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base283

The Surprising Risks of Playing It Safe

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It's relevant to all walks of life.

In industry, safety is a huge business. Many companies have philosphies along the lines of: "the company is responsible for providing a safe workplace and/or is responsible for employee safety"! Some people actually admit to switching off when they drive through the front gate and EXPECT things to be safe, because that is the expectation. Then they stick their hand in moving machinery and . . . . . . .
The other factor that people neglect is "each employee is responsible for their own safety". The company provides policies, equipment, procedures, resources, etc. But in the end, the employee is the one who goes home. . . .or not. . . . . . . You have got to follow the policies, etc.

Some interesting tid bits from BASE jumping.
- Slim used to say: "Pad up and Pound In". The way I understood Slim was that he was going to attempt a jump regardless, and he introduced excess padding to minimise the likelihood and consequence of injury. It was purely a backup and nothing to be relied upon. Fundamentals is what must get you through. But what did this comment do for other people??? They used the padding to overcome personal skill deficiencies and justify their attempts on advanced sites. What makes it worse is that some people actually believe they are now safe as well as capable!!!!!.
- AAD's in skydiving is another example. A good jumper will say AND UNDERSTAND that the device is there but IS NOT to be relied upon. It is merely a backup. A good jumper will execute his procedures independantly. Yet you meet lots of people who actually use the device. People who have had several cypres fires are examples ( to me) of: the working environment that I exist in must be safe and I do not have to think or intervene.
- the all time classic is: (s)he jumped it, so can I..... This MUST be taken in context. If he is a guru and you are not, think about the jump a little more.


In the end, your brains, hands, and other body parts are your cypres. Use the fuckers............

Wearing body armour is great. But don't jump a site that is almost a guaranteed killer just because you have some on.

Sounds like 283 & RB may be thinking similar things????????
Stay Safe - Have Fun - Good Luck

The above could be crap, thought provoking, useful, or . . But not personal. You decide.

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i think robbie is right as well, remember the old saying: "a false sense of security is better than none at all."
well now i know it has a name "peltzman effect".

it reminds me a friend of mine had a theory about improving road safety by removing seat-belts from cars and putting a 3 inch rusty steel spike smeared with dog shit right in the middle of the steering wheel.
there would sure as hell be a drop in the auto accident rate.
my hovercraft is full of eels.

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Perhaps the best example is Skydiving itself... (and BASE is getting there too)
Throughout my 26 years in this sport where I've started to jump with canopies for which nowdays you probably should pay someone to jump them. These were the times when we were so sick of using AADs and couldn't wait to get rid off that bulky ''instrument''. The times when safety was also # 1 thing (as always is) I can see now that Parachuting industry is trying to make this sport so safe that it's becoming almost stupid. (in the next 10 years we are going to be forced to have 2 AADs maybe - just kidding, No!!)

The sport of skydiving with today's technology is super safe but one mistake is made in another area. Requirements needed for getting into this sport are getting less and less demanding. A mentality of average skydiver is approaching the stage were he thinks ''Yeah, I have an AAD -nothing can happen to me!'' People are hiding behind the equipment instead behind their knowledge, training and progress. People take the manual as Bible, but even those, mostly ''copy - paste'' types of manuals are never really red with deep understanding and a newbie listens or reads parts of it they like to hear but not those which are also very important. Skill progress is so often a simple repetition (collecting the same type of jumps) without real and obvious progress in knowlege and tehnical understanding of the sport.
For example, wearing an AAD is certainly a good thing, but isn't it funny that huge percentage of today's skydivers (who started to jump 10 years ago) would refuse to jump if they do not have AAD?! Well, AADs kill people too...

This is strange to me and shows the lack of trust in your own abilities. (I know, there's a million reasons for having one, like collisions in big-ways etc. ...but...)
Even the sport of parachuting and skydiving is starting to be presented as super-safe in order to drag in more and more people, and among them also those who would not be even considered able to take a ride in a plane. This kind of approach is pushing the Parachuting industry into the battle which cannot be won.

Question for BASE jumpers (were 90% of BASE jumpers through the USA would instantly disagree with me)

Most of the FJC teach beginners to jump Slider off with free toggles settings. Why?!

Slider down jumps and free toggles setting - to me, that's a bad decision for low-experienced skydivers, BASE beginners!
Why? Because the chance to screw up the pack job (highly supervised and inspected by mentor) is a way lower (nearly impossible) than possibility for a poor judgment under the canopy due to problems those beginners have dealing with riding the canopy with such a mode that he/she never really saw and flew before! Fighting tight landing area, as same at the same time flying the new canopy w the new way of toggles setting...( Base newbie has just near or over 200 jumps , usually w standard skydiving canopy with standard line mode)

Somehow I just can't get rid of a feeling that in past times a young skydiver or a BASE jumper was forced to learn and listen more and was forced to know much more about theory, meteorology, etc...
Yes, 20-30 years ago an equipment was not that good as is today, but people knew more about essential things.
Hiding behind the equipment is an easy shortcut but that has many, many surprises. Be aware of that.
Robert Pecnik
robert@phoenix-fly.com
www.phoenix-fly.com

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See also: Risk Homeostasis and Open Canopy Fatalities, by Vic Napier.

The short summary is that as the gear gets safer, we take more risks, and keep the overall level of risk the same.

So, it's not just "Body Armor - No Brain." It's also "Reliable Gear - No Brain," "Better Heading Rate - No Brain," "AAD - No Brain," etc.
-- Tom Aiello

Tom@SnakeRiverBASE.com
SnakeRiverBASE.com

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Parachuting industry is trying to make this sport so safe that it's becoming almost stupid. (in the next 10 years we are going to be forced to have 2 AADs maybe - just kidding, No!!)
__________________________________________________

Actually, the dropzone I jump at, all freefall students DO wear two aad's, and it's one of the things that the dzo is most proud of that makes his dz stand out as safer than the rest.

Personally, I think it adds complexity to the problem, and is not necessarily justified.
If some old guy can do it then obviously it can't be very extreme. Otherwise he'd already be dead.
Bruce McConkey 'I thought we were gonna die, and I couldn't think of anyone

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i think robbie is right as well, remember the old saying: "a false sense of security is better than none at all."
well now i know it has a name "peltzman effect".



That was a saying my old BASE friend John came up with many years ago while at the top of the big cliff of the Gunnisons with Steve Morrell, RIP.
Looks like a death sandwich without the bread - Steve Deadman Morrell, BASE 174

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Most of the FJC teach beginners to jump Slider off with free toggles settings. Why?!



I teach that because it's the way they are going to be jumping in the future in 99% of cases. I think that they should begin jumping the gear and configurations which they will need to gain experience on from the very beginning of their BASE training.


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Fighting tight landing area, as same at the same time flying the new canopy w the new way of toggles setting...



In general, I hope that I can screen out people who consider the landing are under the bridge here to be "tight." It's so large that landing in it should be a non-issue for anyone qualified as a student of BASE.
-- Tom Aiello

Tom@SnakeRiverBASE.com
SnakeRiverBASE.com

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In general, I hope that I can screen out people who consider the landing are under the bridge here to be "tight." It's so large that landing in it should be a non-issue for anyone qualified as a student of BASE.



I have many serious doubt about that long time system Tom. Perhaps that subject require new thread . Anyway, as we see from discussion above, mentors can or can not screen their students abilities to get the lending right. To expect student can do it by it self, well, of course some of them can, but high percentage will be screened by X-ray machine later for sure due to problems of driving the canopy w toggles out...

In my opinion, way better is to get confident in packing, get the tail gate right ( always w rubber band which fly away every jump) than hassle w toggles which has at least 4 different ways to end up after the canopy opens...;)
Robert Pecnik
robert@phoenix-fly.com
www.phoenix-fly.com

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I have many serious doubt about that long time system Tom. Perhaps that subject require new thread.



That's definitely a discussion for a new thread. I know that Jason Fitzherbert and I went around that several times, and I've also had that discussion with Yuri K (although he was a little less serious minded when talking about it). Obviously, there are many experienced jumpers who've thought it through and come to conclusions on both sides of the issue, for various reasons.
-- Tom Aiello

Tom@SnakeRiverBASE.com
SnakeRiverBASE.com

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Mostly, people are akin to sheep, just wanting to graze with the herd while protected from the coyote by the dog. The masses find comfort in their worthless legislated security.

If a man instead stays within the laws of nature (the only important laws) he will realize 1) when the jump is too dangerous, and move on, and 2) we all will have our appointment with D. Personally, I find that living on the edge is the safest of places, because I am keenly aware at all times just where that edge is. It's like Clint said, "a man's gotta know his limitations"...

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If the reason is logical, fair, open minded, based on fact, and . . . logical . . . . then . . .

Some arguments I have heard for not lrm:

- you can lose your toggles on opening. Leading to off headings and flying/landing on rear risers. That only happens when: your gear is not compatable, your gear is not packed properly, your gear is not maintained properly, or your gear is not used properly. DO IT RIGHT.
- because you might drop your toggles after opening when there is a long canopy ride. HOLD ON.
- etc

Can these things happen? Of course.

Are tail gates infallable?? NO. Have you seen a tailgate lockup? They are nasty, especially when close to the ground. Have you seen lineovers on slider up/down? Yes. People can clear them with a knife. BUt what about when your jump is lower and the hangup is causing rotations/spins/etc and you have your hands occupied trying to maintain some form of steady flight in order to prevent hooking in??

What about . . . . . . . .


The important thing is thus, you should not put a bandaid on your broken leg. Fix the broken leg up.. i.e. fix the reason for the fault in the first place. It is when we start applying bandaids that the overall integrity of a system begins to break down and the complexity increases, eventually leading to a failure of the system. An example for the people who have no idea what I am getting at (which may be all of you :P). If you wear padding because your landings are crap, and then you stop using the line release mod because your aerials are crappy and you dump unstable with your toggles brushing your other gear and your toggles pop, and you do aerials in the first place becaause you can't nail a stable running exit, and you do a running exit because you can't stop rotating on a standing exit, and you constantly have off headings in one direction and then exit at an angle, and . . . . . . . . .

Fix the problems. Learn how to fly the canopy first (maybe try something like more airtime per jump. I don't know. .. . . . . Maybe something like jumping out of an aircra_ _ . . . . . .. Perhaps doing 1000 standing exits in a swimming pool / bungee / gym / etc. . . . . . . . Maybe learn about rigging and equipment compatability so that you really know what goes together and what doesn't. No matter how hard you try, the willy is not supposed to go in the nasal passage!!!!!!!!! Perhaps giving your gear to an expert and they find that your OH will be fixed with a reline, your toggles are dropping because the stow is too loose in the first place, . . . .
Stay Safe - Have Fun - Good Luck

The above could be crap, thought provoking, useful, or . . But not personal. You decide.

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To expect student can do it by it self, well, of course some of them can, but high percentage will be screened by X-ray machine later for sure due to problems of driving the canopy w toggles out...



:D:D:D

Unfortunately mate, I think you're absolutely right about this.

I've only visited the world famous P'rine bridge once and it's a lovely place & all. The locals are super cool too.

BUT, I won't ever go to one of their big boogies again. They near enough had to order a new hospital to be built for all the visiting jumpers who displayed the most atrocious canopy control, certainly highlighted by the reasons you state.

I knocked a toggle off doing an unpacked jump and a apparently experienced jumper was shocked that not only did I have a nice stand up landing, but also on the target.
(I think I was supposed to do a riser stall down wind into a tree at 20 feet instead). ;)

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Ok. I have read this conversation a couple of times to get it right.

Thee ar many if's in the matter of having a BASE-student.

At first I dont like it. Im not found of training other people to BASE-jump. It sucks.

But, when I do train new jumpers I do have some standard rules now a days.

Fisrt I refuse to take money for training. Its imoral and from that first day Im erning money on sombody else taking a great risk Im in danger. If it is good money, and it fucking should be, Ill be in the situation that Id really , really want him/her to graduate so I can get that money, or if I make the deal that I get the money even if he/she doesnt graduate, I leave students that might suck but probably will keep on jumping without my help.

Another thing is. I always start Slider down. With a decent landing area and form a safe object.

Why Slider down. Well to jump slider up I need a terminal object. And when I say Terminal I meen 10 seconds delay, the pull then a really nice overhang.
The oly place in the world with this is Karlskråtind or Katthammaren in Norway.
If not the object is probably SubTerminal and there fore the most dangerous object we have in the world. (A sub terminal E has taken far more lifes than any other object)

I prefere to drop students from either a bridge or a Antenna. Because they are not Solid objects. They have real winds not turbulense. And why Short delays?
Well In Skydiving you either go static line or AFF. In BASE we cant go AFF so then Students have to gp on their own. If they fuck up their exits (and they will) I rather see them so a short delay in good winds fro an antenna than going unstable from a 3000ft cliff.

Skydivers might think that the 3000ft will save them from death, but they are som wrong. Cliffs are bad, they are big solid objects with many obsticles and many prblems combined with them. Its not the Altitude that helps you if you are pulling to high. And when you are standing on Kjerag for the first time for your first jump ever you will either pull t high, subterminal close to the cliff or you will go away from the cliff ad probabaly pull to low. Cause after seeing many skydivers start their base-journy I know they track like shit.

And what about protection. Well. If you feel good wearing it. then go for it. weare it and have a nice jump. It doesnt make you a better jumper, but absolutley not a worse one.

I agree with you Robert, AAD and new fancy gear makes people feal safer. But the story is that most of the jumpers Ive met doesnt now shit about their gear, about the mountains about weather. Skydivers are horrible they dont even know who packed their reserve, they dot know the german guy that made their Cypres, they have no clue what a "out of sequence opening" is. They are lucky if they can find the fucking aeroplane.

This is scary stuff, but one thing guys and gals. When you go out there to do something. Make sure you know what your doing cause otherwise it might be tha last thing you do. And if you die you cant jump another time, if you back down or just go flat and stable, You might survive for another jump another day.

have a nice one and stay disco!
/Martin - Team Bautasten of Sweden

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This is a good thread. Apparently there is controversy regarding the training of students. Like I posted before, it would be cool if there was an internal password protected forum for base instructors. There is little standardization.
Looks like a death sandwich without the bread - Steve Deadman Morrell, BASE 174

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I'll continue the discussion about "Body Armor/No Brain Mentality" here, instead of in the Austria thread, since this thread seems relevant.

Interestingly, Robibird and I had a similar discussion about a year ago, but with the roles reversed.

In that discussion, it was me (jokingly) arguing whether or not our gear has made us safer:

Quote

If brakes would fail every 50 kilometers, a lot less people would drive, possibly making driving safer from a statistical point of view.

I am wondering if the influx of new base-jumpers is partially caused by the fact that the tailgate has brought line-overs into the "I'll take my chances..." camp, from a statistically point of view, for some.



To which Robi replied:

***Following this theory we would be end up being in middle century time still :)
The % of off headings and line overs are far lower than we expect. (IMHO)

Better equipment saves BASE jumpers regardless of how many are jumping, 10 or 10 000 , so this should be the way we all follow.



And so indeed should we treat body armor. If you're not wearing it on your slider down solid objects, you're a jumper from the middle ages.

Now I'm perfectly aware of the actual point that Robibird was trying to make. That some people wear body armor and think it can make up for their lack of skill and judgement. Absolutely this is a problem, but it is not with the body armor, but with the person itself.

Let me stress that I'm aware that Robibird understands this well. However, when a well known, well respected and highly skilled BASE jumper like Robibird writes a post including such catchphrases like: "Body Armor/No Brain Mentality", we run a risk of impressing budding BASE jumpers on this forum.

What will future FJC students at the Perrine think? Darn, I better not wear body armor, the old timers might make fun of me and think I use it to make up for my lack of skill.

That doesn't strike me as a particularly healthy direction.

The problem with Vic Napier's paper (I've read it before, and had the great pleasure to discuss it with him in person last December), and the ABC news article to a certain extent, is that it only offers an interesting observation, but not much in the way of suggestions. What are we supposed to do? Not improve our gear?

The key to the "Body Armor/No Brain Mentality" line of thought is in the last word: "Mentality". Now if you ask me, I'm less worried about the unskilled jumpers that wear body armor (because they're also the ones that crap their pants at the exit point and back down), than about the unskilled Moab circus freaks that jump in their t-shirts and sandals.

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What are we supposed to do? Not improve our gear?



Train students in judgement, mentality, and approach to the sport, as well as in technical jumping skills.

Judgement is difficult to train, but not impossible. Whenever possible, I try to take a student out in bad conditions, and then refuse to make the "no go" call, waiting until the student makes it.

Judgement is a muscle. It needs to be exercised through repeated use, and it can be improved through training.
-- Tom Aiello

Tom@SnakeRiverBASE.com
SnakeRiverBASE.com

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body armour is cool as long as it is worn under your clothing, not over it

that goes for full suits, elbow pads, knee pads, whatever

your bridle and lines don't care how much your exposed pads will protect you during an object strike or rough landing, they only see the snagpoints

this might sound stupid, but I have seen a LOT of video, photos and real jumps where body armour is worn in such a way as to pose a very real snag hazard

I did a few jumps initially with only a short sleeve T over my Dainese Shuttle Suit, but even when it is 30+ degrees C and I am hiking 1 hour to get to an exit, I haul a longsleeve t and long pants in addition to my body armour if I am jumping with body armour.

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I want some armor with fine mesh made of somethign like spectra rapped all around it so that there is no snag potential. It would also be awesome if it floated. Full body armor or individual peices.
I've got this really hardcore group of gaurdian angels that need a free paid vacation.
~Dan Osman

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However, when a well known, well respected and highly skilled BASE jumper like Robibird writes a post including such catchphrases like: "Body Armor/No Brain Mentality", we run a risk of impressing budding BASE jumpers on this forum.



The whole problem stems from the fact that those impressionable people won't read anything in context. So what Robi has written is not really detrimental.

e.g. person 1 does double somersault with 1.5 twists tucked into layout. Person 2 sees this and attempts to repeat the same. Obvious conclusion (near death experience, tangled bridle, off heading, broken bits, whatever). Person 2 did not bother to read the rest of person 1's story. The story goes along the lines of: many hours at the gym and pool under instruction from expert coaching, building up from single reverse to . . . . . . to the end result, many hundreds of jumps prior, excellent spatial awareness, etc, etc.


My point is this, if a person only reads the headline (or watches the jump) and then bases his/her decision only on a scant amount of information, then their outcome is very well deserved. This is laziness / sloppiness. Being time deficient is NOT a valid excuse either. If you do not have enough time to make some effort to prepare properly for an activity that can kill you, you have NO business indulging either!!!! Same thing about reading about it.
Stay Safe - Have Fun - Good Luck

The above could be crap, thought provoking, useful, or . . But not personal. You decide.

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What will future FJC students at the Perrine think? Darn, I better not wear body armor, the old timers might make fun of me and think I use it to make up for my lack of skill.



Student will do and make what he will be told by his mentor or more experienced friend ( next to him person )-period.
Problem is that often, student is not guided nor told.
Problem is that they more and more see things and do things and also learn from the same kind of people.

In italy to start base takes 6 months.... USA, U.K. Russia?!
Dedications, love, passion to try and learn BASE - all this Italian student need to have. What it takes in USA, U.K. or Russia to make jump at FJC?!

Not saying that one way is better or worse ( who am I to say... ) just guessing why we have different mentality...
Robert Pecnik
robert@phoenix-fly.com
www.phoenix-fly.com

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What it takes in USA, U.K. or Russia to make jump at FJC?!



We dont have a FJC in the UK (there was one for a short time but the tutor seems to have stopped that after a fatality of a student) and generally jumpers in the UK will give as much help and advice and guidence as possible before someone does an FJC and after their FJC, but with the availabilty of FJCs in Europe that dont ask for references from current jumpers here and take students on that to be honest should not be taught to jump in the first place, then what on earth are we meant to do when you lot (not you personally Robi) let the newbies loose on our soil and they dont think they need help from the rest of us....

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