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billvon

USPA rule applicability

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Mike Mullins recently made this statement in the Incidents forum:

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Any person who is a USPA member must follow the BSRs at a Group Member DZ, at a non-Group Member DZ, in a farmers field, in someones back yard, does not matter where you are jumping.  If you are a USPA member you are required to follow the BSR, period.  As USPA members were involved in this jump they were definitely required to follow the BSRs.  Someone who is not a USPA member, jumping at a non-Group Member DZ, needs only to comply with the FARs.

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This is the first I have heard of this.  I've jumped in a lot of places throughout the world, and while I use the BSR's as the default, there are cases where they don't seem applicable.  One example is while I worked for a military freefall training program; the course instructor was not a USPA rated instructor (although he was certainly rated as such by the military.)  Another example were water and demo jumps made in another country - they were made without "the advice of the appropriate USPA S&TA, Instructor Examiner, or Regional Director" (but again, with much advice from the local equivalent.)  I've intentionally jumped through clouds while at a foreign DZ after the chief instructor briefed us on how to do it, and told us it was both legal and customary there.

Are all those things really considered no different than doing them at a USPA DZ?

 

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13 hours ago, billvon said:

Any person who is a USPA member must follow the BSRs at a Group Member DZ, at a non-Group Member DZ, in a farmers field, in someones back yard, does not matter where you are jumping.  If you are a USPA member you are required to follow the BSR, period. 

A few silly questions along the same lines. Isn't there an age requirement in the BSR's?  IIRC it's 18 now, but it used to be 16 with parental consent, correct?

So... is a 12 year old skydiver, with parental consent or not, a violation of the BSR's? Was the person who allowed it a USPA member? If so, did the above quoted statement apply?

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23 hours ago, billvon said:

Mike Mullins recently made this statement in the Incidents forum:

=======================

Any person who is a USPA member must follow the BSRs at a Group Member DZ, at a non-Group Member DZ, in a farmers field, in someones back yard, does not matter where you are jumping.  If you are a USPA member you are required to follow the BSR, period.  As USPA members were involved in this jump they were definitely required to follow the BSRs.  Someone who is not a USPA member, jumping at a non-Group Member DZ, needs only to comply with the FARs.

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#1  One example is while I worked for a military freefall training program; the course instructor was not a USPA rated instructor (although he was certainly rated as such by the military.)

 

#2  Another example were water and demo jumps made in another country - they were made without "the advice of the appropriate USPA S&TA, Instructor Examiner, or Regional Director" (but again, with much advice from the local equivalent.)

#3  I've intentionally jumped through clouds while at a foreign DZ after the chief instructor briefed us on how to do it, and told us it was both legal and customary there.

 

 

#1 This was a problem, but has been taken care of by a BSR change (from about a year ago I think). It added the verbiage "or those training personnel under military orders" SIM section 2-1: BASIC SAFETY REQUIREMENTS, A. APPLICABILITY

#2 Advice for water and demo jumps is not BSR related in another country.

#3 It is a BSR violation to violate an FAR, but in another country the FARs don't apply.

 

Unfortunately, this stuff is often not easy to understand. Mike and I have often called each other to discuss what some things mean and how to interpret and explain them.

 

 

Edited by peek
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1 hour ago, peek said:

#2 Advice for water and demo jumps is not BSR related in another country.

Agreed - but the BSR's don't say that.  It's common sense that you would use the rules/advisors of the country you are jumping in when it comes to demos and water jumps, but the BSR says you have to get "the advice of the appropriate USPA S&TA, Instructor Examiner, or Regional Director" before making them, period.  My assumption has always been that they apply to US parachute centers (hence the name, USPA.)  Mike, however, recently said it doesn't matter what country you are jumping in, you ALWAYS have to follow the BSR's.

I worry that an approach like that will lead to less respect for the BSR's.  "Well, heck, you can't _not_ break the rules.  What's the difference if I break one or two, if I have to anyway?"

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To go back to the origin of all this, where is it stated, that USPA members must always follow the BSR's, as Mike Mullins suggested?

Any argument depends greatly on what the actual rule happens to be!

It really is supposed to apply all over the globe, 24/7? Or is it mainly aimed at the USA?

I can see why the USPA might have done it, to try to fight back against non USPA DZ's, sketchy or not, within the US.  I can see the USPA not wanting someone to have fun at a USPA DZ (where the USPA membership is needed) but also teach at the sketchy Pecos Parachute School at other times. One might or might not agree with that.

So if a BASE jumper with a BASE rig has some fun from a balloon or ultralight in the US, yeah that's violating the FARs. But if he is a USPA member, should the USPA consider it a violation of their BSR's too? He has to maintain his squeaky clean USPA standards 24/7?
 

24 minutes ago, peek said:

Unfortunately, this stuff is often not easy to understand. Mike and I have often called each other to discuss what some things mean and how to interpret and explain them.

Thanks. So I'm not quite as concerned as I initially was.  If the USPA is attempting global 24/7 control of a jumper, there seem to be some exceptions.

It's easy to misunderstand the "follow the FAR's" rule. It isn't about following the TEXT of the FAR's but about not actually committing an FAR violation -- which can't normally happen when in another country.

So it doesn't stop a USPA member from jumping from an ultralight aircraft with a BASE rig, in another country. Whether or not that is legal in another country.

The BSR's are good that do try to take some account of foreign operations, such as allowing jumps below age 18 outside the US, if OK with the local rules (although a USPA license won't be granted until 18).

What specifially would let one interpret all the USPA student training BSR's to only apply to students being trained in the USA? And thus try to control USPA DZ's, plus non-USPA DZ's (even if FAA legal), but not foreign DZs?

The BSR's after all say "All student training programs must be conducted under the direction and oversight of an appropriately rated USPA Instructor until the student is issued a USPA A license". If so, it would stop a CSPA instructor from instructing CSPA students, if the instructor happened to have a USPA membership.  Or does one wave ones hands around and say, "Well, the USPA doesn't really mean to shut down training around the world if someone happens to have a USPA membership, so don't worry about it. "?? 

But if one does that for outside the USA, why wouldn't that apply inside the USA too, and thus not interfere with non-USPA DZ's?

 

The BSR's don't have that many other requirements once one gets past the student stuff -- Much of it is stuff like no alcohol,  opening altitudes, max winds, and deployment altitudes. The details of those rules tend not to be too restrictive compared to many countries in the world. So there this USPA-global-control idea doesn't actually cause that many problems.

Still, conflicts will occur: 

In Canada, a jumper not jumping under voluntary CSPA rules, but jumping over some farm field, could legally pull low. But the USPA BSR's would try to restrict him from doing that.

Or, a while distances to obstacles are similar for the USPA and CSPA, the USPA happens to be stricter than the CSPA for a C licensed jumper. So the USPA wants its rules to apply, even on "a CSPA jump" if the jumper is dual rated?

And the water jump question is still open. Again, unless one waves ones hands around and claims some common sense exception, "Well, there are no USPA S&TA's at most places elsewhere in the world so that doesn't really apply."

The whole issue could still use some clarity about what exactly the USPA requires in its rules, and what it really intends the rules to do.

 

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12 hours ago, pchapman said:

The whole issue could still use some clarity about what exactly the USPA requires in its rules, and what it really intends the rules to do.

 

Peter, I wish I could provide that clarity in all cases, but I cannot. At least people like Mike Mullins and myself think about and discuss these issues. Many members do not.

To answer your main question, it is in the BSRs under "applicability". I would not argue with anyone who thinks that is too inclusive, or that it could be worded better.

 

Edited by peek

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13 hours ago, billvon said:

... but the BSR says you have to get "the advice of the appropriate USPA S&TA, Instructor Examiner, or Regional Director" before making them, period.

 

Bill, you are right, I missed that one. I think though that any type of communication with any of these individuals would suffice, and with the communication options available nowdays, that it could be done. (Even defining "the appropriate" might be a challenge. Since the defacto Regional Director for foreign DZs is the USPA HQ Director of Safety and Training, I guess he gets the email or the text!)

 

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6 hours ago, peek said:

To answer your main question, it is in the BSRs under "applicability". I would not argue with anyone who thinks that is too inclusive, or that it could be worded better.

 

Ok. Even there it just talks about applying to "all jumps" from aircrat, except military or emergency. While that technically sets no limits to location or time, it is still really only USPA's interpretation if they expect it to apply globally 24/7. Mike Mullins seems to believe it does, so as a director, his opinion has some weight.

I would want to see it clarified what the USPA really want. Most organizations' rules are intended only to apply to activity relating to that organization.

But I've spent enough time on this issue that really doesn't affect me anyway, although it would for other jumpers I know....

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Well considering what the SIM says itself:

Quote

B. THE SIM AND SKYDIVING’S SELF-POLICING PRINCIPLE OF REGULATION


Although USPA is a voluntary membership association with no regulatory power, USPA can suspend or revoke any USPA license, rating, award, appointment, or membership it issues, according to terms and conditions stated in the USPA Governance Manual. Compliance with the Basic Safety Requirements (BSRs) contained herein is mandatory for participation in USPA programs. The BSRs represent the commonly accepted standards for a reasonable level of safety.


However, the recommendations contained herein, unless otherwise stated (such as in the case of compliance with a Federal Aviation Regulation), are put forth as guidance and are not mandatory. Moreover, a deviation from these recommendations does not necessarily imply negligence and is not to be used in a court of law to demonstrate negligence.

Voluntary compliance with rules, recommendations, and standards within the SIM demonstrates that jumpers and drop zone operators are exercising self-regulation.

Quote

A. APPLICABILITY


1. These procedures apply to all jumps except those made under military orders, or those training personnel under military orders, and those made because of in-flight emergencies. Voluntary compliance with these procedures will protect the best interests of both the participants and the general public.

 

It would seem what Mr. Mullins is proposing is an overreach.  The section in the BSRs under APPLICABILITY reemphasizes that the procedures are voluntary

Edited by skycatcher68
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18 hours ago, skycatcher68 said:

Well considering what the SIM says itself:

It would seem what Mr. Mullins is proposing is an overreach.  The section in the BSRs under APPLICABILITY reemphasizes that the procedures are voluntary

Good point. Although first the rule is given, then it talks about voluntary compliance. So it is a bit vague on what exactly is voluntary -- the rule, or the compliance. E.g., "Murder is a crime. Voluntary compliance with this law will protect everyone."

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