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Ron

USPA's role in enforcing aircraft maintenance issues (was - Incidents thread)

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billvon

>Simply put, as long as the check clears, they can be a GM

Chuck just gave two examples of that not being true.



And yet I just gave an example of a GM DZ that had an issue with illegal MX in the past resulting in a crash and recent action against the DZO and now a fatality at that DZ in part due to MX and they are still a GM.

These are all facts.
GM DZ having a crash due to illegal MX - Still a GM
Action taken against the DZO - Still a GM
An additional crash, with fatalities, reported to be bad MX - Still a GM DZ. Now maybe the USPA has not acted yet.... But they didn’t take action from the last crash due to bad MX, so I have little faith they will take action now... The check cleared.

Maybe the USPA will finally act.... So maybe a preventable fatality is the line that removes a DZ from the program? That would be nice to know.... ‘Dangerous activities are allowed until someone dies.’ At that point it isn’t more than just the check clearing and an empty promise.

Anyone that thinks the DZ being a USPA GM means anything is fooling themselves. The GM program is there to force individual membership and to serve as an advertisement tool.

Funny how Chuck has made that’s EXACT claim on this forum before.
"No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms." -- Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Jefferson Papers, 334

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gowlerk

So, Chuck gave examples of disciplinary action being taken over BSR violations. Others start in on MX violators not being punished. Don’t you get it? USPA is a skydiving organization. The FAA regulates aircraft. Not USPA.



Don't you get it, the plane ride is PART of the event. And the pledge says you will follow FAR's! If they are not following FAR's they should not be a GM.

Here is the GM application. You will notice it starts off talking about the advertising and then later mentions the pledge (which we all know means nothing if a DZ that had a crash due to MX is still a GM).

https://uspa.org/Portals/0/files/Form_GMInitialApp.pdf

Point #1 of the pledge: "Comply with the USPA Basic Safety Requirements (BSRs), which include compliance with the Federal Aviation Regulations relevant to skydiving
operations, including aircraft operations."

COMPLIANCE WITH FAR's!!!!!

Point #3: "Ensure that all aircraft utilized for the purpose of parachute operations comply with commercial maintenance requirements described in U.S. Federal Aviation Regulations Part 91.409(a) through (f) as applicable."

COMPLY WITH FAR MX REQUIREMENTS!!!!

So if they are not doing that, they are not abiding by the "pledge" yet somehow still are a GM????

But lets continue with the "pledge":
Quote

The undersigned applicant pledges and agrees to:

Comply with the USPA Basic Safety Requirements (BSRs), which include compliance with the Federal Aviation Regulations relevant to skydiving
operations, including aircraft operations.

Yet we have plenty of examples where they don't and are still GM's


Ensure that all pilots employed or utilized for the purpose of parachute operations hold at least a commercial pilot certificate and a second-
class medical certificate.


Ensure that all aircraft utilized for the purpose of parachute operations comply with commercial maintenance requirements described in U.S.
Federal Aviation Regulations Part 91.409(a) through (f) as applicable.

Yet we have examples of where they don't and are still GM's


Ensure skydiving staff of the Group Member (i.e., the undersigned applicant) are appropriately qualified and trained in accordance with the
Skydiver's Information Manual and (where applicable) hold current USPA ratings commensurate with their duties.

This one is making your staff beholden to the USPA, no benefit to you as a DZO


Establish landing procedures that will include separation of high-speed and normal landings. These landing procedures must be prominently
displayed and communicated to all jumpers at the drop zone.

OK this one actually benefits members!!!! Yet, I see GM DZ's all the time that ignore it


Support USPA promotional programs at the drop zone.

This one benefits the USPA, not the DZ


Require introductory or regular individual USPA membership of:
1. all U.S. skydivers cleared for self-supervision
2. non-resident foreign nationals who do not have proof of membership in their national aeroclub.

This one is pure benefit to the USPA, forcing membership


Include USPA and manufacturers, distributors and dealers of skydive equipment in the Group Member hold-harmless release, consistent with
state laws. (Please provide a copy of the waiver with this application.

This one benefits the USPA, manufacturers, distributors and dealers, not the GM



But lest look at the GM program manual!!!!

https://uspa.org/Portals/0/files/Man_GM.pdf

Look at 1-3 "benefits" the first two are:
"Use of the authorized phrase, as indicated on the USPA Group Membership Certificate"

"Free advertising"

So there is little doubt that it really is about marketing and not actual safety.

Yet, here we have DZ's breaking at least TWO of the seven "pledges" and still are GM DZ's...... It is about money, not safety.
"No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms." -- Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Jefferson Papers, 334

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Pledges are meaningless. Regulations are enforceable. The USA has an agency charged with enforcing the FARs. It is not USPA. If a skydiver has a problem with how someone runs their air operation the proper agency to look to is the FAA. You can complain about this all you want. But you are wasting your time.

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Pledges are meaningless.



Congrats, you now agree the GM program is meaningless.... Took long enough!

Quote

If a skydiver has a problem with how someone runs their air operation the proper agency to look to is the FAA.



Then maybe the USPA (and you) should not act like a GMDZ is better than a non-GM DZ? A GM takes a pledge to follow the FAR's so it is not a gigantic assumption that a DZ that has been proven not to follow the FAR's should not be a GMDZ.

Quote

You can complain about this all you want. But you are wasting your time.



It is my time to waste. I don't consider it a waste to help people open their eyes to the scam that is being played on them. Fact is the vast majority of jumpers know exactly nothing about FAR's or can tell if an aircraft is legal. They rely on the DZO to be honest and the lie that a GM follows the FAR's.

Simply put, the USPA GM program does not give you any guaranty of a safe DZ.

You want proof? A DZ that had a crash due to bad MX was still a GM. That same DZ had the DZO censured by the USPA but was still a GM. That DZ has now had a FATAL crash, again due to bad MX.... And as it stands currently is STILL a GM DZ.

I feel for all those that lost... But to pretend the GM program is anything more than a scam to force individual membership and provide fake legitimacy to the DZ is simply shown to not be true. The USPA does not even remove the GM of a DZ that has been shown to not follow the FAR's.

These are facts. You can try to play me all you want, but you can't refute them.
"No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms." -- Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Jefferson Papers, 334

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Ron

***>Simply put, as long as the check clears, they can be a GM

Chuck just gave two examples of that not being true.



And yet I just gave an example of a GM DZ that had an issue with illegal MX in the past resulting in a crash and recent action against the DZO and now a fatality at that DZ in part due to MX and they are still a GM.

These are all facts.
GM DZ having a crash due to illegal MX - Still a GM
Action taken against the DZO - Still a GM
An additional crash, with fatalities, reported to be bad MX - Still a GM DZ. Now maybe the USPA has not acted yet.... But they didn’t take action from the last crash due to bad MX, so I have little faith they will take action now... The check cleared.

Maybe the USPA will finally act.... So maybe a preventable fatality is the line that removes a DZ from the program? That would be nice to know.... ‘Dangerous activities are allowed until someone dies.’ At that point it isn’t more than just the check clearing and an empty promise.

Anyone that thinks the DZ being a USPA GM means anything is fooling themselves. The GM program is there to force individual membership and to serve as an advertisement tool.

Funny how Chuck has made that’s EXACT claim on this forum before.

I don't think whether USPA takes action or not is going to matter much. It's the FAA that has most of the teeth in enforcement.

What should happen is USPA and the DZs NOT let things get so bad the FAA HAS to get involved.
"Mediocre people don't like high achievers, and high achievers don't like mediocre people." - SIX TIME National Champion coach Nick Saban

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USPA's role in enforcing aircraft maintenance issues



My impression is that USPA is part of the problem. When the NTSB issued their report in 2008;

"The Safety Board's review of parachute operations accidents since 1980 identified the following recurring safety issues:

Inadequate aircraft inspection and maintenance;
Pilot performance deficiencies in basic airmanship tasks, such as preflight inspections, weight and balance calculations, and emergency and recovery procedures; and
Inadequate FAA oversight and direct surveillance of parachute operations."

the USPA responded with requiring DZO's to fill out a form each year with their GM renewal with information about their aircraft, pilots and maintenance.

Quote

All fair questions, Derek. Here are the responses:

1. How does this affect non-USPA Group Member drop zones?
USPA can’t compel participation by non-GM DZs, but they may want to use the guidance to ensure they comply with the regs.

2. What happens if the drop zone does not return the Aircraft Status Form?
Renewal of the Group Membership requires completed, returned forms.

3. If the drop zone does return the form, will it be verified for accuracy?
USPA will ensure that the form is accurately completed, e.g. that a Twin Otter operator doesn’t indicate that it is on annual/100-hour inspections, that an operator lists the FSDO its program has been filed with, that all “last” and “next” inspection blocks are completed, and the certifying IA or repair station is listed.

4. If yes, how?
USPA isn’t the FAA; we won’t be conducting surprise inspections or demanding logbooks. Though, as the result of a recent NTSB recommendations, the FAA might.

5. What will be done with the information on the Aircraft Status Form?
We’ll note that the DZ provided the information for the aircraft they list.

6. Will USPA maintain a database that USPA Members can check to see what a drop zone is reporting?
No. But a skydiver has always had the right to ask a DZO about their maintenance.

7. Will a drop zone’s Group Membership not be renewed or revoked for failure to submit or falsifying the Aircraft Status Form?
Completed forms are required for Group Membership. USPA’s by-laws already allow for sanctions on any member who intentionally falsifies a USPA form.

8. If there is a lawsuit resulting from a jump plane incident, will the Aircraft Status Forms be made available to either party involved in the lawsuit?
The form will be discarded after being received and checked for accuracy.

9. If the last addition to the Group Member Pledge, separating landing areas by either distance or time was a dismal failure with many DZ’s failing to separate landing areas, how will this be any different?
We don’t agree that BSR has failed. Many DZs have chosen to separate landings by time, if not distance. Canopy collision fatalities are not only down in number, they are substantially down as a percentage of all fatalities; they were 30% of the total in 2007, 13% of the total in 2008, and so far are 8% of the total in 2009.

The program may not be perfect, but it will clarify what the regulations require and it will urge the operators to make sure they comply. And it will accomplish this without heavy-handed government action.

Ed Scott



So the USPA is giving the appearance of checking on jumpship maintenance, when they actually are not.

Quote

The USPA Group Member pledge is - for most DZ's - complete bullshit. For most DZ's, USPA is just a monthly magazine to get listed in and a silly certificate to put on the wall that makes some people believe the DZ is safe.

USPA shouldn't even have a group member program. It's pretty clear that the program hasn't done anything to improve the sport. We still die in poorly maintained planes sometimes flown by idiots, we still see blatant BSR and FAR violations, and all the same old blah, blah, blah.

Safety has nothing to do with mandates or pledges. Safety starts with you and me. If we keep getting on shit airplanes, DZ's will keep flying them. Same with every other safety issue in the sport.


Chuck Akers
D-10855
Houston, TX



Chuck, you and I agree.

Derek V

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BillyVance



I don't think whether USPA takes action or not is going to matter much. It's the FAA that has most of the teeth in enforcement.



Do you think that a GMDZ that has had the FAA cite the DZ's lack of MX or training as the factor in a crash should be a GMDZ?

Quote

What should happen is USPA and the DZs NOT let things get so bad the FAA HAS to get involved.



The fact is the USPA is doing almost nothing. They make the DZO fill out a "form" and according to Ed Scott, they then throw the form away after they made sure the FORM was filled out correctly.

Get this for irony.... To be a TI, I have to include my medical (That the FAA does not care exists at ALL, it is pure bowing to Vector). But the GM application does not require a copy of my medical OR a copy of my pilots license to show that I am a commercial pilot with at least a 2nd class medical..... So to be responsible for a single tandem PAX, I have to show proof of a medical, but to fly an entire load of tandems.... USPA does not care!

All that is required is that a the DZO write down a name of a chief pilot and sign the pledge

* Comply with the USPA Basic Safety Requirements (BSRs), which include compliance with the Federal Aviation Regulations relevant to skydiving
operations, including aircraft operations.

* Ensure that all pilots employed or utilized for the purpose of parachute operations hold at least a commercial pilot certificate and a second-
class medical certificate.

* Ensure that all aircraft utilized for the purpose of parachute operations comply with commercial maintenance requirements described in U.S.
Federal Aviation Regulations Part 91.409(a) through (f) as applicable.


Hell, why not just have the DZO "attest" to the TI's having a medical?

It also asks this question: "Is there adequate initial and recurrent training for jump pilots?"

But the only check that any of that is true.... Is did they fill out the FORM correctly.... This from Ed Scott.

And from one of the National Directors: http://www.dropzone.com/cgi-bin/forum/gforum.cgi?post=3541729#3541729

Quote

The group member pledge is a joke and has been since the inception of the GM program - as is the program itself. USPA is supposed to be an organization with the following purpose (from uspa.org):

The purpose of USPA is three-fold: to promote safe skydiving through training, licensing, and instructor qualification programs; to ensure skydiving’s rightful place on airports and in the airspace system, and to promote competition and record-setting programs.

I don't see a damn thing in there about supporting, regulating, guiding or otherwise getting into the business of DZ's.

The GM program should be scrapped where it stands.


Chuck Akers
D-10855
Houston, TX




That same leader

Quote

USPA was founded to support the sport and the individual members. Getting involved in the business side of skydiving is not necessary to perform the functions needed to achieve its stated purposes, and doing so creates a direct conflict of interest. The fact that GM's routinely ignore any part of the pledge they want to without consequences clearly demonstrates that.


Chuck Akers
D-10855
Houston, TX



The USPA uses the GM program to demand individual membership. The GM program does nothing for the individual membership.... We all know DZ's that are group members that do not follow the pledge, we know of DZ's that have been cited by the FAA... And they are STILL Group Members.

The GM program IS a joke and it should be eliminated.
"No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms." -- Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Jefferson Papers, 334

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The FAA regulates both aircraft AND skydiving. The FAR simply "endorses" the USPA as an organization whose proven "best practices" serve as a basis for that regulation.

IOW: The FAA allows the USPA to manage the day-to-day, but can void that agreement any time it deems necessary, either in whole or in specific cases.

While aircraft crashes are investigated by the FAA and the NTSB, the USPA should at least petition both agencies to participate in skydiving aircraft accident investigations so that it can fulfill its obligation to "self-regulate" and not give the FAA any more reason to micromanage our sport.

-JD-

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While I agree with the idea that the buck stops with the FAA, the USPA should step up and enforce this program per the FAA's "endorsement" in the FAR to "self-regulate" our sport.

The last thing we want is for the FAA to micromanage skydiving.

Like I said in a previous post a few months back, all it takes is for a our community to witness a bad year, underestimate the risks of some new technology, or make headlines for the FAA to step in.

If "pledges are meaningless," we need to do something about that before big brother does.

-JD-

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Are you saying that the USPA isn't doing what it should to oversee skydiving operations? In that case you and I agree.

Where I think we disagree is how to address that.

I'm for USPA members holding leadership accountable for not "promoting safe skydiving" per its stated mission. The recent license changes to the new FAI standards is one example that did little to enhance safety. Why increase regulation of the safest phase of our sport and do nothing to address the most dangerous phase (canopy flight)? The counter-argument is - of course - to "promote competition" per its stated mission. But I think the BOD's decision and reasoning demonstrates its inability to correctly prioritize. Safety is something that affects us all, but not all of us compete.

Now why would FAA oversight be a bad thing? First, the bureaucracy! Our government doesn't do much efficiently. Do you think communication and redress with the USPA is difficult now? It would be much worse with the FAA. Second, regulation would increase and to a level that many skydivers would deem unreasonable. Example: Pilots have what's known as a "duty day" that limits them to so many consecutive hours in the cockpit. What's to stop the FAA from limiting jumpers to the number of jumps they can make in a day? Lastly, big brother isn't forgiving and investigations into incidents at dropzones might very well result in DZ closures - thus limiting access to our sport. Yeah, the FAA does it's job well...I would say TOO well.

I'm with you in increasing accountability, but I think that accountability should start with us and not with the FAA.

-JD-

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>Why do “we” not want the FAA to increase oversight of jump operations?

Because:

1) Most skydivers think the government is incompetent, and thus more oversight won't help (in their minds.)

2) Increased oversight will, in many cases, increase the cost of skydiving. Most skydivers do not want to pay more for increased oversight.

3) Increased oversight will increase the hassle to DZO's. Most DZO's prefer less hassle. The good ones think they are already safe enough; the bad ones prefer to spend less on inspections and maintenance.

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skyfox2007

The recent license changes to the new FAI standards is one example that did little to enhance safety. Why increase regulation of the safest phase of our sport and do nothing to address the most dangerous phase (canopy flight)?



come on, that is such a cop-out. That's like saying the police dont care about transportation safety because they stepped up enforcement of speeding but not DUI checkpoints. It is in fact possible to address safety by addressing more than one category. The license requirements were so easy there was little point in even having a B, C and D license. You mind as well just have made them automatic after a certain number of jumps. Even with the new license requirements, they are still easier than they should be.

BTW, might I also remind us that last year the number one cause of death in skydiving was improper EPs, not landing problems.

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Now why would FAA oversight be a bad thing? First, the bureaucracy! Our government doesn't do much efficiently. Do you think communication and redress with the USPA is difficult now? It would be much worse with the FAA. Second, regulation would increase and to a level that many skydivers would deem unreasonable. Example: Pilots have what's known as a "duty day" that limits them to so many consecutive hours in the cockpit. What's to stop the FAA from limiting jumpers to the number of jumps they can make in a day? Lastly, big brother isn't forgiving and investigations into incidents at dropzones might very well result in DZ closures - thus limiting access to our sport. Yeah, the FAA does it's job well...I would say TOO well.

I'm with you in increasing accountability, but I think that accountability should start with us and not with the FAA.



The FAA seems to be doing a great job with the airlines.

Why do you think regulation would increase?

Derek V

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1) Most skydivers think the government is incompetent, and thus more oversight won't help (in their minds.)

2) Increased oversight will, in many cases, increase the cost of skydiving. Most skydivers do not want to pay more for increased oversight.

3) Increased oversight will increase the hassle to DZO's. Most DZO's prefer less hassle. The good ones think they are already safe enough; the bad ones prefer to spend less on inspections and maintenance.



1- Again, the FAA seems to be doing a good job with the airlines.

2- Why would it increase costs to skydivers?

3- I don’t really care what the dzo’s want. I want to be able to go to any dz and be reasonably confident the pilot is qualified and the aircraft properly maintained. Just like I can book a flight on any airline with the same expectations.

Derek V

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Have you ever dealt with them? Just had a 7711-2 rejected because due to some internal checklist they want this statement in line 6.
"Authorization is requested in accordance with § 105.21 and 105.25. Well no shit that's why I submitted the form. Not in any instructions anywhere. Ok, makes sense, but don't keep it a secret.

Want and authorization to do a demo in the Philly Class B? Better start 6 months in advance and and be prepared for final disapproval the week of.

Bunch of drones that most of will do anything to not have to do their job.
Replying to: Re: Stall On Jump Run Emergency Procedure? by billvon

If the plane is unrecoverable then exiting is a very very good idea.

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skyfox2007

... The recent license changes to the new FAI standards is one example that did little to enhance safety ...



FYI: Those change were not designed to increase safety. They were made to align USPA licenses with FAI licenses. The details escape me, so you might get more detail from a competition oriented person.

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Peek,
Your referral to a competition-oriented person proves my point.

Why did the USPA update its licensing standards to bring them into line with the FAIs? So that US competitors participating in international contests would encounter no resistance when asked to produce proof of proficiency. Their licenses would be just as valid as those issued by the FAI - as the prerequisites were identical.

Competitors had everything to gain from the license upgrades, while us mere mortals have to "jump" through more hoops for our licenses. These rules also address a phase of our sport that has - over time - proven statistically safer than the canopy phase.

...so I'll restate what I said earlier: the USPA has failed to prioritize it's stated mission goals by placing "competition" ahead of "safety." The latter should come before the former.

-JD-

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Westerly,
Yes, you can enhance safety in more than one category.

But why not address safety in the most dangerous category first? You'll save more lives and limbs by addressing the larger danger before the smaller one. Even in skydiving AND policing, Willie Sutton's rule holds true.

If you want to make the B, C, and D licences more difficult to achieve, up the canopy accuracy standards and ENFORCE them. I had to beg my S&TA to watch my landings. He didn't seem to care and was ready to pencil-whip that requirement on my last license application.

Yes, EPs were the leading cause of death last year, but what about the year before that, and the year before that? The data - when viewed longitudinally - strongly suggests that canopy flight is our biggest issue and we ought to invest the greatest chunk of time and effort there.

-JD-

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Hook & Swoop,
Your first point is valid, but only because the FAA can fine and/or ground the airlines for not following procedures. When was the last time the USPA took such extreme measures with a DZ?

Direct FAA oversight would mean stepped-up inspections - in detail and frequency. These inspections would mean increased costs for the DZOs for more frequent repairs and down-time, who would then pass those costs along to the customer: us.

Amen on the third point. But not all airlines are the same. My wife and I travel frequently and I can tell you with certainty that some ARE better than others in experience. Procedures vary, ticket prices actually vary once seating is taken into account, and even maintenance varies. On the last point, visit these two links:

https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=113877784

https://www.twu.org/aircraft-maintenance-outsourcing-disclosure-act-of-2018-prioritizes-safety-american-jobs/

-JD-

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skyfox2007

Peek,
Your referral to a competition-oriented person proves my point.

Why did the USPA update its licensing standards to bring them into line with the FAIs? So that US competitors participating in international contests would encounter no resistance when asked to produce proof of proficiency. Their licenses would be just as valid as those issued by the FAI - as the prerequisites were identical.

Competitors had everything to gain from the license upgrades, while us mere mortals have to "jump" through more hoops for our licenses. These rules also address a phase of our sport that has - over time - proven statistically safer than the canopy phase.

...so I'll restate what I said earlier: the USPA has failed to prioritize it's stated mission goals by placing "competition" ahead of "safety." The latter should come before the former.

-JD-



Thanks for your comments. They do a good job of demonstrating that USPA should perhaps shift its priorities.

However, there is so much attention given to safety oriented issues that I think most people would say that USPA is doing well in handling them.

I do not specifically agree or disagree with this. It would be nice to hear from as many members as possible about this.
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Your first point is valid, but only because the FAA can fine and/or ground the airlines for not following procedures. When was the last time the USPA took such extreme measures with a DZ?



USPA does not have the authority to fine or ground.

Quote

Direct FAA oversight would mean stepped-up inspections - in detail and frequency. These inspections would mean increased costs for the DZOs for more frequent repairs and down-time, who would then pass those costs along to the customer: us.



Only if the aircraft were not being maintained according to then far’s. If the aircraft was being properly maintained, no increase in cost......

Quote

Amen on the third point. But not all airlines are the same. My wife and I travel frequently and I can tell you with certainty that some ARE better than others in experience. Procedures vary, ticket prices actually vary once seating is taken into account, and even maintenance varies. On the last point, visit these two links:



How many people have flown us-flagged carriers in the last 10 years? How many fatalities?

How many skydiving aircraft fatalities in the last 10 years?

Derek V

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.so I'll restate what I said earlier: the USPA has failed to prioritize it's stated mission goals by placing "competition" ahead of "safety." The latter should come before the former.


Personally I think both are important, and support improvements in both. An improvement in competition licenses does not detract from, nor prevent improvements in, safety.

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>1- Again, the FAA seems to be doing a good job with the airlines.

Agreed. I didn't say I agreed with it; just observed that sentiment among skydivers.

>2- Why would it increase costs to skydivers?

Because there are operators out there now who do substandard maintenance, and can thus save money and lower prices. Eliminating such practices will increase prices (on average.)

>3- I don’t really care what the dzo’s want. I want to be able to go to any dz and
>be reasonably confident the pilot is qualified and the aircraft properly maintained.
>Just like I can book a flight on any airline with the same expectations.

You don't have to care. But since their attitudes affect your ability to be "confident the pilot is qualified and the aircraft properly maintained" what they want does affect overall aircraft safety.

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