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SStewart

Eliminating the National Directors

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I am backing Jerry Baumchen on the cloud regulations.

The problem reared its ugly head back during the 1960s when a bunch of skydivers jumped from a World War 2 surplus B-25 Mitchell bomber. They were over clouds and mistakenly exited over Lake Erie. Most of them drowned after they landed their Para-Commanders in the lake. Part of the blame can be ascribed to crude electronic navigation instruments and part of the blame can be put I on an FAA air traffic controller who followed the wrong airplane (a single-engined Beechcraft Bonanza) on ATC radar. ATC gave the B-25 pilot permission to drop when the Bonanaza was over the DZ. Too bad that the B-25 was many miles to the North. The FAA vowed "never again" and banned all jumps through clouds. Since then electronic navigation instruments have improved vastly, to the point that GPS is far more reliable than human skydiving instructors "spotting" by looking out the door.

As far back as the 1980s, I was jumping (not North American airspace) when the pilot told me to exit, based upon his reading of VOR. The worst I ever had to do was walk from the far end of the runway. Ever since then I have cheerfully exited when pilots tell me to. Mind, you, I also back up their judgement with sideways glances at landmarks off to the side of the airport. Quite often I called the spot as "early" or "late" just based on landmarks off to the side of the airport.

Modern GPS is far more accurate.

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