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aguila

skydivers voluntarily quitting the sport?

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Things have changed since you were jumping a lot, Phil. Now nearly everyone has AADs, lots of people use packers, and the US as a whole is far more risk-averse than they were 20+ years ago. They start with a tandem, and have audible altimeters so they don't have to calibrate their eyeballs.

Yeah, I think some people really don't realize that the danger can, in fact, apply to them too. That was probably true earlier, but not as true. Because more landings hurt (you start on a round, you're going to pound in at least one where it smarts), skills were generally not as good (so there was less predictability), and some rules were still being established, so people had to think about the consequences, rather than expecting "the system" to continue working.

Wendy W.
There is nothing more dangerous than breaking a basic safety rule and getting away with it. It removes fear of the consequences and builds false confidence. (tbrown)

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You're going to see a lot of people start quitting skydiving if people don't slow the fuck up when landing in traffic.



There are things though that you can do to reduce the risk of people running into you (at least if you're at a 1-plane dropzone like most of us.)

Open up and get in brakes. Even though I don't particularly, even on my Triathalon 99, I'm normally one of the last 1 or 2 to land before the tandems. I have a PD 150 I jump when I feel like really going slow.. But just having a canopy that you can hang out in deep brakes in up high and let all the yahoos land first - goes a long way to ensuring your safety.

W

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Lots. People burn out of the sport, of the politics, of attending funerals of their friends. The average life of a jumper was about 3 years, 150 jumps accourding to the USPA a few years back. There is a second group that lasted about 6 years if I remember right. There are not many people that last more then 10 years in the sport and are still jumping.


I don't see the average life being @150 jumps when the average number is 1 in 100,000 chances of a double malfunction. Even with canopy collisions, the number seems false.
Regardless of what the facts are, the only time I don't feel safe, is under canopy. There aren't any real regulations when landing or some kind of grounding on a person to make a landing error (wrong way, etc). Dropzones and the USPA should wake up and do something on this. I'm the last one that is gung ho on rules and believe skydiving should be about flying free, etc. There are just too many canopy accidents to sit around waiting for the next one to occur.
Graduating AFF doesn't even require any kind of canopy control or flight pattern awareness.
For example:
Swooping is in one area, regular landing pattern goes in a different spot. If there is only one spot, you need to do a hop n' pop to swoop, which most swoopers do anyway. If you go against the landing pattern in the main area, you are grounded for a month, etc. 2 violations within a year, you're suspended for 6 months and so on.
As much as I can't stand "rules", this is on acception. It's easy to not see people in the air and accidents will always happen, but enforcing some kind of landing codes will raise a little more awareness on the dropzone.
Kind of off topic, but oh well.

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The "life" of a jumper is measured in how long are they active in the sport, not how long do they actaully live. Most people join, do about 30-50 jumps a year and quit after a few years. There is a second group that does about 100-150 jumps a year and quits after about 6 years.
Yesterday is history
And tomorrow is a mystery

Parachutemanuals.com

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I have made friends, but they and myself jump a lot wherever we go and we all know when its light were jumpin and we'll have plenty of time at night to bs and talk about the jumps and stuff
don't try your bullshit with me!!!

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Yes. It's a very easy sport to walk away from, but a very difficult sport to get over.



Amen to that, I tried to quit once after about 7 years in the sport, sold my rig the whole nine yards. Wasn't really fun anymore because all my friends had quit jumping, lots of jerks with attitudes at the DZ's (especially staff and pickup RW), also I had hurt my back (not related) ...so in short, I thought I could walk away...but then I found out about 3-4 months later I was miserable .... bought another rig, and now I jump when I want (once a month or so). Its all about the sky to me, can't imagine ever not jumping again.

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Skydiving is addictive. Do you know any skydiver (not a student) who has quit skydiving because s/he just wanted to do so with no pressures from family, work, money, health, etc?



Get back to us after a few more jumps, if you don't keep it interesting you'll drift away too.

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Is there anything wrong with quitting just because you're not interested anymore?

I say to myself that I can quit whenever I want, and that even though I'm getting my own gear, I can just sell it if I don't want to jump.

Really no point in doing something expensive, time consuming and unsafe if it's not fun.

But I keep wanting to jump, and it's getting more and more fun as I'm learning new things.

So that's my attitude, I'll just jump for fun, and if it's not fun anymore, I'll find something else to do.

:)
Relax, you can die if you mess up, but it will probably not be by bullet.

I'm a BIG, TOUGH BIGWAY FORMATION SKYDIVER! What are you?

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I can't believe risk is much of a factor when it comes to leaving the sport, except in cases of wanting to swap to a new risk arena. Why would a person accept the risk when entering the sport and then later, as they got better thus reducing the risk level, decide it is too risky.



An example might be exactly along Diverdriver's line of argument: you may trust yourself more but start realising that you can't trust other people. The string of incidents on canopy collisions just reinforces that type of thinking. Put another way, you start to realise that there are risks in the sport that are different to the ones you accepted when you got into it.



DiverDriver has it exactly right. I am fine with the risks that I assume when I jump. I have a real problem with the "its all about me" people who are killing themselves and others by flying canopies that are inappropriate for their skills, the conditions, or both.

Being told to land out so that I am not "in the way of my swoop" is unacceptable. Due to injury, I don't like parahiking much. Punk-ass kids telling me to stay out of their way... I don't think so. I have the skills to land my canopy close to the pickup point. If I can do that safely, I will. If the swoopers have to cut off their swoop because of traffic (me), tough shit. You aren't entitled to all of the air space, all of the time. Hang back, pull higher, or swoop farther out. Stay the hell out of my airspace. And keep your mouth shut when you have to thump in your landing because you jump a canopy that is too small. If you are going to be stupid, you better be tough. These same people have the way cool full face helmets studded with fancy electronic gadgets. They can't hear a damn thing under canopy. Their ears are covered. No matter how loud I whistle, they can't hear it over the iPod.

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I think there are absolutely people that just leave the sport because its not interesting to them, or at least its no longer worth the hassle.

I haven't quit the sport, and i do not plan to, but there have been times where i have thought about it. Im entering my 10th year skydiving, and my interests in the sport have ebbed and flowed, and generally how interested i have been in the sport has really depended on how accessible my interests i nthe sport were.

My first few years, through the beginning of my freeflying, i was blessed to learn at a small-ish dropzone that had a tight group of jumpers of very high caliber, so i always got to jump with people who were very good and it felt like i was progressing quickly. also, since i was a newer jumper and since i wasn't really spending a lot of nights at the dz, i wasn't really privy to the political side of the sport.

after graduating from college, i moved farther away from my original dz, but the learning continued as i lived close to 2 very good dzs in terms of skill level. i continued to learn freeflying, and i thought i was developing nicely -- not really that good, but safe and getting to do some really cool stuff with the big boys.

then the last 2 years, i havent had much money because of law school and i have moved into the city, where im farther from both dzs as i used to be, and there is more to do than in the burbs. also, while i love the sport and spent the better part of the last 10 years obssessing about it, constantly pinign for skydiving and missing other things (like hanging out with friends, going out in the city with my new classmates) got kind of old, so i dialed it back a bit. also, in the 2 years, it felt that since i wasn't jumping as much, i kind of lost touch other jumpers..the atmosphere wasn't as fun or welcoming as it used to be, especially at the bigger dz. im not blaming anyone -- obviously people that are "regulars" are going to be more friendly with each other, know each other more, and generally be more at ease with each other than with people that only show up occasionally.

this year, im ready to get back in the saddle, but the fact i havent jumped much the last couple of years has me a bit nervous. also, i know that because of my lack of jumping, im not as good as i used to be, which is frustrating considering the amount of money this sport costs. also, the people at the dz i will be jumping at are great and i now realize that to have fun with this sport i need to do it regularly (for safety reasons and for the purposes of just improvement).

still, given the time commitment this takes, the alternatives, and the expenses involved, there were times where i could understand perfectly why someone would want to do something else -- it's not that i couldnt afford skydiving or that i couldn't dedicate my saturdays to it, but the combination sometimes made it more fun to do something else.

when all is said and done, though, i can't see myself ever really quitting. i could, however see myself having groups of years where i jump a lot with years "off" in between where i do 50 or so jumps just to keep the rust off.

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I love skydiving, and love it more and more with each jump. What's gotten old to me is the lifestyle. I can see myself quitting or being much less hardcore because of that. I would like to have some whuffo friends. Maybe even a girlfriend one day. :o

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I know lots who quit because they decided to for whatever reason, but being forced to quit is not easy...

My body is making me “quit” or rather reduce my annual jump numbers from 600+ down to maybe 20, maybe less - maybe I should just retire and accept it.

I had a large tumor in my spine and it attacked my nervous system, the doc had to take out an awful lot of vertebrae bone to get the tumor out thus exposing around 4 inches of my spinal cord with very little protection. One really hard opening or botched landing could put me in a wheelchair. Sure it is a risky sport and even more so for me now but I just cannot bring myself to accept that it is over. After having a post-op meeting with my doc, he got me to realize the severity of the situation I walked out of the hospital, sat in the grass and wept intensely, as if I had lost a loved one.

I do not want to walk away from skydiving, especially instructing.

Skydiving changed my life for the better, it made me more self confident, help me battle severe depression and helped me to quiet my demons and I have seen it do the same for many of the students I have worked with over the years.

I miss it immensely; I miss the serenity of freefall and the beauty of the sky under canopy. I miss night jumps, SCR ceremonies, and watching students “get it”.

But by far - most of all, I miss being around the most wonderful group of people who probably would not come together socially without the activity of skydiving that binds them together into a close knit society.

It sucks, and the sooner I accept this loss in my life the better because my body is damaged for the rest of my days…

But for now, I will just keep praying for a miracle...
-
Mykel AFF-I10
Skydiving Priorities: 1) Open Canopy. 2) Land Safely. 3) Don’t hurt anyone. 4) Repeat…

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How in the world did you go supposedly replying to me, yet "quote" someone ELSE altogether, entirely? :S



I hate that.

...
Driving is a one dimensional activity - a monkey can do it - being proud of your driving abilities is like being proud of being able to put on pants

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"its all about me" people .. told to land out .. Punk-ass kids telling me .. tough shit... Stay the hell out of my airspace. And keep your mouth shut.



It sounds to me like it's all about you.:o

If you're hit in the back and killed, does it really matter who's fault it is? Sure, send the swoopers somewhere else - but still watch your back as much as you can. If a 50 yard walk halves your risk, I'll take that walk.

t
It's the year of the Pig.

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Skydiving changed my life for the better, it made me more self confident, help me battle severe depression and helped me to quiet my demons and I have seen it do the same for many of the students I have worked with over the years.

I miss it immensely; I miss the serenity of freefall and the beauty of the sky under canopy. I miss night jumps, SCR ceremonies, and watching students “get it”.

But by far - most of all, I miss being around the most wonderful group of people who probably would not come together socially without the activity of skydiving that binds them together into a close knit society.

It sucks, and the sooner I accept this loss in my life the better because my body is damaged for the rest of my days…

But for now, I will just keep praying for a miracle...
-


......................................................................

AFFI...This is really well written. I sincerely hope there is a way you can somehow stay in the sport somehow. If not, I hope you can find happiness in something else of your choosing. We are all pulling for you....Steve1

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[ Why would a person accept the risk when entering the sport and then later, as they got better thus reducing the risk level, decide it is too risky.[/rep
.........................................................................

I don't think a lot of new jumpers realize how dangerous our sport is. Experienced jumpers have been in the sport for years, and have lost friends due to fatalities. And then there are all those serious injuries that sometimes happen to someone you know, or even to yourself. I think you gain a whole new perspective on how dangerous our sport truly is, when that happens.....Steve1

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Why would a person accept the risk when entering the sport and then later, as they got better thus reducing the risk level, decide it is too risky.



Because they got older. This is a phenomenon that's well studied in academia. On average people get more risk-averse as they age. Also women tend to be more risk-averse than men, shorter people than taller people, poor people than wealthy people, and so on. All averages, so we should not be surprised when we see the same averages being borne out again.

There are (at least) two ways to promote the sport
1- cater to people already willing to accept the risk
2- work on convincing the world that the risks are worth accepting, that it's OK to do dangerous things when the benefits outweigh the costs.

Type 1 is easier because these people you just need to draw out of the woodwork. This is your standard radio ad or newspaper advertisement. Let people know where the DZ is and these people will tend to show up on their own. But it predisposes you to receive the underlying population based on what they already think.

Type 2 is harder, it's the kind of thing that needs broad marketing campaigns, seductive placement in media like movies and TV shows etc and such that a single DZ isn't going to be able to do alone, and ought not to do alone. The USPA or a similar ecumenical (for lack of a better word) institution would be well placed to do this, and would be do well to tap members for connections to major media and social outlets. This type of approach is more expensive, but it allows you to cultivate demographics. Some demographics might be more receptive to the idea than others--for instance recent retirees might have both more disposable income and free time than recent parents, and in spite of their predisposition (due to age) to avoid risk retirees might be easier to solicit than parents.
My advice is to do what your parents did; get a job, sir. The bums will always lose. Do you hear me, Lebowski?

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2- work on convincing the world that the risks are worth accepting, that it's OK to do dangerous things when the benefits outweigh the costs.



Err, you mean you need to convince the world that the benefits actually exceed the costs. Your truth isn't someone else's truth when it comes to making the decision.

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I quit after 20 years because the whole routine just finally got too boring. Not necessarily the jumping out of the airplane part but the hour and a half drive each way to the DZ, constantly being hounded to do AFF and tandems when I hadn't planned on working, the same assholes constantly patting themsleves on the back because they're so cool and shit hot in the air and on the ground, the ride to altitude crammed in with 19 other people either burning up from the heat or freezing to death from the cold not to mention that over the years nine friends killed in the sport. Still, there's not a figure you could give that I'd take for the experience of those 20 years.
The older I get the less I care who I piss off.

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Because they got older.



Wheee!! I'm not average! I started on round parachutes and now jump a 93 sq ft crossbrace, and that at 5000 ft AMSL where it's hot in the summer!

Not everyone stops living when they get old.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jackie_Stewart

He's a pensioner now, and runs a school that garentees to cut 20 seconds off your opening lap time. And he still drives like a star!

t
It's the year of the Pig.

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Because they got older.



Wheee!! I'm not average! I started on round parachutes and now jump a 93 sq ft crossbrace, and that at 5000 ft AMSL where it's hot in the summer!

Not everyone stops living when they get old.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jackie_Stewart

He's a pensioner now, and runs a school that garentees to cut 20 seconds off your opening lap time. And he still drives like a star!

t




Although I have not jumped for a very long time I guess I never really considered it quitting; more like not being current. For myself, I planned on coming back to skydiving as I got too old for more physically demanding sports, that is if skydiving doesn't get too mainstream. But I too am probably not nearly average...

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