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 Hello everybody, I’m brand new here and brand new to the sport, I have not even taken my AFF yet. I did my first tandem and loved it!  But I am very bothered by something and I think this definitely needs to be shared! I love adrenaline sports and partake in a few. I take them all very seriously because there is definitely risk so I started to do my research.

 Don’t get me wrong, I do understand that accidents and fatalities can be due to many different variables.

I have been calling around to a few of the drop zones to check things out, Davis is very reputable and everyone says great things about it but it is very very far for me, I’ve heard some mixed things about Lodi. I’ve asked a few skydivers what they thought of Monterey and a few very experienced people have told me that it is beautiful but you should be a seasoned diver before you jumped there. I thought that was an interesting statement?  I pursued a little further.  I found out in 2012 there was a guy named Gerardo Flores whos parachute deployed at 16,000 feet.  The C.E.O and chief safety officer of skydive Monterey, Jackie Behrick, and other divers said he should not of had a handheld camera and it was a huge distraction and what caused the incident.  After watching the video I found fault with those statements.  I have never done any skydiving but I also know what I saw, he was on his back and his parachute simply came out of the container.  I could be completely incorrect but that’s what it look like.

 Here was part of the story:

FAA Inspector Robinson looked over the parachute on Aug. 14, 2012, along with a parachute rigger examiner Allen Silver at Silver Parachute Sales & Services in Hayward, Calif.

 "The container showed signs of wear and tear that appeared beyond serviceable limits," the report continues. "The material on the flap of the reserve container was worn on numerous parts of the cover.

"The main parachute closing flap velcro was completely worn." 

Behrick's reply: It makes sense it was messed up after the jump. His ill-advised maneuvers led to damage, and for all she knows the paramedics who reached him on the ground cut up the rig.

Flores' lawyer, Oakland personal injury attorney David A. Kleczek, disagrees. 

"The parachute was a piece of garbage beyond serviceable limits," he says, "with intentional modifications that don't meet muster." 

Before she was aware of a lawsuit, Behrick issued a statement that the accident was due to diver error, not improperly checked or maintained equipment. 

Flores’s lawyer said there would likely be no lawsuit without the FAA report.

"If the report said the parachute was in perfect working condition, I don't think we would present a case," he says. "It all goes back to the parachute, above all else."

As far as the barrel roll, Kleczek says that was part of training administered by SDM themselves. 

"Their training course specifically calls for him to practice barrel rolls," he says.

 

SO.......

 The reason I am so irritated is because I just called Monterey and I asked if there had ever been any injuries, accidents or fatalities. I wanted to see if they would be honest.

I spoke with a lady named Dannie (or Danny) and recorded the call after the beginning because I could see where it was going with all of her probing after I told her my friend mentioned there had been an incident. She told me there have been no injuries, accidents or fatalities in Monterey EVER and I must have the wrong jump zone. She then said what sort of things have you heard? I asked if she was sure and she said yes, I even recorded it. I then continued to hear talk in the background and her pauses.  She was being fed what to say and she absolutely knew that she was not being truthful. As a good salesman you can tell when someone is selling you.  I was considering taking AFF there instead of Hollister because it’s so much closer, if they were honest with me I probably still would’ve done it there, they completely lied to my face.  What I find very funny about that behavior is this quote by the Monterey dropzone CEO and chief safety officer Jackie Behrick, "He declared a routine and was completely lying to my face."

Doesn’t feel very good to be lied to does it Jackie?!

 

p.s.  I really hate to start out this way and I really hope that I’m not hated for not being 100% on board with all the jump zones or backing this particular jump zone with this incident .

 And if I’m speaking with ignorance and there is something I don’t know or haven’t seen please kindly chime in and educate me, I’m not trying to be a hater, just really felt that this was bad form.

 

 here is the story and video in case this is new news 

http://www.montereycountyweekly.com/blogs/news_blog/man-sues-marina-s-skydive-monterey-bay-over-skydiving-crash/article_c2f5feee-a89e-11e3-9225-001a4bcf6878.html

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Did you tell them you were recording?  What is California's laws regarding recording a conversation?    I doubt there is a dropzone anywhere in the world that can say they have never had an injury.  How major or minor may depend on how they would answer your question.    People have different experiences at different dropzones.  If you go looking for dirt, there will be someone out there that will feed you dirt on any dropzone - whether its true or just even exaggerated.  

Good luck to you. 

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@RatelSquadron

- Every dropzone (unless it just opened) will have had accidents. Maybe not fatal, but there will be injuries.

- Dropzones might get just a little unethical or deceptive about accidents because they may be talking about their first jump students, or their students in general, but not licensed skydivers. The DZ wants you to know about the safety of their student programs, not what happens to experienced jumpers who take on more risk on their own. The DZ should be clear what they are talking about. A DZ may be fighting public misperceptions. If a skydiver dies at a dropzone, it often has nothing to do with the school or how students are treated. No more than how a ski school on the bunny slopes may be safe, while experienced skiers take the lifts to get to the backcountry where they do some dangerous things -- unrelated to the novice skier's experience.

- Gerado Flores was an idiot, liar,and a laughing stock among just about any skydiver who heard his tale.

- Some of the equipment he rented may have been older or worn, but that doesn't mean it was too bad to use. It may also have been less than suitable for some types of jumping (non-belly jumps). Gerado chose to jump it, and jumped it in a manner not consistent with what he told the dropzone he was going to do. 

   - Still, skydivers did debate whether the gear was suitable, whether it was just "older and worn but serviceable", or really was getting "a bit sketchy". Those of us out on the internet can't know for sure as we didn't see the equipment. We can't exonerate the DZ, but can't automatically blame it either.

- The gear inspection by the FAA and Allen Silver was an abomination, complete crap. While Allen Silver is highly respected in emergency parachute circles, I believe he was long out of sport skydiving. Maybe he was only given a very short time to inspect the gear.  In any case, any experienced skydiver reading the report would see it to be complete crap, being vague or erroneous or missing the point or not putting things in any sort of context. It left so many questions open, and failed to ask various important questions, that I can't draw any real conclusions from it about whether or not the gear was acceptable to jump. (For example, the report completely fails to note when some damage seen on the rig -- broken lines -- might likely be a result of Flores' jump and inadvertent opening, while making the non-skydiver reader think the damage existed before the jump. Two very different things.)

      - So it was terrible that that FAA report went out to the public and was used in media reports to try to discredit the dropzone.

Skydive Monterey should be clear when talking to people, just what they mean when they talk about their safety record.

 

 

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I'm confused what you're trying to accomplish with this? Skydiving is dangerous. Accidents happen. Equipment is constantly improving/changing. Knowledge is constantly changing/improving. Maybe the person you spoke with was new and wasn't aware of something that happened 7 years ago.

I think there may be a lot of things that you aren't considering, but I am interested in hearing your motivations.

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When plaintiff's lawyers get involved, facts get spun and cherry picked. It becomes difficult to sort out what really happened. P Chapman's post is the best short summary of what really happened in that Flores fiasco that I have ever read. It is balanced. 

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Why are you so vehemently lambasting a DZ that you've never been to over something that happened 7 years ago? For all you know, the person who you spoke with on the phone might not have even been working/jumping there when that happened. 

Did you ask your skydiver friends who told you that you should have some experience before jumping there what they meant by that? I've never jumped there, so I don't know -- and there might be valid reasons for them saying that (not a lot of options for landing out, weird wind patterns, etc), but that little piece of sensationalistic journalism about someone who got hurt (at least partially, if not fully) due to his own choices isn't one of them.

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YOU are responsible for your safety in skydiving. Doesn't matter who rented or sold you the gear you are jumping, who owns the airplane you jumped from, who owns the dz, who trained you. You. No one else.

Read the waiver before you sign it. It lays it all out.

Bashing a dz you have never been to based on what happened seven years ago or the fact that someone working there may not even know what happened seven years ago when you have zero experience in the sport,  not to mention illegally recording the conversation... well, that's probably not the best way to make friends in the sport. Or maybe even find a dz to jump at.

If you can't t take responsibility for your own decisions in skydiving,  please find something else to do.

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Jumped at Monterrey 15 -18 years ago. I was traveling and did not have a helmet, altimeter, or goggles with me. They said they would rent me each of those devices. For $5. Each. Per jump. Also had an indoor and an outdoor packing area. Don't know how it was phrased or presented, but the bottom line was there was a cost to use the indoor area. It was air conditioned, after all. This may have all changed by now. Back then, I understand the owners were on site and since then, they have relocated to one of their other DZs on the east coast. Quien sabe? 

Having said all that, I did not see anything unsafe while I was there. At that time, the aircraft appeared new and well maintained. Jump run was done up the wind line, and with appropriate time between jumpers, I easily made it back to the landing area. 

Would I jump there again? Probably. It would be like jumping at Lodi. (I would do that, too.)  You have to realize that you are acting as your own safety officer. Be alert, look around, keep your head on a swivel. 

Do you have the experience to do that? No, not at this point. That plus the fact that you are already predisposed to not trusting them would lead me to recommend you not do AFF there. 

I would recommend you do AFF somewhere else, get some experience, and then, if you want (and if you can), get on a load at Monterrey. The scenery is pretty spectacular. 

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7 hours ago, skybytch said:

YOU are responsible for your safety in skydiving. Doesn't matter who rented or sold you the gear you are jumping, who owns the airplane you jumped from, who owns the dz, who trained you. You. No one else.

In his defense, as a student skydiver one of the things you can do to be responsible for yourself is to try and find a dropzone and instructors you can trust, as you need to trust others to train and equip you properly, so I salute his efforts at doing research and asking questions, but he should not have recorded the conversation without permission.

Also, from a style POV, the post was a little much with the signs and lots of tags and large font.

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(edited)
16 hours ago, RatelSquadron said:

p.s.  I really hate to start out this way and I really hope that I’m not hated for not being 100% on board with all the jump zones or backing this particular jump zone with this incident .

 And if I’m speaking with ignorance and there is something I don’t know or haven’t seen please kindly chime in and educate me, I’m not trying to be a hater, just really felt that this was bad form.

I sincerely hope you DO NOT start jumping. Seriously, go fuck off with your bad attitude. Are you dense enough to think that this post would be well received, at all?

We are all aware of the accident, and the majority of us place blame on Flores. He was the primary contributor to his own accident. Why should the drop zone advertise to every caller that asks?

Additionally you are probably calling a manifest girl who may not be a skydiver and may not have any knowledge of the accident. It was a number of years ago, and drop zones get new staff frequently.

Skydiving is a people sport, and at first blush your people skills suck. Please research yourself into a new potential hobby instead of a new drop zone.

I think you should print out this post and show it to ever prospective drop zone that you are interviewing for the opportunity to deal with you. Since you are looking for full disclosure it is only fair that they know who you are too. They should know that you are quick to run to the internet, and probably quick to run to a lawyer if you stub your toe. You are going to be the student that disagrees with his instructor and has something to say about every point of constructive criticism. I'm rather glad you are on the west coast! See ya!

Edited by DougH
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After skimming through the post a second time, I have to agree with DougH’s response. It appears you’ll be difficult to work with since you already know everything and would likely blame them for your own mistakes. Nobody wants that headache. 

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1 hour ago, SethInMI said:

In his defense, as a student skydiver one of the things you can do to be responsible for yourself is to try and find a dropzone and instructors you can trust, as you need to trust others to train and equip you properly, so I salute his efforts at doing research and asking questions, but he should not have recorded the conversation without permission.

Also, from a style POV, the post was a little much with the signs and lots of tags and large font.

I agree with all of that. Research and asking questions are smart things to do. It's the questions being asked and that whole recording thing that make me think that the OP is not yet able to take personal responsibility for his choices. Totally coming across as someone I wouldn't want to jump with. I'd be too worried he would sue me if something happened.

 

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1 hour ago, skybytch said:

Totally coming across as someone I wouldn't want to jump with. I'd be too worried he would sue me if something happened.

I try to give people the benefit of the doubt, and if I do so I can imagine a situation where there is a new person at manifest who says "we got someone who wants to know about injuries / etc" and a senior employee thinks "I don't want another flores discussion" and tells the manifester to say "no we have never had a problem of any kind" just to get rid of the caller.

But I doubt that is what actually went down, as I just can't understand how any dropzone employee would claim the DZ to be injury free without a "spidey-sense" tingle from the conversation that it is not going in a useful direction.

Hopefully the OP comes back in here and explains some more to help clarify things.

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There were 8 deaths last year in the US and I think 3 maybe 4 so far this year.  They can happen anywhere.  What is more prevalent is accidents in general.  The broken femurs, ankles, pelvis are rarely reported.  I would recommend the thread about skydiving is a dangerous sport for more information.  If you plan to be in this sport, you will see people get injured and possibly worse.  

I think when people say you should be more seasoned they are talking about other things.  Like its by the coast so you have the possibility of water landings.   By the coast, may also mean some stiff westerly winds at times off the ocean.  Each dropzone has a few nearby hazards that are usually easily avoided and discussed before you jump. 

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The guy had a premie on student rental gear. Anyone with more than 2 months in the sport would likely be able to tell you what "freefly friendly" means, and that those words don't usually apply to rental gear. In addition to that, your main parachute is not to be trusted. If it comes out, you are to consider yourself lucky, and to second guess its air-worthiness by unstowing the brakes and performing a controlability check. If your EPs consist of geeking your handcam and narrating your death for all of your Facebook followers, it stands to reason that in an emergency you will end up recording a ludicrously stupid video that potentially ends with you going in. 

 

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1 hour ago, KBUDA said:

 If your EPs consist of geeking your handcam and narrating your death for all of your Facebook followers, it stands to reason that in an emergency you will end up recording a ludicrously stupid video that potentially ends with you going in. 

 

100% 

 

And thanks for sharing the Jhonny Florez video haha... I had seen references to it and the famous "shoelace mal" but now I understand the concept even more:D

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(edited)
On 5/7/2019 at 1:51 PM, jlmiracle said:

Did you tell them you were recording?  What is California's laws regarding recording a conversation?    I doubt there is a dropzone anywhere in the world that can say they have never had an injury.  How major or minor may depend on how they would answer your question.    People have different experiences at different dropzones.  If you go looking for dirt, there will be someone out there that will feed you dirt on any dropzone - whether its true or just even exaggerated.  

Good luck to you. 

 I hate to tell all of you this but I was a telemarketer for a long long time, I am very good at quickly but concisely saying this call is being monitored and recorded just like I do every time I record a call so I love how everybody is pissed off at the guy who got lied to about a safety issue, maybe I should’ve just kind of smiled and laughed and said oh, it’s OK to be lied to you because I’m sure all of you folks would appreciate being lied to you as well? Correct 

Edited by RatelSquadron

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On 5/8/2019 at 3:18 PM, kat00 said:

There were 8 deaths last year in the US and I think 3 maybe 4 so far this year.  They can happen anywhere.  What is more prevalent is accidents in general.  The broken femurs, ankles, pelvis are rarely reported.  I would recommend the thread about skydiving is a dangerous sport for more information.  If you plan to be in this sport, you will see people get injured and possibly worse.  

I think when people say you should be more seasoned they are talking about other things.  Like its by the coast so you have the possibility of water landings.   By the coast, may also mean some stiff westerly winds at times off the ocean.  Each dropzone has a few nearby hazards that are usually easily avoided and discussed before you jump. 

 Totally picking up what you’re throwing down, I know there are tons of variables and I know there is tons and tons of user error, my biggest issue was being blatantly lied to to try to get my business, if they had showed integrity, they would’ve had my business and my trust, now they have neither 

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(edited)
On 5/7/2019 at 1:35 PM, RatelSquadron said:

 Hello everybody, I’m brand new here and brand new to the sport, I have not even taken my AFF yet. I did my first tandem and loved it!  But I am very bothered by something and I think this definitely needs to be shared! I love adrenaline sports and partake in a few. I take them all very seriously because there is definitely risk so I started to do my research.

 Don’t get me wrong, I do understand that accidents and fatalities can be due to many different variables.

I have been calling around to a few of the drop zones to check things out, Davis is very reputable and everyone says great things about it but it is very very far for me, I’ve heard some mixed things about Lodi. I’ve asked a few skydivers what they thought of Monterey and a few very experienced people have told me that it is beautiful but you should be a seasoned diver before you jumped there. I thought that was an interesting statement?  I pursued a little further.  I found out in 2012 there was a guy named Gerardo Flores whos parachute deployed at 16,000 feet.  The C.E.O and chief safety officer of skydive Monterey, Jackie Behrick, and other divers said he should not of had a handheld camera and it was a huge distraction and what caused the incident.  After watching the video I found fault with those statements.  I have never done any skydiving but I also know what I saw, he was on his back and his parachute simply came out of the container.  I could be completely incorrect but that’s what it look like.

 Here was part of the story:

FAA Inspector Robinson looked over the parachute on Aug. 14, 2012, along with a parachute rigger examiner Allen Silver at Silver Parachute Sales & Services in Hayward, Calif.

 "The container showed signs of wear and tear that appeared beyond serviceable limits," the report continues. "The material on the flap of the reserve container was worn on numerous parts of the cover.

"The main parachute closing flap velcro was completely worn." 

Behrick's reply: It makes sense it was messed up after the jump. His ill-advised maneuvers led to damage, and for all she knows the paramedics who reached him on the ground cut up the rig.

Flores' lawyer, Oakland personal injury attorney David A. Kleczek, disagrees. 

"The parachute was a piece of garbage beyond serviceable limits," he says, "with intentional modifications that don't meet muster." 

Before she was aware of a lawsuit, Behrick issued a statement that the accident was due to diver error, not improperly checked or maintained equipment. 

Flores’s lawyer said there would likely be no lawsuit without the FAA report.

"If the report said the parachute was in perfect working condition, I don't think we would present a case," he says. "It all goes back to the parachute, above all else."

As far as the barrel roll, Kleczek says that was part of training administered by SDM themselves. 

"Their training course specifically calls for him to practice barrel rolls," he says.

 

SO.......

 The reason I am so irritated is because I just called Monterey and I asked if there had ever been any injuries, accidents or fatalities. I wanted to see if they would be honest.

I spoke with a lady named Dannie (or Danny) and recorded the call after the beginning because I could see where it was going with all of her probing after I told her my friend mentioned there had been an incident. She told me there have been no injuries, accidents or fatalities in Monterey EVER and I must have the wrong jump zone. She then said what sort of things have you heard? I asked if she was sure and she said yes, I even recorded it. I then continued to hear talk in the background and her pauses.  She was being fed what to say and she absolutely knew that she was not being truthful. As a good salesman you can tell when someone is selling you.  I was considering taking AFF there instead of Hollister because it’s so much closer, if they were honest with me I probably still would’ve done it there, they completely lied to my face.  What I find very funny about that behavior is this quote by the Monterey dropzone CEO and chief safety officer Jackie Behrick, "He declared a routine and was completely lying to my face."

Doesn’t feel very good to be lied to does it Jackie?!

 

p.s.  I really hate to start out this way and I really hope that I’m not hated for not being 100% on board with all the jump zones or backing this particular jump zone with this incident .

 And if I’m speaking with ignorance and there is something I don’t know or haven’t seen please kindly chime in and educate me, I’m not trying to be a hater, just really felt that this was bad form.

 

 here is the story and video in case this is new news 

http://www.montereycountyweekly.com/blogs/news_blog/man-sues-marina-s-skydive-monterey-bay-over-skydiving-crash/article_c2f5feee-a89e-11e3-9225-001a4bcf6878.html

This is just absolutely blows me away, all of you folks obviously are not understanding the position of someone brand new and looking at this without  experience.  This is what I read 

Inspector Wilbert Robinson of the Federal Aviation Association filed a report on the incident.

"Main Chute appeared to have deployed prematurely, while he was on his back, as he performed what appeared to be a barrel roll," the report reads. "He then lost consciousness as he descended to the ground."

The report continues from mid-barrel roll: "The hand deploy pilot chute prematurely deployed out of its pouch which appeared to cause the unintentional deployment of the main parachute at 13,000 feet."”

 

 Then after reading  I called to see what they would say and instead of owning  I purposely and blatantly lied about it .  The fact is that some issue did happen at their zone and  instead of explaining it they decided to purposely and blatantly lie, I have nothing to say about the accident itself, for all I know the student did something incorrectly, maybe the gear was bad, maybe the gear was fine, none of that matters, the bottom line is someone called to ask about it and it was purposely lied about, this is not cool and does not make someone feel like there is integrity  amongst jumpers or jump zones .

 I’ve obviously pissed a bunch of you off but honestly I don’t care because you’re not putting yourself in my position,  you were just hating because you were trying to defend one of your own but the problem is you were defending and position that seems shouldn’t be defended. if you had read closely you would’ve seen that it was definitely not a post that I wanted to post but I felt it was incredibly poor that they did this and other people should know of this experience.

Edited by RatelSquadron

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