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tsalnukt

Off Landings and Law Suits.

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I'm not a lawyer, but it would seem to me that he would be favored by the courts. It is his private property and we are participating in a completely voluntary sport. Plus, he has provided warnings. Try landing on The White House and using the "it was an emergency landing" line. :) It *might* work once, but repeatedly?



See "private necessity". BTW, the voluntary nature of our activities has nothing to do with it.

http://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/private_necessity



The problem with private necessity in this instance is the repetition. As I said before, "not often" is relative, so exactly how often will play a factor. A jumper may look at it as "rare" because it only happens once every 100 jumps. But a landowner may call it "frequent" because it's happening once a week.

One element of the necessity defense is that the defendant (ie, the tresspassor) can not have caused the necessity. If he did, then it's not a valid defense since it would be unjust to allow a person to use his own actions as justification for invading another's property. If the off-landing was a one-time deal, necessity would almost assuredly be a defense. But the more it happens, the more responsibility the skydivers have to take steps to correct the problem. The DZ is now "on notice" that conditions exist which may force them to land on the horse ranch. In this particular instance, they admit to knowing that the LZ can be problematic & outs are semi-common. If they are choosing to continue operations as usual & taking the attitude that such off-landings are always "necessary" then it is very possible a court will find that they are at least partially responsible for bringing about the necessity. In such case, they will have no defense.

Think of it like this. If a plane runs out of fuel so the pilot makes an "emergency" landing on private property, the private necessity defense is valid. But if it turns out that this particular pilot has run out of fuel & made similar "emergency" landings on multiple occassions because he feels it's not his responsibility to check the fuel levels before takeoff, then he's going to be s.o.l. On the necessity defense.

And & has been repeated in this thread, even if necessity applies, the skydivers are responsible for and damage they cause. If the horse owner can prove his horses are, indeed, sufffering harm because of the jumpers, then he can & will recover damages. As someone else up above said, the best option here is to start a dialogue with the neighbor. Get a mutual understanding of each others' views, issues & challenges. Make a peace offering. Take steps to avoid future landings there & ultimately avoid court all together.

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In all seriousness, stop landing there. The property right next to our dropzone is a wide open field that would make a nice out, except the guy that lives there calls the cops when people land there.



I remember a couple years back, one of the CRW dawgs (name withheld to protect the guilty) landed in a large tree to avoid landing in Farmer McNasty's. When you guys give the "stay away from that Property" speech, we listen. ;)
Birdshit & Fools Productions

"Son, only two things fall from the sky."

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If jumpers landed on my property repeatedly, spooked my horses/livestock...and let's say a cow or horse got injured...I'd go ballistic.

You are screwing with someone's castle...stop landing there.

There is no emergency unless you are under a reserve...only a screw up with your spotting, canopy flight pattern/canopy control, or both.

My argument if I were the farmer would be...these guys are not competent enough to land in there landing area, they should not be jumping as they are harming my livestock.

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There is no emergency unless you are under a reserve...



What about a hard pull? PC hesitation? Stuck slider or brake? Brake fire? Line twists?

All of the above can be fixed mid-air, but will effect the altitude at which you have a controlable canopy, and thus the radius of the areas that you can reach under canopy. These could all be emergencies and all would still have landing under your main.

Even if you just cutaway, without fixing the problem mid-air, again, the altitude loss of the cutaway would similarly reduce your options.

A parachutist does have the right to land where ever they 'need', but at the same time they are responsible for any damages they do. They won't be charged with trespass, and cannot be held accountable for anything outside of actual damages, but in this case those could be significant.

A spooked horse can hurt itself to the point of needing to be put down. Short of that, the vet bills alone to check an entire farm worth of horses would be immense, but probably called for if all of them were spooked. As mentioned upthread, if the horses are being boarded there, and the owners pull them out due to this issue, you be on the hook for the horses medical care as well as the lost income for the farmer.

Who ever made the point about the prison was right on. If it was a high security prison or an old army land-mine training facility, both would feature an open field, but both would be avoided like the plague when it comes to landing off.

What they need is a more generous go-around policy at the DZ in question, and some sort of jump run 'hard deck', like no exits beyond 1 mile (or whatever) in the direction of the farm in question.

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One import fact missing is the frequency of lading on said farmers field. 7 times a year -vs- 52 times a year. Big difference although not in the mind of a farmer who has to put a horse down because it happened once.

Also without knowing the exact terms and conditions of USPA third party liability insurance I would venture to guess that an army of lawyers would file suit suit against the insurers underwriting the USPA third party liability insurance policy.

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What about a hard pull? PC hesitation? Stuck slider or brake? Brake fire? Line twists?

All of the above can be fixed mid-air, but will effect the altitude at which you have a controlable canopy, and thus the radius of the areas that you can reach under canopy. These could all be emergencies and all would still have landing under your main.

Even if you just cutaway, without fixing the problem mid-air, again, the altitude loss of the cutaway would similarly reduce your options.

A parachutist does have the right to land where ever they 'need', but at the same time they are responsible for any damages they do. They won't be charged with trespass, and cannot be held accountable for anything outside of actual damages, but in this case those could be



Absolutely agree with your assessment of an event in the air affecting opening alti and the "need" to land safely.

Growing up in a family of farmers however...I can tell you none of them would take kindly to a recreational business operation routinely putting their livestock at risk due to repeated emergencies requiring off airport landings.

When I was younger in our sport, I used to feel more of a right to land wherever I needed to...but now as I've gotten older, I've grown to appreciate and give more respect to farmers and business owners that surround our drop zones.

I will land in an electrified tree in the median of a 4 lane interstate surrounded by power lines before I will land on a farmers property having livestock.

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I'd do whatever it took to try and make nice-nice with McNasty, The best way to deal with an enemy is to make them your friend.



^this!!!! We've been doing that for nearly 40 years where I jump. A group landed way off the DZ this weekend. They all landed in the middle of a plowed field together. The farmer drove out into the field to see if the jumpers needed a ride or a cell phone. Cultivate that "Nicey Nice" in advance! It will pay big dividends some day. B|
Birdshit & Fools Productions

"Son, only two things fall from the sky."

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It's not always possible. If the neighbor is a rational human being, it's probably possible to have a reasonable relationship. Not every neighbor is a rational human being, and some land uses are more tolerant of intruders than others.

Horses really are problematic. Many many dollars attached to each set of hooves, and yes, apparently they are that easily spooked.

Wendy P.
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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Horses really are problematic. Many many dollars attached to each set of hooves, and yes, apparently they are that easily spooked.

Wendy P.



Many dollars and lots of emotion...sort of like dogs, some consider them like family...I think the reactions of some land owners finding their land and welfare of livestock at risk are well within the bounds of justified outrage. If I were a farmer or landowner affected negatively by jumpers landing on my property, and learned that I was being branded as irrational...I'd go fully "irrational".

I'm not trying to fuel a crazy debate here...I just don't understand how we as a skydiving community can justify repeated encroachment on private property and putting livestock at risk for the sake of weekend fun and recreation.

If I were a DZ owner, I'd reach out to all my neighbors and establish all non-negotiable landing areas, and do everything possible to mitigate the possibility of landing there.

The last thing we need is a Hatfield vs. McCoy situation between DZ owner and neighboring farmers. "Screw with my horses and I'll screw with your dropzone business license".

Stop landing on the farmer's property. If you don't think you can avoid landing there, don't jump. Find a new dropzone.

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If you don't think you can avoid landing there, don't jump.



That is the key. It seems this thread was started with respect to too many people with mad skillz who want to jump canopies that they can't control and need that big open landing area. >:(

The only forgiveness are for 1) people landing under a reserve 2) students and 3) people who are demoing a new canopy. Any other "emergency" doesn't matter because you are landing your canopy which you are familiar with and should be able to control.


Since I didn't see anyone post a location for this, the last possible reason is if there literally no other outs - meaning this farm is an island in a lake (surrounded by a large body of water), complete tree coverage where there are no open roads, back yards, parking lots, etc. around.

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Since I didn't see anyone post a location for this, the last possible reason is if there literally no other outs - meaning this farm is an island in a lake (surrounded by a large body of water), complete tree coverage where there are no open roads, back yards, parking lots, etc. around.


Maine (I'm guessing, from his profile).

As wmw999 said earlier in the thread, it's a tight DZ and there aren't that many outs (trees, trees everywhere). However, we are taught and briefed to avoid his land like the plague. I'm new to the DZ and to the sport, but from what I understand, he's just one of those guys who essentially won't be happy unless the DZ is shut down. I'd like to land in a field over landing in the woods, but at the same time I don't want to be the one responsible for getting the DZ shut down, and I think that's why the OP is trying to get an understanding about what's actually possible legally.

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Horses really are problematic. Many many dollars attached to each set of hooves, and yes, apparently they are that easily spooked.



And in most cases they are as dumb as a bag of rocks.

Sparky
My idea of a fair fight is clubbing baby seals

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They are not that easily spooked to the point of injuring themselves. I have three of them, granted they are prey animals and will bolt easy. In 40 years of riding I've yet to see one injure it self from being spooked. Now I do love my ponies but they aren't people. The only way I would get upset over an off landing would be the jumpers attitude, not from a fact he spooked an animal. And they are far from dumb, they get to eat free and get free room and medical and for most part do no work to compensate us.
Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.”

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As a former rancher I udnerstand the horseowners position. However, I'm curious about what the liability owuld be for both dz and farmer McNasty if due to McNasty's complaints, the dzo/m marked that field off limits and someone got killed trying to avoid landing in that field.

-Blind
"If you end up in an alligator's jaws, naked, you probably did something to deserve it."

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As a former rancher I udnerstand the horseowners position. However, I'm curious about what the liability owuld be for both dz and farmer McNasty if due to McNasty's complaints, the dzo/m marked that field off limits and someone got killed trying to avoid landing in that field.

-Blind




Zero for the farmer. Probably zero for the DZ, especially if the jumper has at least an A license.
I can sort of conjure up a theory of a case against the DZ to the effect that the very location of the DZ itself, given the off-limits neighboring property, is inherently unsafe. But even with a student jumper, that would still probably fail. With a jumper with at least an A license, it would almost certainly fail.

The days when virtually all DZs were out in open farmland (i.e., to give plenty of outs for the round canopies) are a thing of the past. Lots of DZs these days, especially since square canopies at all levels became universal, have some nearby untenable outs. An off-limits neighbor is just one example of an untenable out.

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Yeah, it's Maine. I landed in this field around 10 years ago with the DZO, It's a long way out there & surrounded by only woods. No other place to land except trees. The landowner came out raging & was beyond reason, until we told him we realized he had horses & although we saw none we landed as far away as possible against the tree line. He did calm down a bit but was not really happy. It is very rare for jumpers to land on his property & I would guess it happens less than once a year. Don't ask why we were out there, it was a long time ago & the only way I can even recall what I had for breakfast today is to look at the front of my shirt. I do recognize that this guy has a reasonable bitch, what with the horses & all, but I would land there again rather than take the trees & face the consequences without a pine bough in my ass.

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I have no desire to ever land off but we all know its likely going to happen at some point. Its sad that some ppl tend to get riled over perhaps an unavoidable incident. We as jumpers can do a lot to diffuse the situation by attitude in many cases. But theres always a guy some here that wont be understanding.
Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.”

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I'm sure someone else has said this later (I haven't bothered to read the whole thread), but it's called trespass. He can sue you for landing there, but he's going to have to proof damages, i.e., your landing on his property has caused him to lose money. If the cops don't particularly like you, they can possibly bring criminal charges for defiant trespass. The "emergency landing" could prevent criminal charges, but will not limit your civil liability.

The fact of the matter is that his property is private property and you have no right to be there. My suggestion would be to not land there and at the same time try to make amends with the farmer; that way when someone does land there by accident you might have a chance at him not causing you problems. I jump at a rural DZ with farmers all around. We work VERY hard at being good neighbors, and its paid off. If we land on someone's property, we immediately go to the house and apologize and offer to pay for landing there.


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