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airdvr

Lodi skydiving center owner ordered to pay $40 million to family of teen killed in tandem jump

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17 minutes ago, airdvr said:

That is some weak shit, man. If you are too afraid to tell us what you think first just start another useless poll on Bonfire.

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35 minutes ago, airdvr said:

Well I don't know that much about him or his operation.  I've heard things but I'm interested in the opinions of people who know way more about him than me.

I think he's a brilliant businessman who understands and caters to his market better than most. He understands that, by and large, skydivers are whores for cheap jumps and big airplanes. He knows that they don't give a rats ass about safety when freedom from personal responsibility and a shorter drive are on offer. He knew instinctively that jumpers will jump where their friends jump and all other considerations are far, far down the list. And, he knew that same level of concern applied to the general public. The kid who died was from Los Banos. Northern California has more DZ's than Carter has little liver pills. How many that charge more than Dause's $99 tariff do you think he drove past to get the deal?

He also realized long ago that USPA was a flimsy organization controlled by self serving individuals who, as long as they were getting theirs, would let him operate however he wished with no more than an occasional wrist slap. Do you think Sherri Butcher will come out condemning him for putting an unqualified instructor on the jump? So what do I think? I think in many ways and for decades he was a spot on reflection of our basest instincts. 

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An excessive pecuniary judgement from an American court, in whole or in part. Even though courts are only supposed to coldly weigh facts. Issues like "certified instructors", other fatalities, are painted by plaintiffs lawyers as all important.

It works the same way in other proceedings civil and criminal. Accidents,history, standards, complaints, etc. are all ammunition to pound the nail of damages in the minds of juries.

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2 minutes ago, JoeWeber said:

I think he's a brilliant businessman who understands and caters to his market better than most. He understands that, by and large, skydivers are whores for cheap jumps and big airplanes. ...

They really are. Especially for younger customers who can't or won't see the nuances of safety and expense of operation.

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It's one thing to buy the cheapest food or clothes or accommodations; it's hard to live without those. Skydiving (especially a first tandem) is not a need, and shouldn't be bought by price.

In a rule of law/social contract kind of world (which, BTW, the US is also along with USPA), how do you deal with the people who go right up to the edge of the law, either for their own entertainment, or for their own enrichment, or for their own power?

To me, that's really the key question. We're in a rather mature system, and people are really learning how to manipulate it for their own ends. In the past, that's ended with a new king taking over for the attenuated line, or a lack of sons, or a coup, or a revolution. I'm not sure that's a desirable transition.

In that last paragraph, I'm talking more about the US than about Lodi, but, well, they're facets of the same thing.

Wendy P.

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4 minutes ago, wmw999 said:

In a rule of law/social contract kind of world (which, BTW, the US is also along with USPA), how do you deal with the people who go right up to the edge of the law, either for their own entertainment, or for their own enrichment, or for their own power?

Those profiting need to make the decision that the extra money isn't worth the soul corrosion. They need to say no, not here. They need to be willing to watch that money walk away. 

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The problem is the people who don't recognize that line. It'd be satisfying to slap them, but maybe the answer is to take out ads in local media identifying issues. This settlement will go some way, but in some ways remember that there is no such thing as bad publicity.

Maybe his insurance company will drop him. I'm assuming he doesn't have the forty million himself.

Wendy P.

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(edited)
8 minutes ago, wmw999 said:

The problem is the people who don't recognize that line. It'd be satisfying to slap them, but maybe the answer is to take out ads in local media identifying issues. This settlement will go some way, but in some ways remember that there is no such thing as bad publicity.

Maybe his insurance company will drop him. I'm assuming he doesn't have the forty million himself.

Wendy P.

From the story quoted he attempts to use the shield of corporations to shield his personal liabilities. Thats why the judgement was against him personally.

"People don't recognize that line". Exactly, engine overhauls are expensive but likely only the pilot, the A/C engineer and the owner know the facts. In this case the instructor's training and actions where "likely" the sole cause. Thats why insurers insert "sole clause" provisions in their contracts.

Edited by Phil1111

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(edited)
19 minutes ago, wmw999 said:

The problem is the people who don't recognize that line. It'd be satisfying to slap them, but maybe the answer is to take out ads in local media identifying issues. This settlement will go some way, but in some ways remember that there is no such thing as bad publicity.

Maybe his insurance company will drop him. I'm assuming he doesn't have the forty million himself.

Wendy P.

Wrong approach. It has always been in the hands of the customers. He has no more liability insurance than the Uninsured Relative Workshop who sells him 40 Tandem rigs every few years and it certainly isn't their fault. If he has any aircraft insurance, and you might be surprised how often that's not the case in skydiving, and does get cancelled there will always be another carrier somewhere at some price. Also there is never, unless you are buying a rider for a TV jump for one example, aircraft passenger liability insurance. Only the customers have the power.

Edited by JoeWeber

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Lodi is what skydiving used to be. Duct tape, beer cans, roaches (both varieties) and dirtbags. It's been the outlaw biker bar of the sport for as long as I've been jumping.

Bill Dause is the guy in the movie Fandango.  ;-)  

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1 hour ago, skybytch said:

Lodi is what skydiving used to be. Duct tape, beer cans, roaches (both varieties) and dirtbags. It's been the outlaw biker bar of the sport for as long as I've been jumping.

Agreed.  And honestly I am fine with that.  Skydivers know what they are getting into.

The problem is that tandems don't.  Once you carry paying passengers who aren't "part of skydiving" a different set of rules applies.

 

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9 minutes ago, billvon said:

Skydivers should know what they are getting into.

Fixed it for ya. 

9 minutes ago, billvon said:

The problem is that tandems don't.  Once you carry paying passengers who aren't "part of skydiving" a different set of rules applies.

Yup. Lodi is running on a pre 1990s dz business model. Doesn't work in today's market. I doubt that business model would work today even if a dz did no tandem and/or student jumps - duct tape and drunk pilots are no longer acceptable.  

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1 hour ago, billvon said:

Agreed.  And honestly I am fine with that.  Skydivers know what they are getting into.

The problem is that tandems don't.  Once you carry paying passengers who aren't "part of skydiving" a different set of rules applies.

 

I agree as well.  Any smart business owner knows the downside to skirting the rules.  Sounds like Bill was down to the panties.

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15 minutes ago, wmw999 said:

Maybe if there were a generalized move to have a sign in the office of DZ's saying "ask to see our FAA paperwork" (assuming it's a reasonable thing -- I really don't know, frankly).

Wendy P.

What FAA paperwork? TI medicals? Pilot certificates? Reserve packing data cards? Annual/100hr inspection sign offs?All meaningless. Rigger DZO's fudge it all of the time. IA/AP DZO's and Aircraft operators fudge inspections and times and cycles, too. Ever wonder why that Twin Otter that did 4 summer boogies was never in the shop during the tour?

My problem is that I'm a prisoner of what I know. When I was in the aircraft leasing game-Twin Otters and Caravans-I saw a lot of half assed BS at different DZ's. A lot of DZ's that lease aircraft are happy just to get the plane. Quality maintenance and trained pilots aren't a major concern. Some aircraft lessors don't care because the FAA training requirements are a joke and easily met, inspections rarely happen, and insurance nearly always pays.

We're getting better, so we have that going for us.

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57 minutes ago, JoeWeber said:

Quality maintenance and trained pilots aren't a major concern. Some aircraft lessors don't care because the FAA training requirements are a joke and easily met, inspections rarely happen, and insurance nearly always pays.

That is what being under Part 91 brings to US skydiving. Less expense and less accountability. A two edged sword. But irrelevant to this incident.

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14 minutes ago, gowlerk said:

That is what being under Part 91 brings to US skydiving. Less expense and less accountability. A two edged sword. But irrelevant to this incident.

Not necessarily irrelevant. Part 135 would bring an entirely different level of visibility, maintenance inspections and FAA oversight to skydiving. Dause apparently believes he can get away with anything because anyone dumb enough to jump at Lodi deserves what they get. Don't scoff, that is the entire thrust of his argument for innocence. In a part 135 environment certificates are really at risk and compliance is backed up with real penalties. The chance of what happened in this instance would be greatly reduced.

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59 minutes ago, JoeWeber said:

In a part 135 environment certificates are really at risk and compliance is backed up with real penalties.

The barrier to entry is also greatly increased. It would result in fewer better DZs and would allow pricing to be less cutthroat.

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3 hours ago, skybytch said:

Fixed it for ya. 

Yup. Lodi is running on a pre 1990s dz business model. Doesn't work in today's market. I doubt that business model would work today even if a dz did no tandem and/or student jumps - duct tape and drunk pilots are no longer acceptable.  

I call that "generational stagnation."

Tom McCarthy (DZO Gananocque, Ontario) explained the concept to me more than 30 years ago.

Tom said: "There are guys in town who have the same hair cut, same wife, same taste in music, same muscle car, same job, etc. as when they graduated high school.

Tom is the only non-CSPA DZO that I respect. Tom led the industry in freefall FJC, harness-hold jumps, IAD, piggybacks for students, hand-deploy for students, tandem, etc. Tom was one of those - rare - DZOs that knew more than CSPA.

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