Some exhibition jump advice ...

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Independence Day in the US is just around the corner and a number of you have made your plans to do some type of demo jump, perhaps at a place you have not yet jumped. Hopefully you have all planned these jumps well.

Here is how not to do it. This example from a few weeks ago is provided by a long time friend and fellow demo jumper, who I suppose thought that he didn't need to do the needed planning because he was so experienced, having planned many demo jumps in the old days.

1. I guess he was originally planning to use the C182 drop zone plane and pilot, I don't know.

2. I happened to fly my (jump) plane to the DZ, but did not plan to use it for jumping. No one had contacted me earlier.

3. They started suggesting that he use my plane, so I asked him about how he had planned the jump, and if he had given the required "notifications". (See below.)

4. He started going "blah, blah, blah" about "airspace this and that", and I immediately knew he hadn't done anything, so I said "no", (which makes me the bad guy, right?)

5. So there was a visiting turbine aircraft at the DZ that day and they agreed to fly him to the demo. They left, but came back a while later. He couldn't find the demo site!

6. He asks me to fly him over there and try again, and you can imagine what I told him.

So here is a better way to do that part of the demo preparation:

1. Go ahead and figure out how to make the proper notifications, (as required by FAR 105). Other hint: Some of this needs to be done before the day of the demo.

Mike Mullins and I even wrote an article about this! http://www.dropzone.com/safety/General_Safety/Jumping_Away_from_the_Normal_Dropzone_896.html

2. Using the aviation map that you have used to prepare the "notification", cross reference the demo site with Google Maps or similar. Print the aviation map, the Google aerial photo, and the Google road map, and take them with you in the airplane.

3. There you go, it's really that simple. (Well, maybe not simple, as it may still be a challenge to find the demo site in some cases.) Having a ground crew with a big colorful target helps!

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You left out getting demo insurance and a ground crew that can keep the spectators safely away from the LZ.

Yes, those are good ideas, but my post was to show an example of what NOT to do. It is actually one of the most ridiculous things I have seen, short of hurting someone on the ground.

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Get a good ground crew leader and a couple of others who know their stuff. Pay the ground crew. Yes. Actual money. Neon vests with SKYDIVER GROUND CREW printed on them, streamer pole in a stand-(can't expect any crew to stand there and hold it forever.) Radio with the freq's written large on a piece of paper taped to it. A "No Go" panel, entire ground crew attends the FAA Briefing with you, ...the list goes on.

Without a good ground crew, you are just a gambler.

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