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MikeTJumps

Sunday's report: USPA BOD meeting

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I agree with vector that comparing a PRO rating with flying a wingsuit is apples to tires. PRO rating has to do with performing in public as ambassadors of the sport.
~Misses the point of educating licensed skydivers completely.

Besides, you actually don't need a USPA Pro rating to do a demo - just FAA certificate of proficiency. The PRO rating is one way of getting that, but not the only way.
~Yup, and even if adopted...there will surely be fledgling wingsuiters that opt to forgo standardized instruction even if it's a smart thing to do...so what?

Finally, the proficiency card signature requirement states:

"Received instruction from an experienced
PRO rating holder, S&TA, I/E, or licensed
pilot in...."

So the instruction does NOT have to come from an instructor, it can be just another PRO rated skydiver. An S&TA can sign, yet does not have to hold an instructor rating. There is no "PRO Rating Instructor" rating that I can see.
~Nope, just an actual written down set of requirements that must be met prior to obtaining the rating...again, oversight & instruction of licensed skydivers that want to safely perform something out of the generally taught parameters.
If that's apples to tires, I ain't riding anywhere with you!
:ph34r:



I wasn't inviting you to drive with me, just be consistent in your argument.
~I was, you were making non relevant comparisons not me.

The discussion was regarding whether licensed skydivers currently get required specific instruction called for to hold an advanced additional rating, one that utilizes gear more often than not unfamiliar to said participant.

I have shown that yes in fact that does currently take place, so it's nothing new, revolutionary or anything to be feared.


There is NO advanced discipline in skydiving, including the PRO rating, that requires a USPA rated discipline specific instructor. None.
~I guess you could argue the specifics of discipline...I mean it's ALL skydiving from the cheap seats.

Where do ya draw a line, something that changes the EP's, manner of exit, choice of spot, requires notification from the suit manufacturer about discontinuing the use of certain handles because of safety concerns...etc., to most of us represents something other than the average skydive.

Call it whatever makes ya warm & fuzzy, it's different than what's taught away from involvement in it - and to argue a standardized system of oversight & instruction is senseless because we 'missed the boat' with HP canopies is ridiculous.


Requiring it for one discipline opens the very big can of worms. Particularly since it is a discipline that, in fact, does not have an accident record nearly so bad as some others.
~I'm not afraid of worms, they're quite harmless and very useful...
That's an argument is totally without merit, to say it shouldn't be done because it 'might, maybe, could' have some kind of negative effect ...that is never detailed or explained is laughable at best.

The 'Beyond Here Be Dragons' justification for remaining stagnant has long past...I hope!

And are you actually proposing we wait until more accidents happen until we address a situation that seems to be progressing with a negative trend?

Did we learn nothing from the past years in this regard?











~ If you choke a Smurf, what color does it turn? ~

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Requiring it for one discipline opens the very big can of worms. Particularly since it is a discipline that, in fact, does not have an accident record nearly so bad as some others.



I do find it odd that wingsuiting would be the discipline being chosen to spearhead this.

If they want to open that can - seems there is a different and obvious discipline that should have been chosen first to be the test case to see how the membership reacts to this type of proposal.

...
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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Requiring it for one discipline opens the very big can of worms. Particularly since it is a discipline that, in fact, does not have an accident record nearly so bad as some others.



I do find it odd that wingsuiting would be the discipline being chosen to spearhead this.

If they want to open that can - seems there is a different and obvious discipline that should have been chosen first to be the test case to see how the membership reacts to this type of proposal.



Hey I'm all for structured education and meeting requirements etc. for HP canopies too.

But lets consider a worst case scenario for a moment...

When a 'swooper' screws up he takes himself and sometimes another innocent 'skydiver' out.
Nature of the beast, not saying it's right, but 'we' know the risks.

What happens when / if a wingsuiter takes off an AC tail?
We just threw a bomb at an unsuspecting 'public'...and we knew it 'could' possibly happen yet did nothing to 'self-police' who is trained and how.

Is that a stretch? ...maybe - maybe not.

What do you want to bet there will be some kind of negative repercussions regarding the Taylorville incident this past weekend.

Not wingsuit related, but imagine if it were, and there were fatalities on the ground...and some mouthpiece dug into tail-strike trends and lack of approved 'structured' training in avoiding that.

That there ARE risks with wingsuits is undeniable, ignoring the addressing OF those risks in an intelligent, considered format is playing Russian roulette.

Play long enough and eventually ya WILL lose, taking a few rounds out of the cylinder now is the smart thing to do.










~ If you choke a Smurf, what color does it turn? ~

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What happens when / if a wingsuiter takes off an AC tail?
We just threw a bomb at an unsuspecting 'public'...and we knew it 'could' possibly happen yet did nothing to 'self-police' who is trained and how. .



First, tail strikes happen without wingsuits, too.

Second, walk me through how a WSI rating solves this, please. I have yet to hear anyone say "he struck the tail because he wasn't trained to stay small." Based on the information that I've seen, the tail strikes have been by experienced wingsuiters in large suits. In fact, the one fatality from a tail strike we can point to was one of my wingsuit instructors, for example. I know he knew how to miss the tail - he taught me how to miss the tail. He got complacent. Complacency kills.

And if it is complacency that is killing, what would actually be MORE effective in stopping tail strikes this is NOT a rating, but something more along the lines of the "Awareness Builder" option I described earlier in the thread. A reminder that tail strikes kill, etc. - something that all wingsuiters should be reminded of, not just a one time FFC.

And the purported reason for a WSI rating is something long the line of "because if we don't do something, the FAA will do X, Y, or Z to us", then I'll share an email conversation I had with Randy Ottinger (USPA's Government Relations rep). Last week, I was told by another wingsuiter that "FAA is considering reclassifing wingsuits as gliders - or something else - or otherwise banning wingsuits" and later told that "if there's even one incident involving a wingsuiter and an aircraft, FAA is ready to shut wingsuiting down in the US".

Since Randy deals with FAA as his day job (props to him, that's a thankless gig), I asked him if these statements were consistent was his experience. He wrote back, "Not sure of your sources, but I’ve never heard the FAA (Flight Standards) make any of the statements you mentioned... no proposed regulation, no threats, intimidation, citing incidents, or even discussion of wingsuiting during our frequent conversations."

Given FAA's likely budget cuts, I suppose I am not surprised.

As I've said before, there are good reasons for a WSI rating; the FAA boogeyman is not one of them.
Skwrl Productions - Wingsuit Photography

Northeast Bird School - Chief Logistics Guy and Video Dork

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Hey I'm all for structured education and meeting requirements etc. for HP canopies too.



I didn't say I was for that also, I just said it was the bigger bull in the china shop.


there's three types of people:

1 - those that don't do the right thing (or at least believe that of others) unless they are forced to - they think structure and regulation is the right thing to do to force the nitwits to act right. And that makes sense for them. They truly are trying to save everybody else. I'm grateful for them.

2 - those that do the right thing regardless (or at least believe that of others) - they don't think the absence or presence of formal structure and regulation really makes a difference and consider it a waste of time. They figure the nitwits are nitwits regardless and most can't be saved and don't want to be anyway. And that also makes sense for them. I'm sympathetic to this, mainly because I see tons of impotent rules and laws given constant obliviousness in everyday life and in our sport. (seriously, if you're at a dropzone where people won't even wipe off the ketchup from the picnic table at night, do you really expect these people to choose to follow a rigorous certification program?)

3 - those that would do the right thing, but they don't really know what it is (or think that of others) - they cry "education, not regulation". Very forgiving crowd. They don't believe in nitwits, just ignorance that can be fixed.

I tend to fall in the 2nd camp - however, I also see a lot of nitwits that clearly rationalize the position of the first camp.


Having standardized training, I think is nice, it gives us a nice baseline to teach from rather than having to make it up from scratch. But it allows the curriculum nazi/lawyer types to become annoying jackasses.

but that's just me. I'm happy just to see the dialogue - if we get the visibility out there, maybe some really good and caring mentors will step up at the personal level and really make a difference in a few newbies. (with or without any new rules) :P (IMHO - what we are hoping for is a culture change - I just don't think rules do that, I think smart and caring people do that and it takes time - IMHO)

...
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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As I've said before, there are good reasons for a WSI rating; the FAA boogeyman is not one of them.

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Agreed...nowhere in my post did I say anything about the FAA instigating change. I was thinking more of a civil nature causing problems.

But...on the boogeyman theme - at a recent airshow I performed in there was a minor accident that was attributed to the use of a camera on a jumper.
The FAA rep on-sight made the 'strong recommendation' that all 'outside' cameras be removed from the jumpers and the performing aircraft...and further stated that rules are created when recommendations are ignored.

'nuff said, LOTS of cameras were immediately removed. :)











~ If you choke a Smurf, what color does it turn? ~

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I didn't say I was for that also, I just said it was the bigger bull in the china shop.

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Understood, by 'too' I meant in addition to 'my' desire for structured education on wingsuits.

Didn't mean to imply you were stating it as a favorable thing...but I can see how my wording is confusing.











~ If you choke a Smurf, what color does it turn? ~

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Requiring it for one discipline opens the very big can of worms. Particularly since it is a discipline that, in fact, does not have an accident record nearly so bad as some others.



I do find it odd that wingsuiting would be the discipline being chosen to spearhead this.

If they want to open that can - seems there is a different and obvious discipline that should have been chosen first to be the test case to see how the membership reacts to this type of proposal.



Hey I'm all for structured education and meeting requirements etc. for HP canopies too.

But lets consider a worst case scenario for a moment...

When a 'swooper' screws up he takes himself and sometimes another innocent 'skydiver' out.
Nature of the beast, not saying it's right, but 'we' know the risks.

What happens when / if a wingsuiter takes off an AC tail?
We just threw a bomb at an unsuspecting 'public'...and we knew it 'could' possibly happen yet did nothing to 'self-police' who is trained and how.

Is that a stretch? ...maybe - maybe not.

What do you want to bet there will be some kind of negative repercussions regarding the Taylorville incident this past weekend.

Not wingsuit related, but imagine if it were, and there were fatalities on the ground...and some mouthpiece dug into tail-strike trends and lack of approved 'structured' training in avoiding that.

That there ARE risks with wingsuits is undeniable, ignoring the addressing OF those risks in an intelligent, considered format is playing Russian roulette.

Play long enough and eventually ya WILL lose, taking a few rounds out of the cylinder now is the smart thing to do.



We've had swoopers hit spectators. Fairly high profile event at Eloy a few years back. Had PRO rated folks hit spectators too. Had camera flyers hit tails. We've also had freefallers hit and take take out aircraft in flight. No wingsuiter has killed anyone else or destroyed an aircraft to the best of my knowledge.

Cast out the beam in thine own eye before worrying about the mote in someone else's.
...

The only sure way to survive a canopy collision is not to have one.

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Where do ya draw a line, something that changes the EP's, manner of exit, choice of spot,



This sounds more like CRW Than WS. have you read the EPs for real CRW? They are three pages long.

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requires notification from the suit manufacturer about discontinuing the use of certain handles because of safety concerns...etc., to most of us represents something other than the average skydive


Ah now don't blur the line between what is proper suit to use on a FIRST Flight course and what is an extreme and complicated suit used after gaining, hopefully, much experience.

I seriously doubt someone considering flying an appache to run it by their WSI for an opinion. I never consult with my AFF instructor of 13 years ago which velocity I should try, the 90 or the 79. I do however have these conversations with respected canopy pilots.

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I'd really like to see us shore up the training.
We have room for improvement - always.



I would never argue and win that we have no need for improvement. I believe we should strive for excellence and awesomeness in safety, training & performance and move away from complacency.

I don't think this measure gets us any closer, it just gives us an admistrative "good feeling" and enforcement and teeth.

Lets admit it there is a lot of hostility towards a small number of WSIs that some people here feel have behaved "criminally" and they want the ability to reach out and spank offenders years after the perceived offences. Welcome to the skydiver lynch mob.

Too many bad AFFIs and Ti's who deal directly with wuffos are not on any spank list.

Is the list of ROGUE wingsuit instructors so large we need to create a new strata of enforcers.......... Come on!?! If you dig deep enough to the issue you may even feel a "brand war vibe".

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I'd really like to see us shore up the training.
We have room for improvement - always.



I could never argue and win We have no need for improvement. I believe we should strive for excellence and awesomeness in safety, training & performance and move away from complacency.

I don't think this measure gets us any closer, it just gives us an admistrative "good feeling" and enforcement and teeth.

Lets admit it there is a lot of hostility towards a small number of WSIs that some people here feel have behaved "criminally" and they want the ability to reach out and spank offenders years after the perceived offences. Welcome to the skydiver lynch mob.

Too many bad AFFIs and Ti's who deal directly with wuffos are not on any spank list.

Is the list of ROGUE wingsuit instructors so large we need to create a new strata of enforcers.......... Come on!?! If you dig deep enough to the issue you may even feel a "brand war vibe".



You don't need to dig very deeply - just read some DZ.COM posts from a couple of years ago.

There is clearly an unstated agenda behind this proposal that is obvious to anyone who's been wingsuiting for a few years, but maybe not obvious to non wingsuiters.

How many incidents have involved novice wingsuiters that can be attributed to poor training?
...

The only sure way to survive a canopy collision is not to have one.

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How many incidents have involved novice wingsuiters that can be attributed to poor training?

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Again, how many do we need?

I've received recent pics of a current & outspoken WS 'instructor' 1/2 heartbeat out the door wings open, head even with the tail...looks to me like it's not just 'n00bs' that haven't gotten 'the word'.

If a self described 'instructor' makes that error, who's bullshitting who?











~ If you choke a Smurf, what color does it turn? ~

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I've received recent pics of a current & outspoken WS 'instructor' 1/2 heartbeat out the door wings open, head even with the tail...looks to me like it's not just 'n00bs' that haven't gotten 'the word'.



I think that was part of my point... I'm sure whoever that was was told "stay small when you're leaving the plane" when he or she first was taught to wingsuit. My friend and instructor Steve Harrington knew that, for sure (as I mentioned, he taught me that!). In my estimation, risk-wise, I don't think it's the first flight guys that are at risk - it's the experienced guys who get complacent or upsize suits too fast...

And one answer could be, "well, sure but a WSI program will fix that because everyone will be taught not to do that on their first flight!". But I'll point to my (really awesome) AFF instructor who taught me and a bunch of others in my class not to turn low. Some of my contemporaries (hundreds of jumps later) started swooping. Some of those guys biffed and hurt themselves. Would a better AFF program have prevented that? I'm not sure.
Skwrl Productions - Wingsuit Photography

Northeast Bird School - Chief Logistics Guy and Video Dork

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Is there any validity to that? I truly don't know... but I'd love to see factual reference to go along with an accusation.



Are you sure you want to venture into the twisted wingsuit family history dark secrets file? Rich W thought he would be delivering a valentine of good news in the form of a USPA WSI program and instead got threats and hate mail......from a twisted bunch.

The tragic forgotten leg straps fatality is blamed on a chief WS instructor from another brand. Some others that are WAY pro USPA WSI also hold other unspecified personal grudges against the same individual. Isn't that right markus?

I hear claims like "the USPA will never let him have the WSI rating" here in recent posts from the last few weeks pertaining to this WSI. Although I'm not aware of a way to black ball a person from a rating if they can qualify, they qualify.... right?

There might also be resentment from one individuals denial of being allowed on a big way, from another individuals criticizing of a judging method for a big way, of another individual being subversive at a big way.

There are more personal agendas flying around this topic than particles at the super collider.

Non of it is secret, it is all well documented in the open in these forums, well the WS forum. You just have to know what archive to look at.

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