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brodg

Is skydiving really safe?

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brodg

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There's probably less than 25 people in America who have ever reached that many jumps.



You're right, 10k is not representative. But I would say there are way more than 25 jumper with 10k jumps in the US.

But, again, if you (the OP) are trying to convince yourself that skydiving is safe using statistics, you 're not getting it.

Adding skydiving as a regular activity significantly increases the risks your take. Deluding yourself that it's safe only makes it more dangerous for you, and me, so please get it.



Mmm I don't why do you assume I'm trying to convince myself skydiving is safe. If you read my post you'll see that in fact I stated just the opposite: skydiving needs to be perceived as a dangerous activity in order to try and make it safer.

Because: "We always hear that skydiving can be a very safe sport, and I truly believe that, but statistics can disagree."
Remster

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Remster

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Quote

There's probably less than 25 people in America who have ever reached that many jumps.



You're right, 10k is not representative. But I would say there are way more than 25 jumper with 10k jumps in the US.

But, again, if you (the OP) are trying to convince yourself that skydiving is safe using statistics, you 're not getting it.

Adding skydiving as a regular activity significantly increases the risks your take. Deluding yourself that it's safe only makes it more dangerous for you, and me, so please get it.



Mmm I don't why do you assume I'm trying to convince myself skydiving is safe. If you read my post you'll see that in fact I stated just the opposite: skydiving needs to be perceived as a dangerous activity in order to try and make it safer.

Because: "We always hear that skydiving can be a very safe sport, and I truly believe that, but statistics can disagree."

I said "skydiving CAN BE a very safe sport", which doesn't mean skydiving IS a safe sport (it depends on how you approach it and practice it). I also said
Quote

I think everyone should know how dangerous this sport can be in order to take safety seriously

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According to the most recent USPA fatality summary, you can lower your risk of death during skydiving dramatically by

1. not participating in high-performance landings
2. installing an RSL/Skyhook
3. having an AAD that is turned on
4. proper gear selection and regular maintenance
5. cutting away malfunctioning canopies promptly instead of going far too low trying to fix them

About half of skydivers killed in 2013 in the United States didn't do one of those things. The fatality at our club in Japan also didn't follow them. Only one of these (#5) even takes place spontaneously in the sky. The others are decisions made on the ground (see my signature). And even #5 is easily avoidable by having a plan to handle such emergencies and sticking to it.

"So many fatalities and injuries are caused by decisions jumpers make before even getting into the aircraft. Skydiving can be safe AND fun at the same time...Honest." - Bill Booth

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Holy fuck there are some clueless know-it-all statisticians in this thread. To those of you saying the risk is not cumulative -- wake up and think about it for a second.

Imagine you have a coin: flip heads and you live, flip tails and you die. 50% chance of death on any one flip, right? Now, how likely is it that you will make it to fifty flips? Pretty fucking unlikely. Yes, the chance that it will come up tails on any one flip is 50%, but if you keep flipping that coin over and over, eventually your number is going to be up. REPEATED EXPOSURE TO RISK IS CUMULATIVE.

Apply the same situation to skydiving, except that this time, it is much less likely that you are ever going to flip tails. Let's imagine that the coin is weighted so that it will only ever land on tails once out of every 133,333 coin tosses. This is the equivalent of saying that on any one jump you have a 1/133,333 chance of death. Now keep flipping that coin. Again, as in the example above, the chance of death on any one dive is 1/133,333. But over a lifetime of jumping, you increase your exposure to the risk that the coin will come up tails.

On any one jump the risk is low. But do it over and over again and you increase the chance that your number comes up. It's that simple.

See here for a worked example: http://math.stackexchange.com/questions/29950/does-repeated-activity-increase-the-probability-of-a-specific-event-happening

If you replace the numbers in the answer with the correct statistic for risk of death on one skydive, you can calculate your relative risk of death over a lifetime of jumping by specifying the number of jumps you expect to do.

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I don't know enough about stats but based on the number of friends I have lost over the years I would say it is "not safe". I wouldn't say it is very dangerous either, just not safe.
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mcstain

Holy fuck there are some clueless know-it-all statisticians in this thread. To those of you saying the risk is not cumulative -- wake up and think about it for a second.

Imagine you have a coin: flip heads and you live, flip tails and you die. 50% chance of death on any one flip, right? Now, how likely is it that you will make it to fifty flips? Pretty fucking unlikely. Yes, the chance that it will come up tails on any one flip is 50%, but if you keep flipping that coin over and over, eventually your number is going to be up. REPEATED EXPOSURE TO RISK IS CUMULATIVE.

Apply the same situation to skydiving, except that this time, it is much less likely that you are ever going to flip tails. Let's imagine that the coin is weighted so that it will only ever land on tails once out of every 133,333 coin tosses. This is the equivalent of saying that on any one jump you have a 1/133,333 chance of death. Now keep flipping that coin. Again, as in the example above, the chance of death on any one dive is 1/133,333. But over a lifetime of jumping, you increase your exposure to the risk that the coin will come up tails.



That's not what "cumulative" means in this respect. I understand the math well, but not sure if they chose the correct phrase with "cumulative risk". The OP cocked up his math, subsequent posters fixed it and are correct. The OP was suggesting with his original math that if you skydive 133,000 times, that your risk of dying would be 100%, that for each jump you get away with, the chances the next one would kill you increases, as you get closer to the 133,000 number, your odds of death would slowly increase to 100% for any given jump.

"So many fatalities and injuries are caused by decisions jumpers make before even getting into the aircraft. Skydiving can be safe AND fun at the same time...Honest." - Bill Booth

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JeffCa

That's not what "cumulative" means in this respect. I understand the math well, but not sure if they chose the correct phrase with "cumulative risk". The OP cocked up his math, subsequent posters fixed it and are correct. The OP was suggesting with his original math that if you skydive 133,000 times, that your risk of dying would be 100%, that for each jump you get away with, the chances the next one would kill you increases, as you get closer to the 133,000 number, your odds of death would slowly increase to 100% for any given jump.



Right, thanks for clarifying. I've seen people make the argument that the risk doesn't add up over a lifetime of jumping before though.

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mcstain


Right, thanks for clarifying. I've seen people make the argument that the risk doesn't add up over a lifetime of jumping before though.



Risk for any one jump does not, unless you start factoring things in like higher-risk activities or over-confidence.

"So many fatalities and injuries are caused by decisions jumpers make before even getting into the aircraft. Skydiving can be safe AND fun at the same time...Honest." - Bill Booth

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I want to thank the few people who took the time to point out where my calculations were wrong (ghost47 and Di0) and those who gave their opinion without being fucking smart asses or disrespectful. I must say I’m amazed with how many condescending assholes this forum has, specially coming from such a friendly community (skydivers); you guys must have very sad lives to be so critic and arrogant about everything.

Anyway, I just wanted to say that the point of this thread wasn’t to prove if skydiving is dangerous or safe; it was only to show people, using some oversimplified numbers and statistics, that the sport can be very dangerous if you don’t pay attention to security and that safety depends a lot on how you see it. Yes, I made some wrong calculations, but at the end the final percent of my oversimplified and generalized chance of dying if you do 10k jumps throughout your life was 7.3% instead of my initial 7%, so I wasn’t that far off. You guys just got lost in the math and completely missed the point.

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FlyingRhenquest

Everyone I've met who I've mentioned I skydive to has said "Ooh, that's always been on my bucket list!" One of them was a DBA who was a co-worker of mine until he fell off a ladder at his house and died.



Climbing a ladder is on my bucket list, but I'm not a fan of the odds. ;)
Every fight is a food fight if you're a cannibal

Goodness is something to be chosen. When a man cannot choose, he ceases to be a man. - Anthony Burgess

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brodg

I want to thank the few people who took the time to point out where my calculations were wrong (ghost47 and Di0) and those who gave their opinion without being fucking smart asses or disrespectful. I must say I’m amazed with how many condescending assholes this forum has, specially coming from such a friendly community (skydivers); you guys must have very sad lives to be so critic and arrogant about everything.

Anyway, I just wanted to say that the point of this thread wasn’t to prove if skydiving is dangerous or safe; it was only to show people, using some oversimplified numbers and statistics, that the sport can be very dangerous if you don’t pay attention to security and that safety depends a lot on how you see it. Yes, I made some wrong calculations, but at the end the final percent of my oversimplified and generalized chance of dying if you do 10k jumps throughout your life was 7.3% instead of my initial 7%, so I wasn’t that far off. You guys just got lost in the math and completely missed the point.



Oh, boo. And hoo. Just shut up and jump. B|
Every fight is a food fight if you're a cannibal

Goodness is something to be chosen. When a man cannot choose, he ceases to be a man. - Anthony Burgess

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No dude. That's dumb.

You ARE saying that the risk is cumulative. That's exactly what you're implying above.

1. You don't understand statistics.
2. You might not even understand what you just wrote.
3. Skydiving still isn't safe.


Your exactly right. Skydiving is not now, nor has it ever been safe. Lay the brake handle back, and let the rough edges ride!! ;)
-Richard-
"You're Holding The Rope And I'm Taking The Fall"

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JeffCa

According to the most recent USPA fatality summary, you can lower your risk of death during skydiving dramatically by

1. not participating in high-performance landings
2. installing an RSL/Skyhook
3. having an AAD that is turned on
4. proper gear selection and regular maintenance
5. cutting away malfunctioning canopies promptly instead of going far too low trying to fix them



This is by far the most useful post in this thread, so I'm quoting it.

The raw statistics may or may not be interesting, but thinking of skydiving as merely rolling the dice in this way hides important truths. We are certainly taking some kind of risk on merely by exiting a plane, but we are far from passive participants in the gamble.
--
"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?

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Exactly, if you are going to get killed skydiving it's probably going to be human error that kills you - i.e. you fucked up.

Joellercoaster

***According to the most recent USPA fatality summary, you can lower your risk of death during skydiving dramatically by

1. not participating in high-performance landings
2. installing an RSL/Skyhook
3. having an AAD that is turned on
4. proper gear selection and regular maintenance
5. cutting away malfunctioning canopies promptly instead of going far too low trying to fix them



This is by far the most useful post in this thread, so I'm quoting it.

The raw statistics may or may not be interesting, but thinking of skydiving as merely rolling the dice in this way hides important truths. We are certainly taking some kind of risk on merely by exiting a plane, but we are far from passive participants in the gamble.

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brodg

skydiving needs to be perceived as a dangerous activity in order to try and make it safer.



That I do agree with.

Unless one is aware of the risks, then one cannot properly address them.
"The ground does not care who you are. It will always be tougher than the human behind the controls."

~ CanuckInUSA

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Arvoitus

The statistics are entirely irrelevant.

You can die skydiving. If that is not acceptable then don't do it. If a student (tandem/SL) ask me whats the worst that can happen to them, I'll them that they can die. If they can't deal with that then they shouldn't be jumping.



This.

Of course it's dangerous. But with risk attenuation, it's acceptably safe - for me. The exact same factors make it unacceptably dangerous for others - for them.

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I understand what you were trying to accomplish with this post. The industry that I work in is based around the same calculations for everything you do in life. Sometimes the numbers don't make sense to people, or they don't want to accept them, but sit down with someone who makes their living building mortality tables and you start to understand that it isn't a single person that makes the percentages accurate. It's a compilation of a community as a whole that makes them real.

I'm new to skydiving and am asked quite a lot about the dangers. To try and give what I consider a fair answer, I always start with the fact that it is dangerous. But I also tell them you can mitigate, but NEVER eliminate those dangers by staying prepared and aware.

I wish you only received advice and no criticisms here, unfortunately that is not the nature of this forum. You might want to try coming up with a statistic of how likely you are to get blasted on here as opposed to receiving solid advice. That number would be worth seeing for sure. And of course there are some, and I figured out who they are already, who will be a viable source of information.

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