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Wingsuit Instructor/Coach Rating Input Needed.

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You don't have to actually hit the tail to have a problem, or have an indication that better, or more consistant, training is needed.



The only tail strike I ever witnessed was on an RW big way, with someone coming off the step.

Lets lobby for an instructor rating for big ways! Clearly we need more training for RW rear floaters.
...

The only sure way to survive a canopy collision is not to have one.

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Believe me brother I feel you. Ironically wingsuits is my discipline I have chosen one reason being I can get rid of airplanes and regulation and fly in the mountains alone away from this type of control/manipulatin.



You are fooling yourself. There isn't a real base jumper that does not test new wingsuits or other gear out of planes before they take it to the mountains. You can't realistically " run to the hills".
BASE pouch deployments are banned at the winsuit intructor creator's home dropzone. Something to think about if you want to work on muscle memory before a trip to a big wall.


well lucky me I have just made friends with a local guy (old guy) who is a hot air balloon pilot!!!! B|

now I dont even need a skydiving rig for long :)

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Believe me brother I feel you. Ironically wingsuits is my discipline I have chosen one reason being I can get rid of airplanes and regulation and fly in the mountains alone away from this type of control/manipulatin.



You are fooling yourself. There isn't a real base jumper that does not test new wingsuits or other gear out of planes before they take it to the mountains. You can't realistically " run to the hills".
BASE pouch deployments are banned at the winsuit intructor creator's home dropzone. Something to think about if you want to work on muscle memory before a trip to a big wall.


well lucky me I have just made friends with a local guy (old guy) who is a hot air balloon pilot!!!! B|

now I dont even need a skydiving rig for long :)



What makes you believe that hot air balloons are not covered by the FARs?
...

The only sure way to survive a canopy collision is not to have one.

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just stumbled upon an interesting look at wings vs. tail... perhaps a bit of good food for thought for all.

at an unnamed dropzone in a galaxy far far away, there was a gopro on the wing. neat idea, right? geeking the camera clearly becomes the priority (you know, safety third...)

these guys didn't die, so clearly it must've been okay, right?

Here's what bugs me the most. It's the next thing that may happen...

noob sees this picture. noob thinks "omg soooo cool, I wanna do that when I grow up". noob grabs wingsuit (perhaps even a bigger size than they should be handling, it wouldn't be the first time that's happened).
noob is now focused on geeking that gopro, makes sure to jump up a bit to get that nice badass face in full frame.

next thing you know, that badass looking broken neck is in the frame, too...

[edited cause I can't spell worth shit]

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This is a good example of people that know better doing stupid things.

Many skydivers, myself included have the knowledge to do things safely but sometimes screw up the priority in the heat of the moment. I think if most people are honest they will admit they have had one of these moments.

I know personally two solid, mature, heads up, conservative and knowledgeable skydivers that died by doing exactly what they had told others not to do. I suspect some of you know more than two.

It is so easy to take a picture out of context. I know this jumper and I know the jump that this photo was taken on. He knew better at the time and the first thing he said to me after this jump was "holy shit I thought I was going to hit the tail". He knew better but he still screwed up, luckily he didn't die this time. I had jumped with him before and after this incident and he knows not to open his wings on exit and I have seen him perform a safe exit.

What I am trying to say is all the education and enforcement in the world won't stop people doing a few dumb things now and again, the history of this sport shows that to be true.

EDIT: Turns out this jump is NOT the one I was aware of. I know the same thing happened somewhere else.....maybe we should stop mounting gopro's on wings! :-)
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Then by that line, why do we need AFF?
A simple FJC should suffice.
Canopy class? Why bother, we have youtube.


Too much education and information is never a bad thing.
It just gets old watching people die as they run out of knowledge and experience in a new area. Then throw in a stack of crap 'instructors' simply looking to sell a suit and some coach jumps.

Education is always a good thing. Darwinian Law assures it.

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Then by that line, why do we need AFF?
A simple FJC should suffice.
Canopy class? Why bother, we have youtube.


Too much education and information is never a bad thing.
It just gets old watching people die as they run out of knowledge and experience in a new area. Then throw in a stack of crap 'instructors' simply looking to sell a suit and some coach jumps.

Education is always a good thing. Darwinian Law assures it.



I don't think a comparison to AFF is fair. That is to take someone without any knowledge of skydiving and introduce them to everything from freefall, aircraft, emergency, gear, patterns, etc.

A wingsuit certainly adds something else to the mix but 80% of the skydive remains the same. The 200 skydive limit helps protect the majority making this step too soon. We all know there are exceptions to this and some people are not ready even with 4000 skydives but we don't want to treat everyone as an exception do we?

I am trying to say with my post is that even clued in skydivers screw up and die....or in this case get caught on camera. If that is the evidence being presented in FAVOR of additional and mandatory education then I would also like to present all of the exits by the majority of wingsuiters that do not come close to the tail...I guess these are the "near misses".

Again I think a canopy class is also a terrible example. The chances of dying in a botched landing are far greater than giving back flying a go in a wingsuit. A beter comparison is CRW where you need to negotiate with the pilot, not put you PC over the tail, fly through many miles of airspace, pack your gear differently, deal with wraps. All of this is to be ceased above 2000ft (I think). I wonder if an instructor rating was ever discussed for CRW? Maybe it was.
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I don't think a comparison to AFF is fair.



True, as percentage wise there have been less fatal AFF accidents the last few years than there have been wingsuit accidents with noobs. I say lets get rid of AFF and go with 'I know a guy' as well:P
JC
FlyLikeBrick
I'm an Athlete?

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Come and present this to the USPA then... if you are a full time USPA member that is. If you are not stick to your own governing body issues please.

Just because Robi's lap dog is manufacturing scare tactics doesn't mean everybody should. This won't effect Robi he does not jump here, so why should he care?

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That looks like a twin otter, Yes? Other than exiting not fully closed and in one case unstable neither of those guys are in danger of stricking anything unless jump run was faster than usual. So your point is??? Unstable exits? You want to ban go-pros? Ban geeks?

Throw me a bone.

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That looks like a twin otter, Yes? Other than exiting not fully closed and in one case unstable neither of those guys are in danger of stricking anything unless jump run was faster than usual. So your point is??? Unstable exits? You want to ban go-pros? Ban geeks?

Throw me a bone.



Steve Harrington died presumably being fully open out of a Twin Otter, in a suit smaller and less pressurized than a couple of the suits seen in these pix.

Are you suggesting that an Otter is exempt from tailstrikes unless it's faster than usual?

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That looks like a twin otter, Yes? Other than exiting not fully closed and in one case unstable neither of those guys are in danger of stricking anything unless jump run was faster than usual.



Jump run is often faster than usual. And often slower than usual. These things vary. Is a jumper expected to know by sight and sound how fast the plane is moving?

Disregarding that, it is fairly easy to hit a tail even at "normal" jumprun speeds.
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Currently I Try to be very aware of aircraft speed. Mostly because of the canopy I fly but when I do fly wingsuits I need to judge this for any outside exits. Steves jump run was reported to be exceptionally fast by close mutual friends who exited in his 4 way group.

As for these photos being used to prove bad and unstable exits happen Ok. They also show plenty of clearance from the tail. I've personally been closer on a tracking jump from the camera step.

If these shots were out of a Pac or caravan, granted they would have more hysteria potential

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That looks like a twin otter, Yes? Other than exiting not fully closed and in one case unstable neither of those guys are in danger of stricking anything unless jump run was faster than usual. So your point is??? Unstable exits? You want to ban go-pros? Ban geeks?

Throw me a bone.



Steve Harrington died presumably being fully open out of a Twin Otter, in a suit smaller and less pressurized than a couple of the suits seen in these pix.

Are you suggesting that an Otter is exempt from tailstrikes unless it's faster than usual?




It is sad to say but this single tail strike fatality is a bad example of how an instructor rating would help because Steve would surely have been at the top of the list of qualified instructors.

I don't know of another US tail strike fatality, is there one? I think this one between experience and the fact that it was an Otter was a shock to everyone. It is a good example of how this sport can take the sensible and the best.
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Which is why proper instruction is so crucially important.
In wingsuiting, we're jumping different gear with a significant increase in range of performance.
Teaching basic skills into muscle memory is critical.
If it's so easy for an experienced wingsuit jumper to pop into an aircraft tail, somebody should be teaching the fucking new guy not to do that.

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Which is why proper instruction is so crucially important.
In wingsuiting, we're jumping different gear with a significant increase in range of performance.
Teaching basic skills into muscle memory is critical.
If it's so easy for an experienced wingsuit jumper to pop into an aircraft tail, somebody should be teaching the fucking new guy not to do that.



I have over 80 surveys from new renters and almost none fail to identify that keeping your wings closed on exit is critical. How many actually nail it perfectly every time is a different issue. Steve is an example of that, you can't monitor everyone on every jump, especially as there is nothing at all you can do as it is happening.

Should people know to keep their wings closed on exit? Absolutely, no argument. Will an instructor rating prevent Wingsuit tail strikes? No chance.
Summer Rental special, 5 weeks for the price of 4! That is $160 a month.

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That looks like a twin otter, Yes? Other than exiting not fully closed and in one case unstable neither of those guys are in danger of stricking anything unless jump run was faster than usual. So your point is??? Unstable exits? You want to ban go-pros? Ban geeks?

Throw me a bone.



Steve Harrington died presumably being fully open out of a Twin Otter, in a suit smaller and less pressurized than a couple of the suits seen in these pix.

Are you suggesting that an Otter is exempt from tailstrikes unless it's faster than usual?



Look... I'm one of the biggest fans of conservative, safe wingsuiting... But...

There are lots and lots of reasons to support a wingsuit rating. You could decide that we don't have enough uniformity in the way we teach, or that there's enough variation amongst the guys who teach that we ought to settle on a standard (and that standard could come from the USPA). But here's what isn't a good argument:

Tail strikes like Steve Harrington and "people up-sizing suits too fast" are gonna kill us all and ZOMG all the dropzones are gonna ban us.

Steve Harrington was a friend of mine. Steve Harrington knew that tail strikes would kill. He was the first - and thankfully so far only - wingsuiter who has died as a result of a tail strike. But he knew all about tail strikes and what they would do. How do I know that? Because he bitched, in person and loudly, at me for opening my wings too fast out the plane. Also, because a couple of people (Lurch, Shorb, and there were no doubt others...) told him to stop popping out the door so fast - that he'd hit the tail. He knew the risks. He disregarded them (consciously or unconsciously, I don't know). He paid the price as a result. Steve taught (to my memory) dozens of first flight courses, including part of mine. Would he have not died if only he'd completed a USPA-mandated first flight course? I find that argument specious.

Similar is the "fear of a big suit planet". Big suits are going to kill if we aren't careful; I have been saying that forever. Someone is, sooner or later, going to overestimate their "mad skills" and fuck up at pull time, or go into a terminal flat spin, or hit a tandem, or something equally horrible. It's a matter of time. But again, "big suit creep" isn't something a first flight course is going to fix, any more than "small canopy downsizing" is something AFF fixed. We can warn all we want to in one jump (or ten) not to upsize suits too fast. But that's going to happen - the people who reach for those tools will reach for them, good advice be damned...

Ask any new skydiver - they've all heard that downsizing (canopies) is risky. Some run to it anyway because they think they got the chops. Some realize it's full of risks and choose to play it safe. I don't think there's really any ignorance of risk, but a willingness to assume the risk anyway, because of self-perceived "mad skillz" or whatever... Thankfully, concerned, smart skydivers are willing to say to those who want to push the edge, "Hey, don't be retarded, don't fly that Velo at 62 jumps..." and they aren't - at least not as many as a few years ago...

That's at least what's needed in wingsuiting.

I supported the originally proposed USPA wingsuit rating. In fact, if you want to read my work product and thoughts on the matter, flip through SIM 6-9: I wrote the first draft of that, but others made it much smarter and better. To be clear, that work stood upon the shoulders of - or at least tried to formalize the work of - giants like Scott Campos and Chuck Blue. I personally added nothing. It was further refined, modified, and improved by the folks in the working group - but that working group consisted of some of the best, most experienced, qualified wingsuit instructors at the time. (Well, and me; every working group needs a scribe.) It was a pretty good project. The USPA tabled it, but for good reason: the wingsuiting community didn't back it. As I look back on it, good on USPA for not leaping to solutions.

But life isn't static. Others - like DSE - have expanded and improved upon those original concepts to an amazing degree; I've reviewed Spot's improvements and they're pretty damn good, if not "best in industry". And I'm sure others have their own teaching skills and approaches which could improve upon the "standard approach" set forth in the SIM greatly.

But if we're going to change rules, let's do it for the right reason. It shouldn't be driven by FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt) about what DZOs will do it we don't get our act in gear - that's something that is addressed with better educating DZOs that we can safely wingsuit out of any aircraft, in any traffic pattern. Popping out the door kills? So do low turns. We can teach to solve that problem, at least for the most part. Big suits kill? So does poor canopy control; we can teach to solve that, too.

I've observed some very good "un-rated" wingsuit instruction. I've also observed lackluster instruction provided by guys who have a "brand name" instructor ticket. Would it be amazing if we could get uniformity amongst wingsuit instruction? Absolutely. I'm not sure how we get there, though, without going to a "mandatory" instructor/coach arrangement that a lot of people think is overkill. It's a damn tricky situation.

But whatever we decide to do, let's drive it off of the long term growth of the sport we love, with an eye toward the safety of the folks who start wingsuiting after us...

That's all I got to say on the subject.
Skwrl Productions - Wingsuit Photography

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I would add to your well thought out post.
Creating a USPA wingsuit instructor rating will not get rid of terrible instructors. you can find examples of great and terrible instrutors who hold USPA AFF ratings and tandem ratings, so the rating doesn't fix the problem of good and bad instructors.
To fix the problem, we the current and future wingsuiters have to want to learn, continue to learn and pass on the knowledge. We have to be willing to stand up when a problem is encountered. We have to be willing to work with the DZO's and S&TA's to educate them and get their assistance in correcting problems that we can't correct on our own.
Guess what, we will still have to do all of that after there is a USPA wingsuit instructor rating.

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Creating a USPA wingsuit instructor rating will not get rid of terrible instructors. you can find examples of great and terrible instrutors who hold USPA AFF ratings and tandem ratings, so the rating doesn't fix the problem of good and bad instructors.



Just because a regulation doesn't make the world perfect, doesn't mean it isn't worth enacting. No proponents of regulation are claiming it will make "all cases of bad instruction go away." I think the obvious intent is that it will improve on the current situation, not make it 110% perfect.

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Guess what, we will still have to do all of that after there is a USPA wingsuit instructor rating.



I also don't think any of the proponents have suggested that regulation will allow us to throw our hands in the air and stop the hard work of policing ourselves at our own DZ's when we see stupid shit happening. Of course we will still do that. As I mentioned in an earlier post, people on the "against regulation" side of the fence keep acting like we have to choose between regulation and self-policing. That is simply not true. The two can co-exist.
www.WingsuitPhotos.com

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That looks like a twin otter, Yes? Other than exiting not fully closed and in one case unstable neither of those guys are in danger of stricking anything unless jump run was faster than usual. So your point is??? Unstable exits? You want to ban go-pros? Ban geeks?

Throw me a bone.

ever seen the pictures of that guy flying OVER a Twotter tail ?
scissors beat paper, paper beat rock, rock beat wingsuit - KarlM

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