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MIKELOCK34

Is skydiving dangerous? (Was - Fatality Perris 18 Mar 2019)

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On 3/20/2019 at 3:13 PM, jacketsdb23 said:

Relevant post by Dan BC after this accident:

It is with great sadness that I feel it necessary to bring these skydiving safety issues up again. A couple of weeks ago I had two friends tell me that on a jump they looked up at their parachutes which weren’t working properly, actually heard my voice in their heads telling them to “Cut that crap away!” and cut away immediately. They both landed safely and wrote humorous posts about it. This past weekend I had two other friends look up at their parachutes which weren’t working properly. One cut away too late, one didn’t cut away at all. We’re very lucky to have one of those of friends still with us. No funny posts this time.
How is this possible? I’ll tell you. Please, please listen carefully.
Most skydivers, probably you, make these two mistakes first:
1) Underestimate the potential risk involved on any given jump
2) Overestimate their ability and readiness to handle that risk

Understand this; SKYDIVING IS NOT A SAFE SPORT. It is a dangerous sport that can be done safely. To do it safely you need to expect everything that can go wrong to go wrong on each jump.
-Expect that something is wrong with your gear when you do a gear check. -Expect to have other jumpers close to you on opening. -Expect your audible and visual altimeters not to work. -Expect to have a hard pull. -Expect to have a malfunction. -Expect other canopies to be coming at you.
How much would you be looking for air traffic if you knew other jumpers were close to you on opening?
How sharp would you be about altitude awareness if you didn’t have any kind of altimeter?
How hard would you pull on the first try if you were expecting a hard pull?
How much would you practice your emergency procedures if you knew you were going to have a malfunction on the next jump?

Many Special Forces soldiers from the US and around the world train at Skydive Perris. They are experts in risk and readiness. All of them practice their EPs every morning for about 10 minutes before jumping. Do you? Are you more prepared than they are? I seriously doubt it.

The Red Bull skydiving team members are close friends of mine who I knew as young jumpers. They do dangerous jumps. I worry about them, but I know they understand and accept the increased risk and they do all they can to prepare for it. Do you truly understand the risk? Are you prepared for it? Are you really?

Being prepared means anticipating emergencies and having made emergency decisions before the emergency happens. You need to decide NOW that if you ever deploy your main, look up at it and aren’t 100% sure it’s good, you are going to cut away immediately. Bad canopies generally get worse and executing your emergency procedures only becomes more difficult the longer you’re under a spinning malfunction.
Expect a malfunction so you’re not surprised. Being surprised will slow down your response. Take a breath and calmly and immediately execute your EPs.
Don’t just know your EPs, be great at them!
The first step of any EP is “looking” for your handles. Look first! When you’re under canopy, especially a malfunctioning canopy your handles won’t be in the same place as when you’re wearing your rig on the ground.
Most skydivers, probably you, make these two mistakes first:
1) Underestimate the potential risk involved on any given jump
2) Overestimate their ability and readiness to handle that risk

Coming to you with much love towards our community and sport, and insane frustration when we’re complacent. Please share. www.danbrodsky-chenfeld.com

More about safetly:
https://skydiveperris.com/b/so-youre-a-baddass/
https://skydiveperris.com/b/the-question-to-ask-when-choos…/
https://skydiveperris.com/b/what-is-the-most-dangerous-way…/
https://skydiveperris.com/b/our-enemy-is-complacency/

I disagree. Skydiving is a very safe sport. It can be made dangerous by poor training, poor ability, poor decision making, equipment malfunction and so on.

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Answers from the other thread:  (forum bug prevented moving these)

 


Interstellar_court:

Please tell me you are joking. You can have the MOST skill, the MOST training, the BEST critical thinking skills, the BEST equipment, and NONE of that makes it safe. These precautions only make it safer. It is a very much dangerous sport that can be done safely. I think you might have the risks of skydiving and the risks of a sport like bowling confused. I think that failing to acknowledge the risks associated, or becoming complacent, can only increase the risk overall. 

Dudeman17:

You could not be more wrong. Your profile doesn't state your experience, but I'm coming up on 40 years in the sport, 30 of them as an instructor, and I'm not saying that I disagree with you, I'm telling you you're wrong.

Dan BC is among the most experienced, respected, and wisest people in our sport, and you, I, and anyone else would do well to heed his advice. So much so that part of his profession is that people in and out of our sport hire him to give it. You should re-read his post and anything else you can find of his about 58 times or whatever it takes to penetrate your skull before you make your next jump.

Meat_missile:

Compared to what? The only sport I can think of that is more dangerous than skydiving is BASE.

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What part of falling straight down at 120 mph (ish), relying only on some nylon and your ability to execute emergency procedures to save your ass - at approximately 6 seconds to impact if you don't do something or that nylon fails - seems safe to you? 

I'm guessing you have yet to witness a fatality or have a friend die skydiving.  You probably haven't seen or known someone get badly injured while skydiving. 

Skydiving is not safe. You can do everything right and still die. You can not remove every risk factor to make it a safe activity. It's not a safe activity.  

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17 hours ago, skybytch said:

...Skydiving is not safe. You can do everything right and still die. You can not remove every risk factor to make it a safe activity. It's not a safe activity.  

You are not now and never will be good enough to not die in this sport.

 

Remember, stepping out of that plane may be the last thing you ever do.

 

Don't take anything up in the plane you aren't willing to lose. That includes you.

 

If you aren't careful and thorough and smart, you can easily die in this sport. If you are careful, thorough and smart, you will get to watch your friends die.

 

Those are all quotes I've either read on here or heard in person.

What other sport has an annual fatality report from the national organization?

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19 hours ago, Nabz said:

I see it at my DZ people with 3-4-7 thousand jumps, they are still as careful as the newbies. 

That’s because when old farts started jumping, newbies were more likely to die. That’s no longer true, so we still have to be careful. It’s how we got old. 

Wendy P. (old fart)

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You can add to that the fact that 30-odd years ago skydiving use to hurt.  As a student parachutist one would jump worn out modified ex-World War II C9 round chutes. Every landing felt like someone hitting you with a lump hammer.  The pain on every jump helped reinforce that skydiving is dangerous, you need to be careful up there.

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On 3/30/2019 at 7:55 AM, wolfriverjoe said:

What other sport has an annual fatality report from the national organization?

Well, the American Alpine Club publishes “Accidents in North American Mountaineering” annually — though according to that micromort list, saying “skydiving is less dangerous than mountaineering” doesn’t really mean squat. ;)

Skydiving is dangerous.

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On 3/30/2019 at 4:55 AM, wolfriverjoe said:

 

What other sport has an annual fatality report from the national organization?

Several. SCUBA, rock climbing, mountaineering, motor vehicle racing, and several others I am sure. Then of course there are all the activities that are not sports but have closely tracked fatalities.

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(edited)
1 hour ago, skydiverwannabe said:

On a more positive note, skydiving reached record safety last year:

https://parachutistonline.com/p/Article/skydiving-reaches-record-growth-and-safety

I wonder, of those 13 fatalities, how many are caused by human error and could have been prevented.

Well depending on how detailed you want to be, you could argue that almost all forms of death are preventable or at least delayable. You could have ate better (heart attack), not gone out (accident caused by someone else), not driven a car (car crash), not walked down that dark alley (crime), ect, ect. Even if the death was 100% related to equipment you could argue the skydiver could have jumped newer gear in better condition or chosen a different, more reputable brand, chosen a larger canopy, ect, ect.

Edited by 20kN

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(edited)
On 3/31/2019 at 6:42 AM, neilmck said:

You can add to that the fact that 30-odd years ago skydiving use to hurt.  As a student parachutist one would jump worn out modified ex-World War II C9 round chutes. Every landing felt like someone hitting you with a lump hammer.

 

While I don't deny that it was so at some point in the past, I think what you describe is further back than 30 years ago.  My first jump was nearly 36 years ago at SWOOP (South Western Ontario Organization of Parachutists) then in Grand Bend, Ontario, Canada.  Student jumpers at SWOOP jumped Sierra round canopies, not military surplus gear.  And SWOOP was actually a bit behind the curve.  The other DZ at the same airport--Grand Bend Sport Parachuting Center--was already using ram air canopies for first jump students even as far back as 1983 IIRC.

 

I wouldn't describe every landing under a Sierra round as being like "someone hitting me with a lump hammer".  Some landings were like that, but those were definitely landings on which I didn't do a good PLF.

 

The openings under Sierra rounds, however, were much harder than anything I've experienced under a modern square canopy (once I progressed under the S/L student system to delays long enough to have a Sierra opening at terminal).

 

Edited by SivaGanesha

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(edited)

I guess it comes down to in what country and what DZ you jumped at.  (The Pond was a lot bigger then).  At then end of my time on rounds I did jump at a DZ with new sport chutes and the landings were considerably softer.

I have recently returned to the sport after a 25-year break and it is a lot safer than before.  Better kit, doors on planes, RSL, AAD, flight patterns and stricter regulation all play a part.  However, even though it is safer the sport still involves jumping out of an aeroplane leaving you with only 60 seconds to live, spending the first 45 seconds playing around and enjoying yourself and only when you have 15 seconds left to live do you start doing something to save your life. If anything goes wrong you only have a handful of seconds to sort it out.  I agree the sport is dangerous and pretending it isn't is tempting fate.

Edited by neilmck

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I'm just a noob, but... yeah. I'll preach to the choir. It's markedly more dangerous than most activities that people do. We have incident reports, an annual safety day, and constant revision of basic practices and gear to try and eliminate as much of the risk as possible because the risk is substantial.

User 20kN posted above that "one skydive is roughly equivalent in risk to driving 1,840 miles". I've driven distances like that, and I am always keenly aware of how much risk it entails. I don't like to do it. I actually strongly prefer to fly long distances because the aggregate risk is much lower. So, if a single skydive is equivalent to that much driving, it really puts the inherent risk of the sport in perspective. The only justification for it is the sheer fun factor.

And complacency and normalization of deviance are soooooo sneaky. There's a tension between wanting to be super duper safe and wanting to relax and focus on fun and progression. The best heuristic to make good decisions is that progression and fun are impossible if you are injured or dead.

What I think is also fair to say is that the true level of risk and the average wuffo perception of that risk are very disconnected.

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4 hours ago, neilmck said:

..with only 60 seconds to live, spending the first 45 seconds playing around and enjoying yourself and only when you have 15 seconds left to live do you start doing something to save your life...

xD that is an interesting, if accurate, way of looking at it!...but you have to admit it's quite hilarious too!

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(edited)
2 hours ago, rapanui said:

What I think is also fair to say is that the true level of risk and the average wuffo perception of that risk are very disconnected.

I would have to agree with that. Perhaps mikelock34 is new to the sport and found that it is practiced more safely than he expected. It would be interesting to hear from him again and see if his perception has changed since his original post.

Edited by dudeman17

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if you want the opinion of a complete noob... and i mean..... i did one tandem a few weeks ago and instantly decided to get a licence and have been reading everything there is till i do it (hello by the way)

i don't expect to get in any real trouble skydiving, as long as i get good instruction and don't get complacent on safety/practising, keep my wits about me and assume everyone is out to kill me

as with anything, the important bit there is the ...... "as long as" complacency kills, i have a dangerous job... i like snowboarding the back county for the pow, climbing ridges to find said pow... riding motorbikes... and drive more then 1840 miles a year! lol 

ill rate how good my instructors are based on how well they explain the theory that ... its only not dangerous as f***... if you assume it will kill you

i tell everyone i teach to snowboard... or ride bikes

just cos your paranoid, doesn't mean there not out to get you, be paranoid, it,ll keep you alive 

just my 2 cents, i cant wait to learn

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1 hour ago, oneofmanyjoes said:

if you want the opinion of a complete noob... and i mean..... i did one tandem a few weeks ago and instantly decided to get a licence and have been reading everything there is till i do it (hello by the way)

i don't expect to get in any real trouble skydiving, as long as i get good instruction and don't get complacent on safety/practising, keep my wits about me and assume everyone is out to kill me

as with anything, the important bit there is the ...... "as long as" complacency kills, i have a dangerous job... i like snowboarding the back county for the pow, climbing ridges to find said pow... riding motorbikes... and drive more then 1840 miles a year! lol 

ill rate how good my instructors are based on how well they explain the theory that ... its only not dangerous as f***... if you assume it will kill you

i tell everyone i teach to snowboard... or ride bikes

just cos your paranoid, doesn't mean there not out to get you, be paranoid, it,ll keep you alive 

just my 2 cents, i cant wait to learn

I mean definition of danger is different for people. If you ride a motorbike, specifically superbike, skydiving is a safe sport for you.

--

but tbh, life is just a numbers game. There's a chance of fatality in every single activity you can imagine. It's just trying to reduce the chance of it by following the safety instructions. Same scenario in driving, riding, swimming in a pool, walking to the shopping mall, etc. At the end of the day, skydiving is slightly more dangerous!!

 

Edited by ghostdog

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19 hours ago, ghostdog said:

I mean definition of danger is different for people.

Well people dont get to just make up their own definitions of a word. that's not really how languages work. they 'think' the word means whatever they want, they would just be wrong.  The word has a specific meaning and the dictionary will tell you what that meaning is.

Edited by Westerly

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2 hours ago, Westerly said:

Well people dont get to just make up their own definitions of a word. that's not really how languages work. they 'think' the word means whatever they want, they would just be wrong.  The word has a specific meaning and the dictionary will tell you what that meaning is.

If we are going to get that far into the weeds of the definition of English words I would propose that a more correct word to express the idea we are reaching for here is "perception". As in "the perception of danger is different for different people".

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Skydiving is much less dangerous than most of your daily activities. I stress safety twenty-four hours a day. "Everything" is dangerous out of context. Skydiving is a very safe sport made dangerous by people who get ahead of their training and abilities. I see people constantly putting themselves in very dangerous situations while skydiving and laughing about it later. If skydiving is dangerous to you, it is because you are making it so. Current training programs and equipment are in place to keep us safe. It is the individual who makes skydiving unsafe not the sport itself.

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