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tto78

Rules vs common sense

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Hi :)
I am trying to form an opinion here and would appreciate some arguments for or against making rules about various safety-related topics at our DZ. The discussion often comes down to whether or not to make rules about something everyone already agrees on. For instance:

Current rules dictate that a wingsuit jumper may not jump an elliptical canopy on his or her first 15 jumps.

Group A - the wingsuit instructors - want this rule removed completely because it makes sense not to jump an elliptical ever on a WS jump. As such, the number is invalid and the rule should be removed entirely because the group will deal with this issue internally by teaching their students not to do it.

Group B agrees with Group A on the fact that ellipticals should never be used on wingsuit jumps but wants to ban the use of ellipticals (for wingsuiting) based on this argument.

And then my thoughts: With fewer rules we treat people like adults by not taking away their freedom to make their choices and mistakes. Mistakes which are necessary to get the experience which can one day maybe their ass if they encounter a situation that requires them to think for themselves. In time it will also make them better instructors when they can teach from own experience. I also believe that it is a persons right to do that he or she wants as long as no one else's safety is at stake.

On the other hand...

The are skydivers who - at least at some point in their skydiving life - need fixed boundaries in order not to spin out of control. I - like most of my co-instructors - prefer to spend my time on those who want to become better skydivers and it would be nice to have a set of rules to wave in front of people whom we cannot reach. In the event of a serious accident family and authorities will look for someone to point fingers at and its very likely to be the instructors. Because of that, it seems most fair to give instructors the tools to prevent that from happening. Also, even though I believe in a persons freedom, I do not want to see someone get hurt if I could have prevented it. I know its not in our power to save everyone, but lets at least try...

So, fewer rules or more rules? I will appreciate any comments or thoughts on this topic that you may have so please come forward!


BR, Thomas

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I'm not a wingsuiter, so I won't comment on the specific rule. However, while common sense and social pressure are best, there are people who seem to be immune to both. For them, the occasional well-chosen rule, or simply the DZO's unilateral authority is necessary.
You can't forgot someone from jumping because he's an antisocial asshole. You can tell him he can't do certain things at your DZ.

Wendy P.
There is nothing more dangerous than breaking a basic safety rule and getting away with it. It removes fear of the consequences and builds false confidence. (tbrown)

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Thee are positives and negatives to the question of rules.

Some can be fixed and peole will accept them as necessary, AAD's for students for example. Clear and concise, and not likely to cause any arguments. Also you have different rules....nationally accepted ones (like student AADs) and local rules pertaining to a specific DZ.

The problem with rules is they can become obsolete with time, they can be overly restrictive, and be ignored/broken, which then causes people to lose respect for those particular rules and other good rules generally. A lot of rules are put in place without careful thought, and can be ambiguous in their interpretation.

A "no low dumping" rule is a case in point. Difficult to prove, and can be argued as a long snivelly opening.

I've had numerous run ins with smart arses who objected to a particular DZ rule, but at a local level its not really a problem...my DZ, my interpretation counts. There is always some individual who thinks they are exempt from any restrictions.

Its far better to make sensible recommendations, rather than rules in some cases....your wingsuit example is a good case, everyone basically agrees. There is no need to set things in concrete in such instances.

One thing you can't rely on, is people to use common sense. Its not always that common, and in such cases a clear guideline is necessary.

One other important thing to consider is to make sure everyone is fully aware of any rules, recommendations, or warnings, and likely sanctions should they be broken. Sanctions should be reasonable and fair.

At my DZ, the sanction for a low dump was not a grounding, which I think is counterproductive.

Instead, miscreants got to do a static line jump with full student equipment at the altitude they should have been open at. A couple of very experienced visiting instructors were amongst those miscreants, which was a good lesson for everyone else at the DZ. Everyone saw it as a fair and reasonable sanction, which didn't involve the ill feeling that comes with groundings.

Fewer rules are the way to go. At my DZ there was really only one simple rule which everyone understood very clearly.

"Don't F*** Up".

It covered every scenario quite well.
My computer beat me at chess, It was no match for me at kickboxing....

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A lot of rules are in place as an aid to an Instructor. No one wants to be the bad guy and when an Instructor is in a bind it's easier for him to invoke a rule than to try to actually teach someone that has already made a poor decision and is justifying it by pointing out it isn't a "rule".
That being said however, when you make a rule you are permanently making innovation in that particular area out of bounds for the average jumper. Case in point, is wingsuiting. The USPA had, for 10-15 years, a ban on wing suiting due to a number of high profile fatalities. It was a rule and it wasn't until modern rule breakers come along that it was even questioned. Wing suiting, VRW, swooping, and BASE jumping all have developed because of people willing to break the rules. I think that while rules have their place to protect the unknowing they need to be well thought out and well written for their specific intention. Too many rules are put in place because someone made a poor decision and it hinders the development of the sport to apply a broad rule to a specific event. There are also many rules that are in place that are poorly written because it was politically expedient to distort the intent of the rule and get something passed than to walk away without at least an effort. I've always thought that USPA could use a professional tech writer at it's meetings so that when rule changes or new rules were proposed they were written exactly for their intention and if changes were made to a motion a new written proposal specific as a motion would be debated. Oral changes to rules in meetings sometimes don't make it to the paper version and the rule becomes a distortion of the intent. Long post, sorry about that!

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If these are local rules, it's your pond. So then why not set them, but with waivers only by your approval. Then you can use your common sense.
In your WS example I wouldn't say no ellipticals for WS would necessarily be a hard and fast rule. But it would be a very rare occasion to grant a waiver especially for first WS jump. eg: a friend of mine on his first WS jump used his usual little pocket rocket canopy-perfect on heading opening, no problem. However he has well over 20,000 jumps with at least 15,000 on those canopies, so in this very rare instance I didn't feel any concern.

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You can either have rules or use resources (ie safety officers or qualified people watching the sky) to enforce common sense.
If a dz has people watching for and consistently calling people out on dangerous behavior, common sense can prevail. Or, rely on rules and reports of rule violations from the rule-breakers themselves (ie whiners who want an exception to the rules because they're special) or other jumpers.
...IMO

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Quote

At my DZ, the sanction for a low dump was not a grounding, which I think is counterproductive.

Instead, miscreants got to do a static line jump with full student equipment at the altitude they should have been open at. A couple of very experienced visiting instructors were amongst those miscreants, which was a good lesson for everyone else at the DZ. Everyone saw it as a fair and reasonable sanction, which didn't involve the ill feeling that comes with groundings.



oh that's priceless! When I was working at Richland Skysports the co-dzo's suddenly one day dumped the job on me and made me the enforcer - thankfully we had some very heads up jumpers and I didn't have to do very much enforcing - just once with a lowpulling newish jumper which I handled in a very sneaky way :D and a couple of unknown jumpers with mains way too small for their experience who were given the option of using rentals for free or not jumping.

that is a great solution!
Roy
They say I suffer from insanity.... But I actually enjoy it.

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D22369



oh that's priceless! When I was working at Richland Skysports the co-dzo's suddenly one day dumped the job on me and made me the enforcer - thankfully we had some very heads up jumpers and I didn't have to do very much enforcing - just once with a lowpulling newish jumper which I handled in a very sneaky way :D
Roy

oh come on you can't just leave it like that tell us what did you do
i have on occasion been accused of pulling low . My response. Naw I wasn't low I'm just such a big guy I look closer than I really am .


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lol, ok. maybe unconventional would be a better word than sneaky.

The lady was typically a level headed person, a former student, friend, packer, she wanted to become a rigger and an instructor - she had just over 100 jumps and had several low pulls - the aad should have fired on the last one - she had been talked to previously by the dzo who overruled me, he didn't want her grounded - but on this one I nearly had a heart attack, the spot was great and she would have impacted very near, the canopy ride was short...

when I get scared I get angry and usually do something stupid - this time I just stomped into the dz shack to give myself time to cool down - I could immediately hear everyone -packers, other instructors, the dzo berating her - heh, they were really going at her in loud voices and I could hear her excuses and could tell she was angry, I'm sure she scared herself - nobody listens when they are angry and defensive.

I had to meet the plane for a tandem video so I geared up and met the 206 on the ramp still thinking on how to get through to her on how dangerous it really is, figured I would sit down and talk to her and ground her for this one if the dzo didn't.

I landed and video'd the tandem landing - as I was picking up my canopy the TI and student were walking in I could see her stomping out to the landing area obviously still mad - I am sure the whole staff was going at her the whole time we were climbing to altitude, she came up to me and in an angry voice said "I suppose you want to jump all over me too!"

I just put all my gear on the ground stepped close and gave her a hug... which she did not return.

and quietly said in her ear:

I have lost two friends in this sport... don't make me watch you die.

that was it - her anger immediately gone - her lip started quivering as I looked into her eyes and the tears started she was sobbing out I wont, I wont, I'm sorry - and now I got my hug :)
I can't say it was a conscious decision to approach her this way, but as angry as she was - jumping all over her myself after everyone else already said everything I would have said... it wouldn't have worked - the words would have just bounced off her defenses.

It just happened - and she never had another low pull

Roy
They say I suffer from insanity.... But I actually enjoy it.

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The "ellipticals versus non-ellipticals) argument started back when rectangular canopies (all ribs the same size) were the norm (circa 1990) when the Sabre 1 was the most popular canopy, but Parachutes de France and Brian Germaine were experimenting with tapered canopies.
Early ellipticals were far less tolerant of sloppy packing, sloppy deployments, etc. so they develop a "killer" reputation. Fast forward to this century, junior wing-suiters tend to be "marginally stable" at deployment time, so they suffer far more line-twists during opening. The last thing anyone wants is serious line-twists on the bottom end of after a "busy" wing-suit dive.

Now most mains are tapered in one way or another. Even student canopies (PD Navigator and Aerodyne Solo) are tapered, so the "elliptical" argument loses a lot of momentum.
IOW the only rectangular canopies still in production are made for: BASE, precision landing and reserves.

A more modern restriction (on junior wing-suiters) would be to keep WING-LOADING below 1.5 for the first few wing-suit jumps.

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tto78

Hi :)
I am trying to form an opinion here and would appreciate some arguments for or against making rules about various safety-related topics at our DZ. The discussion often comes down to whether or not to make rules about something everyone already agrees on. For instance:

Current rules dictate that a wingsuit jumper may not jump an elliptical canopy on his or her first 15 jumps.

Group A - the wingsuit instructors - want this rule removed completely because it makes sense not to jump an elliptical ever on a WS jump. As such, the number is invalid and the rule should be removed entirely because the group will deal with this issue internally by teaching their students not to do it.

Group B agrees with Group A on the fact that ellipticals should never be used on wingsuit jumps but wants to ban the use of ellipticals (for wingsuiting) based on this argument.

And then my thoughts: With fewer rules we treat people like adults by not taking away their freedom to make their choices and mistakes. Mistakes which are necessary to get the experience which can one day maybe their ass if they encounter a situation that requires them to think for themselves. In time it will also make them better instructors when they can teach from own experience. I also believe that it is a persons right to do that he or she wants as long as no one else's safety is at stake.

On the other hand...

The are skydivers who - at least at some point in their skydiving life - need fixed boundaries in order not to spin out of control. I - like most of my co-instructors - prefer to spend my time on those who want to become better skydivers and it would be nice to have a set of rules to wave in front of people whom we cannot reach. In the event of a serious accident family and authorities will look for someone to point fingers at and its very likely to be the instructors. Because of that, it seems most fair to give instructors the tools to prevent that from happening. Also, even though I believe in a persons freedom, I do not want to see someone get hurt if I could have prevented it. I know its not in our power to save everyone, but lets at least try...

So, fewer rules or more rules? I will appreciate any comments or thoughts on this topic that you may have so please come forward!


BR, Thomas

a developing idea is not a developing attitude, most military types say go with what you know, so the French skydiver that helped develop sport activities around the same wing suit I jumped in the 90s was flying an elliptical canopy, , yet a military team secretly builds a connection system for gear, suit , canopy, and mission needs, the point is not to question the statement, but are you willing to kill someone in order to in force a rule, vs,..are you crazy enough to jump a wing suit with a line twisty canopy or are you jumping a canopy prone to line twists, is in front of a sport developing a flight fun, vs a development already in motion,, most base jumper fly a big canopy, most hook turn pilots learn up into starting a turn higher and higher, if you set rules in place at a dz, you had better know a little history but a whole lot of current facts, setting the skill alongside the gear shows an interesting safety geometry, that few instructors can ever ignore, and you wouldn't make rules without an instructor,. no matter how many tandems were lined up,,

Having something never beats doing (>|<)
Iam building things - Iam working on my mind- I am going to change this world - its what I came here 4- - -

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riggerrob

The "ellipticals versus non-ellipticals) argument started back when rectangular canopies (all ribs the same size) were the norm (circa 1990) when the Sabre 1 was the most popular canopy, but Parachutes de France and Brian Germaine were experimenting with tapered canopies.
Early ellipticals were far less tolerant of sloppy packing, sloppy deployments, etc. so they develop a "killer" reputation. Fast forward to this century, junior wing-suiters tend to be "marginally stable" at deployment time, so they suffer far more line-twists during opening. The last thing anyone wants is serious line-twists on the bottom end of after a "busy" wing-suit dive.

Now most mains are tapered in one way or another. Even student canopies (PD Navigator and Aerodyne Solo) are tapered, so the "elliptical" argument loses a lot of momentum.
IOW the only rectangular canopies still in production are made for: BASE, precision landing and reserves.

A more modern restriction (on junior wing-suiters) would be to keep WING-LOADING below 1.5 for the first few wing-suit jumps.

reir,,to the other quote, blogging a canopy manufacturers name, is not blogging safety and skill, and no one paracammanderd the rock Brian idea of a wing suit, with flight safety types, from flight concepts before jumping the damn thing above 5000ft,, base jumper, trend,, a wing suit instructor is not going to tell the 10000 plus skydiving dude, please sure, I know more about the air up there, because I just sold your worshipfulness on this new trendy sport, high speed,, vs time travel, the idea that you can build a more stable canopy, never came out of a box,, most of these guys posting sound like students, fishing for something, are you teaching novice or student to birdman,,

Having something never beats doing (>|<)
Iam building things - Iam working on my mind- I am going to change this world - its what I came here 4- - -

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peek

***IOW the only rectangular canopies still in production are made for: BASE, precision landing and reserves.



Huh?! I think you had better research that a bit more. Here is a line of canopies that is just one example: http://flightconceptsint.com/zp-main/zp-mantathe term lay off the crack pipe ,,,comes from posts like yours,,
Flying any wing suit , is a big boy thing in big boy sports land,
would anyone plane the sqft of a zp manta into the aerodynamic of a safe birdman flight, while trying to be safe about the sport in general,,,??? or would you want to plot safety around your own knowledge and skill and see that line up with you birdman flights,,, you need to fallow a functioning idea and a progression in training, mix matching c of g and slope hope floats, never got the safety behind the idea as the skill and gear formed, most birdman instructors don't like handing over a gti without the jumper knowing were it came from,,

Having something never beats doing (>|<)
Iam building things - Iam working on my mind- I am going to change this world - its what I came here 4- - -

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I would favor common sense over rules.

1. elliptical
2. semi-elliptical

A. much experience on canopy X
B. little experience on canopy X

1 & B might be a really bad idea where 2 & A be not so bad.

On the specific question, some DZs have rules about what you can jump, not what you can't jump. What is acceptable seems to be a better rule than what is not acceptable.
Instructor quote, “What's weird is that you're older than my dad!”

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riggerrob

The "ellipticals versus non-ellipticals) argument started back when rectangular canopies (all ribs the same size) were the norm (circa 1990) when the Sabre 1 was the most popular canopy, but Parachutes de France and Brian Germaine were experimenting with tapered canopies.
Early ellipticals were far less tolerant of sloppy packing, sloppy deployments, etc. so they develop a "killer" reputation. Fast forward to this century, junior wing-suiters tend to be "marginally stable" at deployment time, so they suffer far more line-twists during opening. The last thing anyone wants is serious line-twists on the bottom end of after a "busy" wing-suit dive.

Now most mains are tapered in one way or another. Even student canopies (PD Navigator and Aerodyne Solo) are tapered, so the "elliptical" argument loses a lot of momentum.
IOW the only rectangular canopies still in production are made for: BASE, precision landing and reserves.

A more modern restriction (on junior wing-suiters) would be to keep WING-LOADING below 1.5 for the first few wing-suit jumps.



The rule of thumb for most wingsuit schools is "no ellipticals, no wingloading over 1.5:1 during coaching jumps/newer wingsuiters."

Ellipticals with wingsuits are never a great idea.
I watched Jonathan Tagle have chop after chop on his Velo with a wingsuit. But, some folks here are apparently a lot better than he was.

Yes, if there is going to be a rule, might as well be "no elliptical for at least the first 25 WS jumps." From there, the choice to be foolish is theirs to make.

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DSE

Yes, if there is going to be a rule, might as well be "no elliptical for at least the first 25 WS jumps." From there, the choice to be foolish is theirs or the DZO's to make.



FIFY B|

This is where the DZO's have some influence.
Birdshit & Fools Productions

"Son, only two things fall from the sky."

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skyjumpenfool

*** Yes, if there is going to be a rule, might as well be "no elliptical for at least the first 25 WS jumps." From there, the choice to be foolish is theirs or the DZO's to make.



FIFY B|

This is where the DZO's have some influence.

I was trying to be politically neutral.:P

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Doesn't seem to be a necessary rule. Although I have heard of some people wingsuiting elliptical canopies, I think it would be extrememly rare to find a WS instructor to let a student do a first flight with an elliptical, rendering the rule obsolete.

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In the argument of rules versus common sense, I would favor rules.

Rules protect the DZ and the sport when an accident happens especially when someone intentionally breaks the rule and gets hurt/killed in the process and wants to sue.

Rules give the instructor's opinion a codified backing from a governing body. Very helpful to new instructors.

Rules are more easily accepted when you enter the sport thus making the new generation of jumpers accepting of the intended safety message.

The common sense approach doesn't generally apply to people who need to be talked to or grounded. Either by having their defense mechanisms wound tight or being hopelessly stubborn. Some permanent, some temporary.

At the end of the day, its still up to the DZ to enforce the rules, they can ignore the rules and take their chances.

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DSE


Yes, if there is going to be a rule, might as well be "no elliptical for at least the first 25 WS jumps." From there, the choice to be foolish is theirs to make.



I've been sorely tempted to add fuel to this fire by posting the Dutch WS-rules.. and now I can resist no longer::P

Quote

* The jumper must have a B-licence and at least 200 freefall jumps.
* The jumper must have followed a FFC. The FFC is held by a winguit coach who is designated by the instructor on duty.
* An audible is mandatory.
* Cameras are banned during the first 25 WS jumps. Any camera setup must be so organised that it cannot interfere with the deployment of neither the main nor the reserve canopy, as judged by the WS-coach.
* The first 25 WS-jumps are performed with a non-elliptical main and with a wingload of 1.3 maximum.
* The jumper must wear an open helmet during their first 25 WS jumps.
* An RSL or skyhook is mandatory for the first 50 WS-jumps.
* The deployment system must be throwaway BOC.
* Bungee pilot chutes are forbidden
* The AAD (if present) must be electronic. Mechanical AADs such as the FXC 12000 are not allowed.



And there is another, rather vague, requirement:
Quote

The jumper must conform to the demands as recorded in a WS-manual which is approved by the [dutch skydiving organisation]



Flame away :)
"That formation-stuff in freefall is just fun and games but with an open parachute it's starting to sound like, you know, an extreme sport."
~mom

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Common sense (not directed at you personally):

"If you're good enough to handle that pocket rocket you're so current on, you should also be good enough to handle this nice and stable Spectre, which is 170 sq. ft. and three times the size of your regular canopy.
But feel free to do a few solo's on the Spectre to get the feel of the canopy before you get to the FFC."
"That formation-stuff in freefall is just fun and games but with an open parachute it's starting to sound like, you know, an extreme sport."
~mom

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