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dhracer33

TF incident

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Nick

Firstly – my best wishes to Jason, may he make a full and speedy recovery.

Now – what can we learn from this? From what is posted, general consensus, experience and logic, we have the following:

1 – tailwinds are bad for rollovers
2 – exposed body armour and/or pads present significant snag hazards and should be covered to prevent snags
3 – exit timing on multi-ways can be critical

These are three things I think we can all agree on.

Then there are some points that you disagree on and I do not understand why.

For the benefit of people like myself, please explain the logic of not releasing the PCs if the exit order is wrong?

Provided you did not stand shoulder to shoulder, I cannot see how releasing the PC in case the other jumper gets higher than you is bad. It seems like the most logical and safe thing to do.

When Tom and Maggot and I did that very same jump, Tom exited late and Maggot did not throw his PC, resulting in a downward extraction for Tom and a really nasty SD/SO opening that gave him a bloody nose despite wearing a full-face helmet. Had Maggot released Tom’s PC when he saw Tom above his level, Tom would’ve fallen past his PC and then had a normal deployment, below Maggot’s level and likely still above me as I was slider up. Even if he ended up on level with me, we had some horizontal separation.

I would really like to know your reasoning on this.

Also why you thought that it would all be OK for everyone else even if you hit your canopy?? WTF?? If you had gotten the exit timing perfect and you got wrapped in your canopy when you hit, it is possible that it could stay collapsed enough that you might not have enough extra drag over the packed jumpers to provide a safe freefall PCA. If you were perfectly wrapped I guess it is even possible that holding on to the PCs could result in a triple fatality on this type of jump from this particular object.

I realize there are two (or more) sides to every story, but your own account here raises these questions.

Did anyone say a rollover in tailwind is a bad idea? Did you know that by using a tailgate, the primary stow with 2 wraps and wrapping the tail of the canopy around everything but the nose you will greatly reduce the canopy’s drag and it will not get blown in front of you much, even in higher winds? Did anyone there say the conditions were not good for the jump you had planned? Did anyone there point out to Jason that exposed body armour has multiple snag points?

I jump full Dainese body armour on some jumps and even though the suit is very hot, I always wear long pants and a long sleeves over it a bare minimum. I sweat like a pig then, but I have no snag points.

I’m glad everyone involved is still alive, but it is frustrating that it seems like all the knowledge needed to avoid this incident was out there and just ignored…

I always have and always will share what I know, or have heard, with people when I see them do things I believe to be adding unnecessary risk, like jumping exposed armour or doing rollovers in tailwinds.

People may keep thinking I’m an asshole for doing that, but hopefully now some of them will reconsider my motivation and think about why some things are bad ideas.

Cya

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Hey man
Thanks for posting your point of weiv.

We all know that things can turn nasty in this sport,we all agree to thouse facts as we jump.

Learning from mistakes are the only way to prevent them happening again and even then we will still fu#k up.

All my support to thouse involved i hope Jason will make a full recovery in as short time as posible.

Nick if you need a slot taken on a load next time im arround ill be happy to take that slot,no worryes.:)

Stay safe
Stefan Faber

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I'd really like to keep this a discussion of the mechanics of the accident. No one is pointing fingers at you, aside from yourself. I don't see anyone trying to crucify anyone else. Would it be ok if we talk about the accident, what happened, and how others can avoid such problems in the future, but without trying to assign blame or take things personally?



Quote

Despite the exit Jason’s Velcro rig was part of the problem.



Can you explain what you see as the difference between a pin and velcro rig in this situation? Greater pull force required to open the velcro rig contributed to the barrel roll?


Quote

...releasing the PCs is as wrong as it gets...



I know that you said you weren't willing to explain this, but I'd really appreciate if you would. Releasing the PC's when low gives the best chance to maintain the deployment sequence of the parachute. Holding onto the PC pulls the canopy down under the jumper. In the best case, if the PC is released the moment the PC holder realizes he will go low, he ought to be able to let go of it before he is too far below the packed jumper, with the PC passing between them and deploying the canopy. While there is some entanglement potential there, it ought to be relatively minimal, and in any case better than the problems created by upside-down inflation.

Thanks in advance for your willingness to educate me.
-- Tom Aiello

Tom@SnakeRiverBASE.com
SnakeRiverBASE.com

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Greater pull force required to open the velcro rig contributed to the barrel roll?


i has to agree whith Nick you will have a greater pull force on a velcro pulled the way it aint meant compared to a pin rig at the same place. about the same as in old days it were dangerus to go head down whith a velcro rig if it wasnt modifyed corectly.

just try your toogles if you try pulling them straight down close to the risers then try pull out and down,im sure the last will be more easy.

if that has contributed in this incedent i cant tell as i didnt see the jump,nor am i sure i would be abel to tell from video. but i would agree that maintained velcro pulled to a wrong side will be more dificult to pull than regular velcro,and even by primed velcro i´d say that i usaly (slider off jumps) has less force required to pop my harness open than a velcrorig.

Stay safe
Stefan Faber

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Yes, shear force on velcro is worse when pulled straight down on a toggle, but a toggle is built different then the shrivel flap on a velcro rig. They're called "shrivel flaps" for a reason. They release the same no matter which direction they are pulled. . The issue of higher shear forces is the reason they are made as they are. I've got 3 velcro rigs and I can't tell any difference in force no matter which direction I pull the bridle. The simple fact is it takes a higher force to open velcro rigs, which may be the reason it pulled him over, not the fact that the velcro was somehow being "sheared" Of course this is only my opinion, and it may not be right as far as i know but it seems to be:)



May we live long and die out

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My thoughts on the velcro vs pin and the barrel roll are that the issue should never come into play. Nick is saying that it is better to have an open container and your canopy being extracted underneath you, so long as you remain stable. I disagree. In this case there were only two things that could have stopped the chain of events. 1. Release the PCs as soon as there is tension on the bridles (when you are under the jumpers you are supposed to PCA). I would rather get hit in the face with my PC than my out of sequnece deploying canopy. 2. Hold onto the PCs for dear life, and I mean don't release the PC's until they are literally pulled from your hand. This could have tensioned the lines and would have given a better chance at full or at least partial deployment and inflation.

I know that this was an accident, and that no one wanted anyone to get hurt. However, there is a point at which giddyness to perform unusual and highly technical jumps in unsuitable conditions becomes foolish and reckless.

These very unusal waterfall jumps requires dead on timing and precision. Doing them with friends you have made tons of jumps with and with whom you all know each others exit counts and exit styles is still dangerous. Performing these jumps with people you hardly know and with whom you have minimal experience with seems exceptionally risky. As with any jump, if you don't have a plan for every possible outcome, when the shit goes down you may not react in a way that will improve the situation, and may make it worse.

I have no experience with these types of jumps. I have been invited on them, but they seem too risky for me, something about bridles all over and other people holding my PC just isn't right. If I did, I probably would have said something before the exit, and in retrospect I wish I had courage to say that the whole thing seemed fucked from the line up with the tailwind.

One last thing. As far as I am concerned, Jason saved his own life. Not just in the fact that he had a spine protector, but Jason knew that he was going in and that he had no options to prvent it. From watching his entire streamer and impact, he prepared for the impact and had his legs tightly together and his arms locked in preparation for the PLF of his life. My hat is off to someone with the ability keep his wits about him in the most dire of situations. I look forward to seeing the Cooper's again and wish Jason the speediest of recovery.

Cya

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Nick's story about what happened is pretty much right on! Releasing the PC's prematurely gives you the normal snivel problem you would have had if you were PCA'ing them from the other side of the rail on the bridge. If you recognized you were below them, remember Nick is upside down in the middle of a rollover in less than optimal winds concentrating on not releasing the PC' early, there would be the fear of entangling them in their own bridles and killing them both.

As it was, and Nick can comment on this, Nick rolled over, felt the PC's pop from his hand, and started looking for other canopies to avoid a collision. It was after that that the problem became apparent. I had a 90 right and was dealing with the not hitting the rocks when I heard Nick yell. When I turned Jason was in the water. I know the other 4 of us feared the worst and just headed to the ground as quickly and safely as possible.

The Velcro rig did cause part of the problem. If you notice in the photos Michael's canopy is out of the container and being pulled off his back towards the inside. Jason's rig stayed closed until he was inverted and the force of Nick's pull was away from his back instead of to the side. At that point the canopy started coming out under Jason's right arm and Nick is still holding the PC. When Nick released the PC it came up the left side of Jason's body entangling with the still unopened main and there it stayed until impact. In hindsight, if Nick would have held the PC longer and given the canopy a chance to catch more air the much larger drag of the main would probably have pulled the PC to the right side of Jason's body instead. In this particular instance, if Nick would have released the PC while Jason was on his side the force of the PC would have righted Jason's roll and extracted the main normally, but I hope you can see that the probability of that result is not necessarily the highest.

Jason got very lucky and is doing incredibly well. The only real issue I see that we overlooked in our planning was the consideration of possible vertical separation between the exits of Nick and the twins. After discussing the details of this jump it is clear we should have still had Jason and Michael exit a little early. Too early however would have pulled Nick into his canopy and we would have had a different situation to deal with.

We discussed this jump in detail. We went over the exit timing multiple times on the ground. They had tried the 3-way portion of this jump previously and were successful. All we were adding were the two outside tardovers. Due to the off heading characteristics of a tardover we had about 6 canopy width of separation between Vince and I along with the expected vertical separation.

Like Nick said, this wasn't something we decided to do as we were walking onto the bridge and saw Jason and Michael with packed rigs. There was a lot of thought and planning that went into it and we still overlooked an important detail. We did not realize how critical the timing could or would become. "The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry"


*****
While writing this I received a call from Michael and he said Jason is doing very well. He is off the ventilator and breathing on his own. He still has a long way to go, but it looks like he will have a complete recovery. Keep up the good vibes.
*****

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Tony

No-one is saying you guys did not think about the jump.

Some people are saying the groups' analysis of the possible failure modes of the jump was wrong.

The exit timing (and style) is critcial on that particular jump.

If for whatever reason the PC-holder gets below the level of the PCA-ee(s), he/she has to release the PCs. It turns the PCA-ee(s) jump into a normal freefall with a downward and sideways PC placement and that works just fine given altitude (which this bridge has enough of).

The PC-holder HAS to have the awareness of his level relative to the PCA-ee(s) during the whole waterfall, regardless of his body position.

Being upside down in a rollover is no excuse for not using your peripheral vision.

I do not see how releasing their PCs early could have resulted in an increased entanglement risk for them.

How far was Nick from Jason? It seems that he pulled him right around by the bridle, which suggest Nick was WAY below Jason, or he was a little below and far off to the side.

Between 3 very smart guys (by all accounts) they should have been able to see that the right thing to do when the PC-holder is below the PCA-ee(s) is to release the PC.

It should also have been obvious that the PCA-ee(s) leaving early is the safest option. At the very extreme of leaving early, it turns the jump into a normal PCA from the bridge.

I hope people will think about this now and understand the required exit timing on this jump.

Also what is required of the PC-holder.

I wish Jason a speedy recovery (again) and I hope Nick can forgive himself for what happened.


Here is what I really hope everyone learns from this:

Please do not do any jumps if you do not truly understand the mechanics and dynamics of them.

Please do not do these jumps in sub-optimal weather conditions.

Please do not leave snag points from padding (or anything else) exposed. Cover them up. This includes the loose tail of this type of sunglass-cord. This includes lace hooks on boots too, many jumpers still jump in boots with lace hooks.


this bit worries me the most:

Quote

The only real issue I see that we overlooked in our planning was the consideration of possible vertical separation between the exits of Nick and the twins.



It's the MOST important issue on this jump!

Any number of jumpers would have told you that if you asked them.

I say shame on everyone who saw them set up and did not point out that a tailwind is BAD for rollovers and that exposed body armour has snag points.

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The only real issue I see that we overlooked in our planning was the consideration of possible vertical separation between the exits of Nick and the twins.



no concerns about snag points?
really?

9 ft bridles?
each twin might be 10 ft away from Nick to keep the containers closed. Nick's canopy is dangling below. unless everyone can maintain their relative position, there will be nylon and lines everywhere.

and no one considered snag points?

I must be missing something...
I'm confused.

heal fast Jason!
DON'T PANIC
The lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.
sloppy habits -> sloppy jumps -> injury or worse

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The timing did not really come up as a concern because it had been done before and worked. I heard a comment regarding Nick leaving a little early on that jump and so we just decided it was critical to leave together. Nick would roll over before bridle stretch and the extraction of canopies would happen below him. The horizontal separation between Nick, Michael, and Jason was minimized, about a shoulder width from my angle probably less from reviewing stills, to allow slack in the bridle which bystanders were helping to manage. So it would have been a mistake on Nick’s part to release the PC’s. It was not until he had been pulled laterally away from Jason this technique would have helped. When Nick exited he dove down over his canopy to decrease the chance of entanglement and this combined with Jason and Michael's heads up exit caused the unplanned separation.

Maybe we should have called it off when Nick was wrestling his canopy, but I was on the outside in a relatively safe position and felt that decision was his, Jason's, and Michael's to make. When the count started I got ready to jump and deal with my issues.

Regarding snag issues I have a very different viewpoint than even Nick. Jason and Michael have been jumping this armor for some time. Michael was wearing it at the Turkey Boogie this year. Apparently, they did not consider the snag potential a real risk. In this accident I do not believe the problem had anything to do with a hangup on the armor. I will do a more thorough review and correct myself if I’m wrong. From my review the canopy comes out of the container on Jason’s right side while on his back. Simultaneously, Nick releases the PC which comes up Jason’s left side. The PC comes into contact with the Main canopy and wraps around it or the lines. Jason is now tied up in a sort of reverse horseshoe with the lines across his back and nothing else to do that would help in the time remaining.

Nick’s opinion is based on needing to cut the multi off Jason’s right arm (I believe) to free him from the canopy. This however could have resulted from Jason trying to free himself, impact, or movement trying to get him out of the water enough to breathe. I do not remember how tight the lines from the multi were, but it one of the elbow pads was pulled partially loose. Again, this could have happened on impact.

I’m not trying to dodge a bullet here or protect my friend’s from the blame game. I’m just stating what we have determined through the course of our examination. We were all pretty shook up at the time and on perceptions may have been distorted. It is only through video and stills we have gotten as far as we have.

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Saying that. A Shrivel Flaps shear on container opening. Contributes to Pulling a jumpers body weight off to a Barrel Roll.
Makes about as much sense as saying.
A Shrivel Flaps pull is so great that it can pull a jumpers self made. Bad Body Position and Off-Axis Roll. back into a Good body Pull Position at container opening before Canopy extraction.
.

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The 3 jumpers had made this jump successfully (although not ideally) on 2 previous occasions during the last 2 days.

__________________________________________________
i'm curious to know if there was any post dive review of these "less than ideal" jumps by the people involved and if any corrective action was considered or implemented.

be safe
heal quickly

kleggo

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Hey all,

Thanks to everyone who's been sending good vibes Jason's way. It helps.

The mood at the hospital has been really upbeat. Jason's doing well, and the chances look very good for a full recovery. He'll be in the ICU at least one more day, but should be out of there soon. He's been up and walking a bit, although the few tubes and hoses which are still attached limit how far he can go. Still, the progress he's made over the last few days has been phenomenal.

The technical discussion has been pretty well covered here, I think. Still, I'd like to add my own viewpoint to the mix anyway. I think if we look too closely at stills and video, quite often we wind up isolating factors which are much too small and not unique to the particular jump, so I'm going to try to keep things pretty broad.

We had done the jump with the centre three on one previous occasion. That time I had experienced some instability as a result of exit timing issues, but things had worked out reasonably well anyway. We reviewed the video afterward, which confirmed the timing problems. When we decided to do the jump a second time (to clean it up), we went over the exit timing quite thoroughly. What we did not take into account was the difference in momentum of the jumpers coming off the bridge. The two outer jumpers were going up and out, and the centre was going down and out.

Things were a bit hurried at the exit point, but not enough to set off major alarms in my head. I did ask myself a number of times, "Is there anything about this situation which you are missing because of the hurry?" I still think the answer is, "No." The factors which I believe caused this incident were built into the jump, and did not result from conditions at the exit point. At the time we jumped, I believe the conditions were acceptable.

Immediately following our exit, I noticed a small amount of separation building. I received only a small input from the bridle tension because the pins released relatively easily, but the Velcro on Jason's rig did not release so easily, and tension on the bridle put him into a barrel roll. Jason rolled through the lines of his extracting canopy, and it seems also that when his pilot chute came back up to the canopy, it managed to choke the canopy off completely.

Although the lines of the canopy likely snagged on Jason's armour, I don't think the exposed armour was a major contributing factor. A light shirt over armour will prevent lines brushing by from snagging, but a line wrapped around an arm with tension will lock onto a bare elbow.

Reports from several others who saw the jump confirm my impression that Jason fought with the canopy as long as he could, and then when he realized impact was imminent, he made a quick adjustment to land on his back.

Tom has suggested letting go of the pilot chutes as a possible "out" for jumps like this. I've talked with Tom in person a bit about this, and agree it is a good thing to have in mind. However, I think it would be dangerous to give the impression that it's a good out. It is very important to practice the exit many times in such a way that you can guarantee the three jumpers have not just the same exit timing, but also the same momentum when leaving the exit point.

Thanks again to everyone who has expressed their well wishes. Jason has used 12 units of blood in the course of his treatment, which has made us particularly aware of the importance of blood donations. If you are able, please donate.

Michael

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Talking to Michael we did come to the conclusion that leaving not just with the same timing but with the same momentum is the most critical part of the jump however it is not that easy if not impossible at all.

We did fix the timing issue but IMO the momentum issue is un-fixable on this jump. The center jumper has to leave with a totally different launch than the side jumpers; there is no other way around it. The side jumpers cannot leave heads low and the center jumper cannot leave heads high. Having the side pieces to leave a moment earlier to ensure a proper vertical separation can have its ill consequences as well.

I believe this jump has some doomed intrinsic properties that NOBODY has thought before. The fact that it worked for me and others in the past, only acted to dull out possible tragic consequences.

Michael is 100% correct in stating that the causes of the incident were built and hidden into the jump not by the performance of it.

This is not a safe jump to be repeated by anybody and again the fact that it worked in the past does not mean a thing, really.

However there could be variations to the theme to ensure an almost equal launch-momentum. I am not suggesting anybody to perform similar jumps but nonetheless we must educate each other.

The center jumper could perform a float-drop-under slider up. With this launch all three jumpers could leave with the same momentum leaping straight down.

Another alternative is the jump we had in mind to begin with: center jumper kiting-under. This could ensure the three to jump with the same momentum. However this is an even more highly technical and also "dynamical" jump. It is a more dynamic jump because a discrete count cannot be given. The piece has to leave at the same time when the center jumper knows the canopy has a good position for an on-heading opening and this could take a while or just be ready as soon as the canopy is released.

I am still in disagreement about releasing the PCs prematurely. IMO an “anchor” in the sky is a better alternative than a PC wrapped around an arm or a leg despite the outcome of this particular jump. I could be wrong about it but I cannot see any advantages in releasing the PCs and I thought about this a lot.

In the end, I discourage anyone to repeat such jump despite the experience level and/or previous successful attempts.
Memento Audere Semper

903

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I think that this kind of post jump analysis is critical in not repeating these kind of outcomes. Furthermore, these kinds of jumps have proliferated in the last year, two at tops, and very few people have been doing them. They are HIGHLY experimental and EXTREMELY risky propositions. I hope that anyone consiering anything other than a solo jump of any kind will take this post jump anaylsis and apply it to what they are considering. Your life depends on it.

Thank you for posting this as I believe it will definitely help prevent future problems. The quote below is as honest and forthright as anything posted to this forum after an incident.

"In the end, I discourage anyone to repeat such jump despite the experience level and/or previous successful attempts."

I hope your advice is heeded.

Cya

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This is not a safe jump to be repeated by anybody and again the fact that it worked in the past does not mean a thing, really.



Quote


In the end, I discourage anyone to repeat such jump despite the experience level and/or previous successful attempts.



Quote

I hope one day the Coopers and I will re-perform the same jump with a better outcome.

I have met some incredible human beings on this trip and also got to know the true nature of some not-so-incredible ones who all they care is their super-inflated egos.



Quote

I for one would give everything I have to be in Jason’s position, there is no doubt in my mind. I sustained injuries in the past almost as severe as Jason’s and I know I can tough them out



So what are you saying ? You wouldn't recommend the jump to anyone else, BUT as you're so special and tough (taking a bullet for your buddy) you'll try it again someday despite the fact that in your opinion the jump is inherently flawed and that is why your friend nearly died.

Super-inflated-ego is about right Nick.

Public self flagellation (Oprah Winfrey style) 10 out of 10

Genuine introspection 2 out of 10 (must try harder).

ian

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When I wrote the first post I did not have all the facts in hand and I truly thought I must have screwed up something during the jump.

Reviewing all the facts, it is now clear at least to me that there is an intrinsic problem with this jump no matter how it is performed.

No, I won't repeat this jump again, maybe variations of it to ensure same-momentum launch.

As usual, your irony is always appreciated and a great sign of your wisdom given the context.
Memento Audere Semper

903

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And I still take full responsibility for what has happened.

I should have analyzed this jump in more details and again the fact that it worked in the past for me and others only shielded the true inherit danger of it.
Memento Audere Semper

903

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You mean, you will do the jump again (3way with 2 person waterfall) but you'll do it differently (i.e. correctly) to avoid the problems which caused the near death of your friend (i.e. launch timings).

Hey, that's cool. When you're trying new stuff out, then the price is often high, and i for one don't believe there is any obligation on you not to keep trying to do this jump if that is what you want and you're happy to accept the consequences.

I utterly disagree that you can take full responsibility for the outcome. That's just crap. BASE is about individual responsibility....period. That includes being responsible for allowing someone else to deploy your canopy for you. Jason made a mistake (he placed his life in the hands of another jumper, possibly over estimating their and his own abilities) and he is lucky to be alive and i genuinely wish him all the best for a full recovery.

I assume you mean my irony is misplaced given that a man's life was almost lost. Yes there is a certain irony here, but it certainly isn't in anything i have said. You should look closer to home.

This is wake up call for you Nick. You might not get a second one. I'd advise you don't fritter it away by drawing the wrong conclusions.

ian

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If you want to turn this into a pissing contest please PM me.

You are not contributing anything to the thread but your mindless and childish comments or anything that I and others already know.

PS

The launch timing was not the issue here.
Memento Audere Semper

903

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I have no desire to take this to PM. The fact that you don't like what i have to say doesn't make it childish and inane, and saying i'm not contributing to the discussion when i point out the fact that your statements are at best contradictory and at worst utterly hypocritical doesn't stop that from being true.

The simple truth is, you got out of your depth. You stopped respecting the dangers. You became complacent. That is the lesson for everyone out there reading this thread. That is what we should take from this incident.

All this other stuff about timing and launch and letting go early or late is relevent, yes, it's specific to this incident yes, but the underlying problem, the underlying cause is someone not showing gravity the respect that it deserves.

Of course you're not going to like this. Of course you're going to get defensive, but that's the bottom line and all prospective and new jumpers reading this thread shouldn't be sidelined by the minutae of this incident but rather they should be encouraged to see the bigger issue of "respect" for an activity that DOES NOT ALLOW for the complacency or underestimation or miscalculation of deployment sequence or whatever the fuck you want to put it down to.

That is the point of my post and the point of me picking up on your mixed messages.

ian

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Talking to Michael we did come to the conclusion that leaving not just with the same timing but with the same momentum is the most critical part of the jump however it is not that easy if not impossible at all. (bold emphasis in the original, italic emphasis added -TA)



Can you elaborate on this?

When practicing the launch for this jump (I've got some rather silly video of DexterBASE, KMonster and myself holding hands for 20 minutes), we were able to sort out a launch with almost identical forward momentum.

Since a rollover ought to be launched hard forward to maintain line tension, all that is really required is that the outside (packed) jumpers launch in line with the rollover jumper (perhaps slighly flatter than they normally would).

For extra safety margin, they can launch a split second early. In the case that they launch too early, they are extracted via PCA, and the possible downside is only that they may pull the rollover jumper into a McJJ (step through, no rollover) in which he is forced to land a step through (fairly easy to do).
-- Tom Aiello

Tom@SnakeRiverBASE.com
SnakeRiverBASE.com

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How to check if you have determined the root cause of a failure:

-repeat the process while changing what you believe to be the root cause.

If this has the effect of switching the failure on and off, you have determined the root cause.


Now, you say that exit timing was not the root cause.

How would your jump have played out if you exited later and stayed level or above the twins?

How similar would it have been if you exited earlier?


What would you say was the root cause?

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