0
GLIDEANGLE

Jumping while a jumper "missing".

Recommended Posts

In a recent incident thread there was discussion of how to handle “missing” jumpers.

I agree that it is important to be vigilant about noting that a jumper is missing and aggressively hunt for them. Yes, there are a variety of ways of doing that. Yes, it gets very complex at a busy DZ with multiple large aircraft.

An entirely different question is whether to jump or not while a jumper is missing.

Does not jumping help the missing jumper? It does not.
Does jumping harm the missing jumper? It does not.


There are quite few reasons for jumpers to be unaccounted for, the vast majority of which are benign. Given that, and the lack of impact on a missing jumper from continued operations… why not keep jumping? If it is personally offensive to you to jump while someone is missing… don’t get on the plane during that period.

If you are convinced that jumping while a jumper is “missing” is evil, how do you define “missing”?

1. Not seen since exit or freefall?
2. Seen under a good canopy, but not seen (or heard from by cel phone) since?

If you want to stop jumping for #2, be ready to spend a lot of time sitting around while jumpers who landed out are retrieved. At USPA Nationals a few years ago a teammate of mine was seen under a good canopy, but not seen landing. He was “missing” for 45 minutes, as the competition continued at full speed. He had simply landed out (as did our entire team), but he had chosen a different LZ than the rest of us, and then got disoriented and walked the wrong way (away from the DZ).
The choices we make have consequences, for us & for others!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
IMO, we go to manifest to get on a load. Why shouldn't we require jumpers to check back in with manifest after the load for a headcount?
Nobody has time to listen; because they're desperately chasing the need of being heard.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
GLIDEANGLE



Does not jumping help the missing jumper? It does not.
Does jumping harm the missing jumper? It does not.




I potentially disagree with both of those.

Does not jumping help the missing jumper?
Yes - it can do. A plane can be used for the search if necessary. Additional staff members whos attention would otherwise be diverted by jumping operations become available to help. First responders will be on the ground if someone is injured, rather than in the air.... there are lots of potential scenarios.

Does jumping harm the missing jumper?
If you discount all of the items above(!), then no - It doesn't directly cause physical harm. But it does take resources away from a search.


Note - we're not necessarily talking about jumpers who are landing out here. That may be where some of the confusion lies.
I'll try to explain in detail the way DZ control does work so as to clarify things for you.



Someone (usually a staff member) sits outside (and separate to the area where everyone is hanging around in works best), with a radio tuned to Dz ops.
When a lift is manifested and on the way to the plane, DZ control gets a copy of that manifest - They know how many jumpers are aboard each plane and what their plan is.
When all the jumpers are out, the plane sends a 'drop complete' message on the radio. Even before this, DZ control may have started counting canopies that are open and noting if there were any malfunctions.

There are a number of possible scenarios here, but I'll put a few up for examples:

1) DZ control counts the full complement of good canopies and sees they're all mains and all in the appropriate airspace to land back on the DZ.
RESULT: No change to operations. Jumping continues without interference.

2) DZ control counts the full complement of good canopies, but sees one is a reserve. All canopies will make it to the DZ.
RESULT: No change to operations. Jumping continues without interference.

3) DZ control counts the full complement of good canopies, but sees that one (or several) will not make it back to the DZ.
RESULT: DZ control informs operations, Jumping continues, but a car (with radio) is sent to find and pick up the jumpers. (Given everyone is under a good canopy and DZ control noted where the landings were, the likelihood is that everyone will land safely and be found OK, but a car is sent just in case. If there is an emergency the pickup car can communicate with the DZ.

4) DZ control does not count the appropriate number of canopies.
RESULT: Jumpers are asked to physically check back in over the tannoy and to locate their jumping partners. Jumping is suspended until it's worked out who is missing and a search has begun.

Again, I have never seen or heard of any jumper who had been frustrated at this type of interruption in over a decade of jumping. And yes, that includes at busy, competitive events.


If it's done well, DZ control barely impacts the daily routine of jumpers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
evan85

I'm not certain just yet where I stand on the ultimate question, but here's something additional -- couldn't jumpers (and planes) in the air help spot a downed jumper/canopy that could not be seen from the ground?




Yes, but only after you know someone is missing...

And honestly - would you want to be in the air with 20 other people who are spending part of their time looking for someone on the ground, rather than at what's going on around them? :|

I've been at dropzones where planes have been used after a while of someone being missing. It's not usually a first option.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
HeadInClouds

And is the missing jumper, who simply ran to the bathroom after landing, going to have to compensate the drop zone for the lost income from shutting down operations to look for him while he was sitting on the shitter?




Absolutely, at 5x interest.

They are also crucified at the bonfire that night and then drawn and quartered...

:S


In the extremely rare event of someone NOT checking in when requested, and also NOT being found by their jump buddies OR seen at landing, AND somehow hiding out on the DZ; how long do you think it is until someone would notice them? Or until they go to manifest for a load and are told 'we're not manifesting because you're missing...'? Or until they notice there are no loads going up and ask someone why?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
How about "It depends on the size and operation of the DZ"?

In post #4, the way SDC operates is described pretty well (or at least as I understand the operation).

In that case, there are people dedicated to searching for and retrieving "lost" jumpers.
They know when someone is missing and they go look for them.

I would assume that if the missing jumper is not quickly located, then a plane would be diverted (probably on descent) to help in the search.
In that case, continuing operations would not be a problem.

IIRC, there was an incident where someone landed out and got hurt (ambulance ride to the hospital "hurt") at Summerfest a couple years ago. The ground crew was on it and handled it very well. Ops didn't stop.
Nor did they stop when someone got killed in 2013. The accident site was well off the DZ and only a few people even knew it had happened.

For a small DZ, without that sort of support crew?

Stop. I've grabbed a radio and jumped in my car to chase missing jumpers. The radio kept me in contact with the other searchers and the pilot, who was searching from the air. The jumper was spotted from the air (canopy was easy to see), searchers on the ground were directed in and uninjured jumper was picked up.

Different situations, different levels of support crew, different response.
"There are NO situations which do not call for a French Maid outfit." Lucky McSwervy

"~ya don't GET old by being weak & stupid!" - Airtwardo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The real crux of this problem is the people sent out to search need to be prepared. If the DZ shuts down and sends out anyone regardless of training, it can turn into a shit show quickly. Lots of people who shouldn't go wandering out looking for someone will be tempted to. People who think they are in area A are really in area B, so no one searches area A. A few qualified, dedicated, knowledgeable personnel who stay in communication should be the ones looking and rendering aid as necessary. To send everybody everybody may actual hinder the whole search.

With the advent of wing suits we are seeing people further and further from the Drop Zone (real term, not the airport), the sky portion that has to be watched is getting wider and the time frame longer. That can lead to missed jumpers even with dedicated watchers.

I would love to hear from Bryan Burke on this. No one here has the knowledge and experience that he does in this area.

top
Jump more, post less!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
topdocker

To send everybody everybody may actual hinder the whole search.



Couldn't agree more. I think this is one of the drawbacks of moving from a club culture to a business / sport one. Most clubs have experienced jumpers who have been around a few seasons and are willing to lend a hand when it's needed, even if they're not on staff. They're ideal for the pick-up role if it's only an occasional thing and the dz doesn't have a free staff position.

That said, I've very limited experience with wingsuiting - you can't ask regular jumpers to regularly go and pick people up because they regularly miss the LZ. I could understand how that would get irritating fast... Once or twice a season, sure, but not once or twice a day.

Surely the emphasis has to either be on the wingsuiters to plan a dive which puts them in a good position to land on the DZ and maintain a standard of doing that, or the DZ has to accomodate regular off landings (with all the hazards that implies)?

Quote

I would love to hear from Bryan Burke on this. No one here has the knowledge and experience that he does in this area.



Same here.



Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Solos seem to be the issue here, but it brings up something else that has been a topic of discussion for me when jumping in groups:

Do you prearrange that if someone lands out that the group stays together, or at least handles accounting for the others in the group? Twice last week in Eloy a long spot (my fault, or the fault of the person I was jumping with) led to out landings on two way jumps. The first time we landed out together (having discussed it prior) and were picked up by Brian. The second time I couldn't make it back but the guy I was jumping with did. I don't think he realized I landed out and was already manifesting for the next load when I walked in to the parking area. I ended up walking back as no one noticed (I landed a ways North of the swoop pond) and had no major issues, but can only imagine how that could have gone had I screwed up the landing.

This was my first day jumping a new canopy, and my first out landing was my first jump on the new canopy, complete with downwind desert slide.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1888

It's been tried & it just doesn't work. It might if manifest refused to let the un checked in jumper on a load for the remainder of the day, but there would be a lot of bitching.



Just a thought... this has happened how many times in recent years?
Nobody has time to listen; because they're desperately chasing the need of being heard.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1888

It's been tried & it just doesn't work.



It has been tried and it works very well.

Netheravon in the UK springs immediately to mind - touch screen and everything.

Hibaldstow are one of the two busiest DZs in the country and they check people back in.

What do you mean by not working?
--
"I'll tell you how all skydivers are judged, . They are judged by the laws of physics." - kkeenan

"You jump out, pull the string and either live or die. What's there to be good at?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
BIGUN

IMO, we go to manifest to get on a load. Why shouldn't we require jumpers to check back in with manifest after the load for a headcount?



I've wondered this myself. They use to do this at Carolina Sky Sports and it worked very well. I'm surprised none of the manifest programs don't have this built in

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
BIGUN

IMO, we go to manifest to get on a load. Why shouldn't we require jumpers to check back in with manifest after the load for a headcount?



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

That is standard practice during night jumps.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Groups are responsible for ensuring that all their members safely return to the hangar.
For example, if one member of a four-way team suffers a malfunction, cuts away and finds himself hanging under a reserve -too low to make it back to the DZ - one of his team-mates should land beside him. A second team-mate should land beside his cutaway main canopy. A third team-mate should land beside his free-bag.
Ideally they all have cell phones in their jump-suit pockets.
Ideally, the fourth team-mate lands beside manifest and explains why everyone did not land on the DZ.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote




***I would love to hear from Bryan Burke on this. No one here has the knowledge and experience that he does in this area.



Same here.



I'm no Brian, but this is what is SOP at SDAZ.

The Ground Safety Officer looks for opening, mals, off DZ spots. To the best of his/her ability, they'll go pick off off-landings and cutaway gear. Not all are seen, especially very long spots, or wingsuits taking very longs spots. Sometimes, these people walk back. We do have a good safety system at the DZ, but I like the fact that personal responsibility is still valued.

I have never seen operations stop to look for someone. I have never seen operations stop to take care of an incident/accident/fatality.
Remster

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
A complex but possible system would be to sell bluetooth tags to the jumpers.
The newer versions have a range of 100+- feet.
This way you don't have to sign in after a jump, if you are within range you are (probably) OK.

If someone is missing you will be able to track the guy too :P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
HeadInClouds

And is the missing jumper, who simply ran to the bathroom after landing, going to have to compensate the drop zone for the lost income from shutting down operations to look for him while he was sitting on the shitter?



A few years ago in a major east coast boogie I took a guy on a wingsuit rodeo. This called for the rider to roll off at about 6-5k. This gives him enough time to get stable and pull high enough to make it back to the DZ.
Everything went off as planned except he landed right next to his trailer and took a nap.
I landed and went back to the Hangar. Upon realizing that he has not made it back I alerted the DZO and made it my mission to verify that he made it back. The DZO took this seriously and even though the landing area is HUGE, he sent up a 182 with an observer to look for a canopy in the trees that were way way off in the distance. Announcements were made, people were told to check in with manifest....two hours later, one of his buddies decides to go check the trailer just in case.
I feel like an idiot that I barely knew the guy's name and did not plan the dive with the landing. I felt like even more of an idiot that he was just in the trailer. I don't feel bad about being adamant to find him after the jump and informing the DZO.
The skydive ends when you are packed and ready to go home.

Maybe someone knows the story of the guy who femured and bled out for 3 hours 500ft from the hangar?
There are no dangerous dives
Only dangerous divers

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
At a busy dropzone, there could be several hundred people onsite who are jumping who have nothing to do with the missing person. They may not know them, they likely have never heard of them, they are not affiliated or associated with them. They have absolutely no interest or part in their being missing.

And they may not care. So to stop jumping for these people is purposeless.

Individual choices. Some wish to help, some do not, some will volunteer to search, some will choose ot stay jumping, some will choose to go home.

Not much different than driving by a car accident. If people are already helping, then why would everyone need to stop driving? Some will help, some will not. Leave it be.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
theplummeter


Do you prearrange that if someone lands out that the group stays together, or at least handles accounting for the others in the group?



The first option depends very much on circumstances, I think. How experienced is the initial person? Is he or she under a reserve? How experienced are the others in the group?

We should certainly be aware of where all of our group are landing - but while deliberately landing with someone else who is landing out is a compassionate thing to do, I don't think it's to be applied as a general rule. By definition the safest place to land is usually on the DZ - if we start encouraging people to think that the whole team lands out if one member does, we may be endangering more people than just one. Also, now the DZ are missing multiple people.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

0