
    maintaining heading, then performs this same tagging on his instructors’ end cells
    (Instructor goes into a warp after his 2nd tag). Student gains experience of
    passing through burble and is encouraged to be aggressive towards bumping end cells.
    Instructor B stays close throughout dive to increase students’ awareness.
    (this is going to be new to them. Explain it as though they were under a round in this
    warped configuration, where the unwarped canopy has the advantage. The burble can be
    explained as the area where a bridled pilot chute points… teach them where it is so
    they can avoid it, or use it. Bumping end-cells shows the canopies can take
    it --repeat the dive to be more aggressive if required., Make sure
    you just bump fabric-to-fabric (no line groups closing --loss of control). Also, warping can be a great way of top docking from
    above. --encourage thinking along these lines --ie top-docking, warps,
    flying 'down the chimney' with a close pair, your own reason for
    excelling.  Get them turned-onto doing their best)
    8.Stack-Plane-Side by Side Repetition:
    A lot of line work with flying & catching fast empasized--not
    sloppy but more aggressive than last dive...
    Student is positioned on the bottom at the beginning of the exercise. Emphasis
    is on smooth, clean docks, creating smooth planes and smooth side by sides with clean
    break-offs and quick comebacks. Student must show communication skills during all side by
    sides, i.e., simple conversation.
    (simple conversation, jokes, good vibe stuff, no yelling, have fun, eye-to-eye. Watch
    out for risers snapping back into the face during the breaks. Keep aware of handles during
    grips. Get the toggles back in the hands quickly after breakoffs for a quick turn back
    into the stack approach. Hit the breaks a little harder for a quick smooth plane then
    back-off the nose away from the lines and settle it in tight.)
    9.End to End, top or bottom:
    The best sequential drill I can think of for single-flying. 8
    seconds between points is a good pace...
    With the student at the leading edge of Instructor A end cell, the student taps
    the outside edge of Instructor A canopy with his foot. Then he flies towards the opposite
    end cell without passing it, and taps it with his other foot. Then the student returns to
    the opposite end cell without going past. Instructor B is relative and preventing him from
    going past Instructor A end cell (Instructor B is 1/2 span distance from Instructor A,
    level with student, on heading). Then student Sashays out across, back & down into a
    wing position on the bottom of Instructor A and flies from end cell to end cell on the
    instructor’s body. The instructor will then sashay into a wing position on the bottom
    and the dive repeats. Emphasis is placed upon flying relative to the instructor, while
    using deeper than normal brakes throughout most of the flying.
    (this is slow, controlled flying. Stay close to them, almost crowding. It’s a
    difficult dive worthy of a thorough dirt dive. This is a good time to introduce the idea
    of catching with the feet only.)
    Towards the end of the dive, with the student on top, the student uses a foot-grip-only
    walking method to get to the other side of the canopy, while maintaining his heading, and
    he practices until breakoff.
    (stay light to make it easier on them.)
    10.Wedge Rotation - No Grip:
    Fast dumps, risers, warps --whatever it takes. No grips / No
    worries. Juyst make the slot as fast you can without waiting for a grip
    and go to the next point. Call the points to get the dive going faster.
    Student starts as left wing, then rotates to the pilot position, then rotates as
    right wing, then pilot again, then rotates as left wing, etc. Emphasis is on proximity
    flying with contact, where required (You can place your canopy on his hip…. but he
    keeps his legs together and away from any grip, when he rotates as wing on you, you let
    him touch your body at the hip more or less, but do not take a grip - just fly relative).
    From the pilot position, the student learns to rotate diagonally across the top skin of
    the adjacent canopy and down, taking the wing position (as in dive 4 with coaching by
    Instructor B). In the wing positions, the student is encouraged to make contact with his
    canopy end cell on the instructor’s waist area, while staying to his side of the
    centerline of the pilot.
    (make sure they can get across your top skin when they leave. Awareness of missing the
    bridle as they skim the skin is important!)
    Part Three Jumps: Relax

    Gain Smoothness and Fly with Finesse

    Pieces, Wing docking

    11.Three Stack Rotation:
    Clipping the tail, sashaying out & in. 
    Toggle hard & back with front riser & breaks --just teach the
    method you're best at to 'show' the student.

    Emphasis is placed on over-the-top rotations, staying on center
    and docking with minimal momentum.

    (teach whichever method you’re most comfortable with, but teach how to stop
    the canopy, i.e. dinking the risers after the toggles.)
    12.Wedge Rotation with Grips:
    Emphasis is placed on promptly acquiring grips, preferably with feet only,
    and maintaining the proper position relative to the other canopy. Hence the hand grip, if
    used, must be quickly obtained, so that the student can quickly return his hands to
    his toggles, enabling him to stay relative and on heading. The student is reminded that a
    legal grip can be with a hand or foot, so long as the shoulder is directly above
    the grip.
    (might be a good time to show them some part 53 stuff and get them turned-on to
    competitive flying. You can also explain the use of outside riser trim,
    inside toggle or warping when
    flying in a wing slot.)
    13.Tri-Plane Rotations:
    This exercise involves building a tri-plane. Student is pilot, Instructor A
    second, Instructor B third. Student leans forward in his harness and applies brakes to
    float up, creating a two stack with a third canopy planed (called a "One-Two")
    formation. He then releases his foot grips and rotates up, back and over the top of the
    biplane, and uses risers to get his canopy level with the shoulders of Instructor B. He
    then docks on Instructor B, and applies brakes to plane cleanly. Emphasis is placed on a
    smooth and timely transition from plane to stack, and risering to shoulder level as
    (keep them forward as they slide up to avoid the head or reserve snagging the bottom
    skin. Make certain you can observe when they release the risers to give them a real-time
    critique of stopping at shoulder level.)
    14.Two-Stack Rotation:
    Initially, the student will serve as the pilot of a three-stack. Instructor A is
    second. Instructor B docks third. After the initial formation is completed, Instructor A
    drops Instructor B. The student keeps his grip and flies his two-stack up, over, down and
    behind to dock on Instructor B. After the student docks his stack on Instructor B,
    Instructor B will then release grips and rotate to the bottom of the formation to create
    another three-stack, with the student on top as stack pilot. The student then repeats the
    two-stack rotation again. Emphasis is placed upon smoothness, acquiring proper grips, and
    good, clean riser work.
    (teach them to step on to their own feet to hold the grip on the lines, then risering
    down will not cause them to slide down the lines…)
    15.Student organizes!
    Dive ends with a Downplane, and an accuracy landing in the peas.
    (go along with anything they want. Make them responsible for dirt-dive, pilot
    communications, spotting, calling points, breakoff…everything. Stick to the 2500-foot
    breakoff rule. If they win at the accuracy – buy their jump! Explain that 15 CRW
    jumps should give them respect for the dangers… not to go out by themselves and do
    CRW with just anyone, but that they should now be able to fly safer and be more aware of
    others, etc.)

    AccViaCrw Test

    Multiple choice (check all that apply), true/false, etc.

    1. What are the three steps towards successfully surviving an

    Altitude awareness, anticipating the problem,
    wearing the proper equipment.
    Have a plan, practice it, then do it!
    Proper flying techniques, trimming the canopy,
    adjusting float
    Mental preparedness, a will to survive, fast
    2. How many categories of CRW emergencies are there?

    More than 5
    3. What are the categories of CRW emergencies?

    Stalls, spirals, unintentional end cell docking
    Wraps & entanglements
    Equipment failure, incompatible canopies, line
    Formation funneling, poor beakoff/transitioning
    4. Which type of emergency can be compared to a low speed freefall malfunction?

    Biplane with pilot chutes entangled
    Mismatched canopy stall inside formation
    Top person passes through the lines of the bottom
    5. Rules for wraps

    Bottom jumper cuts away
    Top person cuts away first
    Top person cuts away
    Bottom jumper cuts away first
    6. Rules for entanglements

    Bottom person cuts away
    Top person cuts away first
    Bottom person cuts away first
    Top person cuts away
    7. Who is usually the one that passes through the lines of the other person during an

    The person who docked last
    The person on the bottom
    The wing position
    The top person
    8. If you and another jumper are orbiting an entanglement and he is beneath you, you

    Tell him to cut away
    Be the first to cutaway
    Check altitude, then tell him to cut away
    Be the last to cut away
    9. What is the 1st thing to do if you become involved in a wrap or entanglement?

    Immediately try to get out of the situation
    Get out your hook knife
    Check your own canopy first
    10. If you cannot get any response from the person wrapped up in your canopy you

    Maintain a stable heading
    Apply light rear riser pressure
    Tell him to cut away
    Cut away
    11. The most important thing that can be done to maintain a margin of safety is to:

    Remember your altitude
    Wear the proper equipment
    Look before you turn
    Always know where the landing area is
    12. When are the two most likely times problems may occur?

    During Breakoff
    Using mismatched canopies
    During docking
    While in a asymmetrical formation
    13. What usually causes wraps or entanglements?

    Poor communication
    Improper equipment
    Mismatched canopies
    Bad docking techniques
    14. What is the safest angle to dock from?

    90 degree angle of approach from either side
    From directly below
    From above, on center
    Zero degree angle of approach from straight behind
    15. What is the most efficient angle to dock from?

    From above, on center
    45 degrees to the side of straight behind
    Zero degree angle of approach from straight behind
    90 degree angle
    16. True or False
    Docking unintentionally with an end cell is more likely to generate a wrap than docking
    with a center cell

    17. If someone is approaching you too hot you could

    Pull your knees up and hope he misses
    Spread out your arms to prevent the canopy from
    wrapping you.
    Yell at him to abort the dock
    Try to deal with it after he docks
    18. If you are in formation and someone below you gets wrapped...

    Hold on to them until they can get things sorted out.
    Yell out "Drop the bottom man"
    Call for "break it down"
    Turn the formation into the direction of the landing
    19. If you are planed on the jumper above you and he begins to get entangled in your
    lines you can...

    Pull some breaks to lighten the load on him
    Turn away slightly from the entanglement
    Tell him to drop you
    Immediately apply light front riser to retention your
    nose and help keep your canopy from spinning,
    20. As a canopy starts to wrap around your foot you should...

    Apply deep front riser to sink and get your foot out
    Immediately reach down and grip the canopy
    Stick your other foot in there too!
    Look first, then turn away from the wrap
    21. If you have just one foot wrapped 360 degrees

    Call out for more breaks from the man below
    Apply deep front riser to sink and get your foot out
    It should slide off of you on its own
    Turn away from the wrap and backwards from your
    22. If a canopy is collapsing and reinflating...

    Apply breaks to stable out the airfoil
    don’t fight it have the bottom person cut away
    Use alternating front and rear risers
    Get a good grip with gloved hands and wait it out
    23. What is the recommended breakoff altitude for CRW?

    2500 feet
    1500 feet
    Depends on the experience level
    Depends on the formation type
    24. Under what circumstances is being on top NOT the safest?

    With a mismatched canopy is approaching the formation
    When the person on top has little or no experience.
    When both sides of the formation funnel
    During turbulent wind conditions
    25. When is it preferable to spot going downwind?

    In High winds
    In lower winds
    In no wind
    In average winds

    WHY?–The DZ’s always visible, heading not as critical. 26. When is it preferable to spot short, going upwind?

    During high wind conditions
    When There are freefallers on the plane
    When there are low winds
    During multiple jump runs by the same plane

    WHY?–The DZ’s always visible, heading not as critical. 27. When piloting a canopy formation you should always know where the landing area is

    28. As your walking towards the plane you notice there are five or six groups of
    freefallers on the same load. You want to get out short and work towards the DZ since
    there is no wind. You should…

    Ask the pilot to insure all groups exit on one pass
    Change your spot to another side of the windline
    Change plans and get out last avoiding a potential
    go-around by the freefallers.
    Get out first and work towards the DZ
    29. You are in a biplane at 1500'. You notice the pilot chutes are entangled. You

    Immediately breakoff
    Try climbing back up to a stack position
    Retrim the nose of the bottom canopy
    Plan on landing the biplane
    30. You have a canopy docked on your left leg. Another canopy attempts to dock on your
    right leg however the dock is sloppy and it begins to come around. You should...

    Drop the good canopy
    Turn away from the sloppy dock
    Call for a "break it down"
    Try to keep the good canopy and salvage the dock
    31. How might you achieve greater float without drastically sacrificing forward speed?

    1 inch of rear toggles
    Pick up your knees and apply light front risers
    Warp the canopy
    Rear risers
    32. If you’re approaching a target from beneath and lose sight of the target, you

    Frontriser to the side until you can see the target
    and then setup for another approach.
    Rear riser back up to dock
    Use toggles to float
    Turn with a toggle and go setup for another approach
    33. A formation can funnel at breakoff because…

    Canopies may leave the formation in an asymmetrical
    Some formations have a tendency to funnel by
    The trim of the canopies changes as they leave it and
    the stress distributed throughout the formation changes.
    Very high winds aloft
    34. A planed formation can funnel because… -

    In a plane formation the nose of the canopy below you
    is pushing on your break lines and you may stall in as little as half brakes.
    There are too many people in formation
    No cross connectors are being used
    People that are docked are not looking where they are
    35. You open your canopy. Everything is wrong. Weather, lots of traffic, (canopies in
    the air) bad spot. You should…

    Achieve vertical separation
    Find a landing area.
    Look for hazards
    Look for alternate areas
    e Determine wind direction for landing
    36. Your canopy opens, another jumper opens his right in front of you, facing you. You

    Execute a rear riser turn away from him
    Dive down into clean air below you
    Perform a hard toggle turn to avoid him
    Call out to him to get his attention
    37. When approaching a formation after exit when should you execute your turn to setup
    your approach…

    When you are directly along side
    After you pass the side of the formation
    Before getting to the side of the formation
    Below and behind the formation

    Your ground test is over. Please anticipate being tested in the air on
    future skydives! Be safe AND prepared. And always do your very, very best!

    1. What are the three steps towards successfully surviving an

    b Have a plan, practice it, then do it! 2. How many categories of CRW emergencies are there?

    d 2 3. What are the categories of CRW emergencies?

    b Wraps & entanglements 4. Which type of emergency can be compared to a low speed freefall malfunction

    c Wraps 5. Rules for wraps

    d Bottom jumper cuts away first 6. Rules for entanglements

    b Top person cuts away first 7. Who is usually the one that passes through the lines of the other person during an

    d The top person 8. If you and another jumper are orbiting an entanglement and he is beneath you, you

    b Be the first to cutaway 9. What is the 1st thing to do if you become involved in a wrap or entanglement?

    b Communicate 10. If you cannot get any response from the person wrapped up in your canopy you

    d Cut away 11. The most important thing that can be done to maintain a margin of safety is to:

    a Remember your altitude  
    12. When are the two most likely times problems may occur?

    a During Breakoff c During docking 13. What usually causes wraps or entanglements

    d Bad docking techniques 14. What is the safest angle to dock from

    d Zero degree angle of approach from straight behind 15. What is the most efficient angle to dock from

    b 45 degrees to the side of straight behind 16. Docking unintentionally with an end cell is more likely to generate a wrap than
    docking with a center cell

    True 17. If someone is approaching you too hot you could

    b Spread out your arms to prevent the canopy from
    wrapping you. 18. If you are in formation and someone below you gets wrapped...

    a Hold on to them until they can get things sorted out. 19. If you are planed on the jumper above you and he begins to get entangled in your
    lines you can...

    d Immediately apply light front riser to retention your
    nose and help keep your canopy from spinning. 20. As a canopy starts to wrap around your foot you should...

    c Stick your other foot in there too! 21. If you have just one foot wrapped 360 degrees

    d Turn away from the wrap and backwards from your
    canopy 22. If a canopy is collapsing and reinflating...

    b don’t fight it have the bottom person cut away 23. What is the recommended breakoff altitude for CRW

    a 2500' 24. Under what circumstances is being on top NOT the safest?

    b When the person on top has little or no experience. 25. When is it preferable to spot going downwind?

    a In High winds 26. When is it preferable to spot short, going upwind?

    c When there are low winds 27. When piloting a canopy formation you should always know where the landing area is

    a True 28. As your walking towards the plane you notice there are five or six groups of
    freefallers on the same load. You want to get out short and work towards the DZ since
    there is no wind. You should…

    c Change plans and get out last avoiding a potential
    go-around by the freefallers. 29. You are in a biplane at 1500'. You notice the pilot chutes are entangled. (Or, you
    can’t see the pilot chutes…) You should...

    d Plan on landing the biplane 30. You have a canopy docked on your left leg. Another canopy attempts to dock on your
    right leg however the dock is sloppy and it begins to come around. You should...

    a Drop the good canopy 31. How might you achieve greater float without drastically sacrificing forward speed?

    d Rear risers 32. If you’re approaching a target from beneath and lose sight of the target, you

    a Frontriser to the side until you can see the target
    and then setup for another approach. 33. A formation can funnel at breakoff because…

    c The trim of the canopies changes as they leave it and
    the stress distributed throughout the formation changes. 34. A planed formation can funnel because…

    a In a plane formation the nose of the canopy below you
    is pushing on your break lines 35. You open your canopy. Everything is wrong. Weather, lots of traffic, (canopies in
    the air) bad spot. You should…

    a. Achieve vertical separation b Find a landing area.
    c Look for hazards
    d Look for alternate areas
    e Determine wind direction for landing 36. Your canopy opens, another jumper opens his right in front of you, facing you. You

    a Execute a rear riser turn away from him 37. When approaching a formation after exit when should you execute your turn to setup
    your approach…

    c Before getting to the side of the formation
    Always do your very, very best!

    THINK: Energy, Altitude, Position
    and you'll be there

    --it's 150 seconds of pure adrenaline & finesse!

    By admin, in Safety,

    Skydiving Emergencies And Procedures

    Skydiving Emergencies
    The bulk of the content from this section is republished with permission from Chapter 4 of Parachuting: The Skydiver's Handbook by Dan Poynter and Mike Turoff. Although rare, the fact of the matter is that there are a number of possible emergencies in skydiving that could either hurt or kill you. The emphasis in this section is on education. If you are uncertain about anything speak to your jumpmasters.
    On The Ground

    Briefings and Safety Considerations

    Hazard Briefings
    Alcohol and Drugs
    Health Concerns
    Scuba Diving Alert
    Some Fear is Good for You

    Airport Safety

    In The Aircraft

    Emergencies in the Aircraft

    Airplane problems

    Open parachute in the airplane

    On Exit

    Exit Emergencies

    Exit hazards-static line
    Exit hazards-AFF
    Dangling static line
    Student in tow
    Static line not hooked up
    Pulling high is dangerous

    In Freefall

    Freefall Emergencies

    Accelerated FreeFall (AFF) emergencies
    AFF: Loss of one jumpmaster
    AFF: Loss of both jumpmasters
    Five-Second Rule for loss of stability
    Loss of altitude awareness

    At Deployment

    Deployment Emergencies

    Lost handle
    Hard pull
    Pilot chute hesitation
    Pull-out v. throw-out
    Trapped pilot chute
    Pilot chute in tow

    Under Canopy

    Canopy Emergencies: Breakaway

    Jettisoning the main canopy
    Two Action System (TAS)
    The Single Operation System (S.O.S)
    Canopy transfer
    Harness shift

    Parachute Mulfunctions

    Total malfunctions
    Partial malfunctions
    Major partial malfunctions

    Bag Lock
    Violent spin
    Line overs

    Partial malfunctions that may be majors or minors

    Rips and tears
    The snivel
    Slider hang-up, at the canopy
    Slider hang-up, halfway
    Broken suspension line(s)

    Minor malfunctions

    Line twists
    Premature brake release
    Broken steering line
    Steering line(s) won’t release
    Pilot chute "under/over" problems
    End cell closures

    Combination malfunctions
    Two canopies open
    Tandem jumping malfunctions
    Large ring and ripcord handle
    Change of emergency procedures
    Breakaway training
    Emergency priorities
    Canopy collisions

    On Landing

    Landing challenges

    Dust devils
    The tree landing
    Power lines
    Water landings
    Other obstacles

    By admin, in Safety,

    ZP Canopy Landing Tips and Techniques

    Irrespective of how long you've been jumping, piloting today's high-speed canopies is not for the faint of heart. With thousands of landings on old zero performance canopies such as round 1.1s, PCs, Piglets, and Strato Stars, many of our founders are frankly fearful of fast canopies. Moreover, as canopy development continues in the present direction toward ever faster, smaller models, skydivers new and old need to be continuously educated on landing technique.
    As one who recently returned to skydiving after a lengthy layoff (13 years) I knew I needed to get better acquainted with today's high-speed wings. They were obviously different from what I had been used to. Faster ... make that "swoopier" ... and although they looked to me to be more fun, there were too many people getting hurt under them. Wanting to avoid that, I set out to discover what I needed to know that I didn't about piloting these new canopies.
    To provide some perspective, before learning these tips I'd rather have had to shoot down-wind accuracy on a round than land a small Z-Po 9-cell on a hot still day. Surprised? Remember that a landing in 110 F temperatures, say at Perris' 1,450 MSL, is like landing at 5-6,000 feet. One of the first persons I got turned onto was John LeBlanc, design engineer for Performance Designs. He explained that my old-fashioned notions about the handling characteristics of ram air wings have little relationship to designs now on the market. New high performance Z-pos are lighter and more durable, but they also demand much more attention to landing. Because what you don't know can hurt you, John tried to explain why I couldn't land a zero porosity canopy the same way as my old ram air.
    Here is my understanding of how to land today's canopies. While some of these ideas, tips, and techniques are from John LeBlanc please remember that they are all filtered by an old time skydiver: all mistakes are my own. This is advice from a canopy expert interpreted by a relic:
    Stepping up to the ground?
    On a nice sunny day, John and I watched some landings at the DZ. He used his hands and feet to show me how, having picked my landing area, it should be done. 'You simply level out,' he told me. 'Convert your forward and down approach into forward speed. Eliminate any down for now, but stay inches off the ground.'
    Inches? with a high forward speed? That seems scary; why not feet?
    Says John: "The idea that neophytes should be several feet off the ground is okay for flying super big student gear, but it's not what the goal is, and is definitely not okay on the smaller stuff! Several feet up feels worse and worse as you go smaller, whether you're a neophyte or a self-acclaimed expert. As a result , we (Performance Designs) consider it unwise to go smaller (in canopy size) until you can consistently level out with feet at ground level under your existing canopy. Going smaller won't make it any easier, but rather it becomes more difficult!"
    John compares good landing technique to getting off an escalator. "The down escalator is like the ideal descending approach, level off and landing." Escalators do offer a good canopy landing analogy. Both modes of transport demand coordinated, mindful movements at journey's end. Try visualizing a landing approach as John describes how your landing will resemble stepping off a descending escalator: "Now, think of an escalator. When it levels out, your feet are just below ground level by an inch or two. You can gently transfer your weight from the step (the harness) to the ground because you are at that level. The forward speed is no problem, because you're at ground level. You're stepping up onto the ground, rather than down to it."
    "If the escalator dumped you off even as little as a foot high, the first few steps would be tough! This is because your forward speed is still there, as it will be on any no-wind landing. (If you level out too high) you crunch down with a (higher) rate of descent. This is why leveling off several feet up for neophytes is not a good idea. They have to come down sooner or later, and when they do, it will be with a (greater) rate of descent at the time of contact. With a little canopy, that will be a bad landing because it will hurt!" I mull this over.
    There you are, storming across the turn, just above the ground. While you still have forward speed, your feet just brush the weed tops. As your speed decreases, you provide a tad more flare so as to maintain your feel of the grass. Then, just step up. Step up? Wait a minute, I protest. Easy enough for you to say that stepping out of my harness should be as simple as getting off an escalator, but if it's so easy why do so many people crash and burn? Obviously this analogy only applies to a smooth, known landing surface. Life and landing, I remind John, are both dangerous.
    Yes, he agrees, "You are wise in emphasizing that brushing the feet applies to a known, smooth landing surface." and adds: but notes that "the altitude of your body should be the same, even if you're lifting your feet to stay clear of a poor surface until touch down time."
    More importantly, John continues, "As wing loadings go over 1.1 lbs per sq. ft., this technique is a required for acceptable no-wind landings."
    In my words, if you have a 150 square foot canopy and weigh 170 pounds, and your suspended weight per square foot of canopy exceeds a ratio of 1:1, then you gotta swoop the ground to avoid eating it. Then, a good landing will allow you to cautiously stand up out of your harness, starting from where the parachute is holding you up to where your feet are supporting you. The major tactile feedback is that your weight is transferred from your leg straps to your shoe soles.
    Low wind landings and high speed dirt
    What about the special challenges of no-wind landing conditions? "You will still stand up out of your harness," says John, "but you'll do so at a fast walk to a run, depending on canopy and wing loading. " The more wing load, the faster you'll have to run.
    We watch several more landings in which many of the canopy pilots flare too high or too early. One thing hasn't changed about landing, I tell John. Landing softly requires precise timing. How do you time your flare?
    He explains that if you flare too high, you'll land from higher up with an increased rate of descent, "if its done too soon, it results in a big gain in altitude, which means that you are too high (to land softly) again! " When you flare too high and then crash in on a little canopy, you'll likely get in a few front loops. Of course, if you flare too low or not at all, no matter what size canopy you're under you'll eat much dirt and still do several front loops.
    People will laugh. Late flares are not considered good form; they tend to dirty your jumpsuit and gear. It's a good idea to avoid them, so you'll eat less dirt less often. As John adds that a good way to learn how, "is to figure it out on a bigger, more docile canopy. (less dirt eaten.)"
    A backyard swing model
    Remember the fun you had as a kid swinging in a backyard swing? You could go real high or not. You could even try to jump out at the top of the arc or lower. Or, if you had a littler kid in your lap, you'd just let the swing slow down to nearly stop and then just step out of the seat onto your feet. You do it so smoothly that there is no fear and no pain. It is satisfying. The little kid is happy but not scared. "The swing can be moving slow or fast, but if you get off at the right time, it's easy in either case." [to step out of the seat and onto your feet. No sweat, no fear. Like on a slow-moving swing, it's easier to time your touchdown under a bigger canopy], "The slow swing (big canopy) is easier to time, and the steps are slow. "
    A fast moving backyard swing is something like a landing small fast canopy notes John, "The fast swing, (like a small canopy), is harder to time and the steps are quicker. But (even fast steps) don't hurt if you step (up) onto the ground at the bottom, when the rate of descent is exactly zero." Just imagine you are stepping out of that swing seat and onto your feet. If done smoothly it's fun, even satisfying. You've just had a good landing and you know it. But "Now try goofing on the timing ... get off on the upswing; things get real rough if you're moving fast! That is just like finishing your flare too high."
    The transition from sitting in the harness to standing on the ground is subtle enough for another analogy. Thinking for a moment, he used a child's walking chair: and said something like 'I'm talking about those contraptions they put toddlers into. It's a seat with four wheels, and the kid's feet just barely touch the ground. They can paddle around and get into all sorts of trouble. Or they can quit paddling and just stand up. The difference is so smooth that they hardly notice whether it is their feet or the seat holding them up. That's what a good landing is like.' Yes, John said, "The walking chair analogy. Nice."
    Putting this to practice, I find the idea of a two-stage flare is helpful for transitioning to the horizontal. First, flare with only about 6-12 inches of toggle. This converts the ground-rush into a swoop just above the ground. At the end of the swoop, when the canopy won't stay up any longer, depress (bury) the toggles for the second part of the flare.
    After thinking about it, John added these remarks: "OK, I like the idea of a two-stage flare except for the part about burying the toggles at the end. This will make many canopies stall, and others might just quickly mush onto the ground. If your feet are at ground level, then this doesn't make much difference. You step up onto the ground just the same. But, if you haven't realized that you're a little higher than the ideal, you'll get a rude awakening when you bury the toggles. [Burying the toggles then] you drop down onto the ground with a thud."
    He also strongly endorses flare-practice, before finial approach, while still high up, "I like... practicing the flare a lot. I do it on EVERY jump. its fun!" Practicing upstairs helps because you can hear and feel what your canopy is doing without the distraction of high speed dirt coming at you.
    Keep "hands-on" canopy control
    Canopy control inputs should be smooth and fluid, not abrupt and mechanical. Whatever landing you do make, says John, "you must still keep your hands controlling the canopy, even if you have the urge to swing your hands as you step (or run). If you are unknowingly moving the toggles, the canopy will do some unwanted maneuvers! People also use their hands for balance cause some pretty wild gyrations, too!"
    However, "If you continue to fly the parachute properly when you are taking your first steps, [then] the parachute will continue to help support you during those initial steps. Again, this technique is not critical on a big canopy, but becomes more and more important as the wing loading increases."
    So, remember, parachute canopies only do what you tell them to do. They are so responsive that heretofore unnoticed hand movements will give you yaw and cause you to veer off. In other words, they're responsive enough for perfect landings every time. Or they can turn a twitch into a turn. Keep your hands in sight so you always know what they're doing.
    Smaller is not always smarter
    While today's new smaller Z-Po parachute canopies are faster, most do appear to have wider safety margins than did the squares of yesterday. However, I'm convinced that going to a smaller canopy shouldn't be an automatic goal. For some of us, consistently painless landings require lower wing loadings via bigger canopies.
    As PD's John LeBlanc puts it: "Square foot for square foot, today's canopies are generally more forgiving than those squares from years ago. But as you downsize from one size modern ram air to a smaller canopy of the same type, you give up some of that forgiveness.
    "So, make sure you've really got things well under control before you even consider going smaller. On the larger canopy, little technique problems will not affect the softness of the landing noticeably, but the same poor technique will cause problems on the next size smaller canopy."
    Pat Works, SCS-1
    Legal Disclaimer: Serous injury or death can result from applying written techniques to a high speed sport. Although the quotes are from John LeBlanc, Neither he nor Performance Designs endorse, condone, apporve, or reccomend anything herein. Parachutes are dangerous: you could kill yourself using 'em.
    Copyright 1994 by Pat Works

    RWu Parachuting Publications

    1656 Beechwood Ave. Fullerton CA. 92635

    (714) 990-0369

    FAX 529-4769

    By admin, in Safety,

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