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billvon

Would you support a wingloading BSR?

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Just to get a general idea.

The question involves a wingloading BSR that would restrict canopy loadings to under a certain limit until you pass a test that is part of the licensing structure. In other words to get a D license you'd have to demonstrate X Y and Z canopy skills - and then once you had the license you could jump canopies with loadings higher than (for example) 1.8 to 1. Canopy skills are already in the licensing structure (specifically accuracy) - this would add additional skills, such as those that have already been added to the B license.

Here's the original letter that outlined the suggestion:
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Over the past few years, we have watched as more and more skydivers injure and kill themselves under high performance canopies. In 99% of the cases, this happens to a jumper who does not have the education and experience to fly his canopy safely. In the majority of cases, a larger canopy would have prevented the fatality or mitigated the injury. We, the undersigned, call on USPA to increase their role in canopy training to help prevent these sorts of fatalities in the future.

It is our position that only education can prevent accidents like these. Modern, heavily loaded high performance canopies can be flown safely only after sufficient education and/or experience has been obtained by the jumper. We ask USPA to do the following:

-Develop canopy skills requirements for the “B”, “C”, and “D” licenses that build upon the initial "A" license canopy skills. They should include canopy control classroom training, practical exercises, and a written and practical test. Once these are in place, add canopy type/wing load restrictions based on the “A” through “D” license, with a grandfather clause so this does not affect people currently jumping high wing loadings. As with other skills, restricted licenses would be available for jumpers who choose not to demonstrate HP canopy skills.

-To prevent exceptional jumpers from being held back unnecessarily, allow any instructor, I/E or S+TA to waiver these requirements based on a demonstration of canopy skills.

-Develop a Canopy Instructor (CI) rating which focuses on skills required to safely land heavily loaded high performance canopies. Currently, many jumpers receive no practical HP canopy training at all; it is possible to progress through the ISP jumping only a 288 square foot canopy. With the rapid development of very high performance canopies, canopy skills are as critical for skydiver survival (if not more critical) than freefall skills. The intent of the CI would be to teach the canopy skills required for the new licenses, and to waiver those who demonstrate the skill required to progress to small canopies more quickly than their jump numbers would ordinarily allow.

We recognize that any additional restrictions placed on skydivers should be considered very carefully; skydiving has never been a sport of heavy regulation, and regulations alone will not keep anyone safe. However, new regulations are falling into place already. Individual DZ's are implementing canopy loading restrictions with no education, no commonality and no way to "waiver out" of the requirements. We feel that USPA could implement a canopy training program that will educate more jumpers, be less restrictive and keep even pilots of very high performance canopies alive and jumping.
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In other words to get a D license you'd have to demonstrate X Y and Z canopy skills - and then once you had the license you could jump canopies with loadings higher than (for example) 1.8 to 1



Assuming this is done to limit the number of accidents caused by lower experience jumpers getting in over their head, 1.8 seems like a pretty high number.

It seems to me that 1.5 might be a better limit. Still pretty sporty and more in line with Germain's chart (in that a D-license requires 500 jumps).

I realize this is all theoretical, but unless we have a firm BSR proposal to vote on it is hard for me to know whether the answer is yes or no.

I also realize that anyone can pluck numbers from the air, but 1.8 still seems very high to me.

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>Just wondering where the "in 99 percent of the cases" number comes from....

That was a letter from 10 years ago. Nowadays it would be closer to 95% since there are more people being killed under canopy by other people running into them, rather than any lack of ability on their part.

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Yes...as long as I'm not tested on skills I'll never use.

And as long as that "restricted" designation doesn't prevent me from obtaining additional licenses/ratings.

And I don't fully agree with,
"It is our position that only education can prevent accidents like these. "
Nope. A lot of educated idiots in the world. Maybe they'll retire before they become a statistic.
My reality and yours are quite different.
I think we're all Bozos on this bus.
Falcon5232, SCS8170, SCSA353, POPS9398, DS239

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That's sort of how I feel...About more people being killed by other people running into them. That's where the focus should be.

If someone wants to do stupid stuff under a small canopy and their own risk assessment doesn't make them think twice, so be it. If they get a motorcycle learners permit and then buy a high performance sport bike nobody stops them.
Replying to: Re: Stall On Jump Run Emergency Procedure? by billvon

If the plane is unrecoverable then exiting is a very very good idea.

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I would absolutely support a WL BSR, but I'm not sure tying it directly to licenses is the way to go. Having a secondary canopy license might work better.

I have a D license and am not at all capable of safely flying a small canopy at a 1.8 WL (I'm very happy at 1.3 and will never go above 1.5). I know you weren't suggesting that a D license should suddenly allow somebody to switch from their 210 to a Velo, but tying it to licenses that way does make that possible.

Now, if we had a canopy license that stated our maximum allowable WL I think we'd get better results. Come up with a list of skills that must be demonstrated and witnessed by an S&TA, DZO, Instructor, etc. before being signed off on the next WL and you'd be good to go.

Could people get around this by lying to manifest when they sign their waiver or borrowing a friend's canopy? Sure. People can pull below 2 grand, pencil pack their reserve, and do all sorts of other stupid shit, too. But if you set up the expectation among newer jumpers that it's unsafe to progress beyond your license most people would follow the rules.

Finally, separating advanced canopy skills from licenses works in everyone's favor. I don't want to learn to swoop, and I don't think that should keep me from getting a license. And maybe a DZ sees a truly exceptional canopy pilot who's able to demonstrate mastery of canopies very quickly and is capable of downsizing under the supervision of the local experts but has no interest in night jumps or RW. Both of us can get what we want out of the sport.

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I'd be interested in seeing the poll divided by jump numbers. My hunch would be that the more experienced jumpers would be more in fair of the BSR than the rookies just because that have seen more stupidity.

Education is important, but I wish we could teach good judgement. I know highly experienced canopy pilots who know tons of stuff but who routinely exhibit poor judgement ( swooping in traffic etc )

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I'm a newbie, and voted yes.

However, I will note that I would love to see a BSR take into account the asymmetry I've read about regarding smaller canopies. I'm thinking of the SIM recommendation that anything 150 and below be reserved for D license holders. I like my 170 at 1:1 now, but I can see that getting a little old over the next 450 jumps.

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I like your idea of allowing for local waivers, so it isn't one single rule for all, in every circumstance.

I'm usually against any limits, just to oppose all sorts of limits that I see as inflexible and ridiculously restrictive. Still, it makes a lot of sense for any skydiving organization these days to create some sort of canopy training system. At least let progression be on the basis of training and skill, not just huge jump numbers.

Allowing waivers could be useful for someone wanting to try out a canopy for a few jumps, in good conditions, doing hop and pops only, that sort of thing -- even if it isn't what the jumper should be allowed to use for all their jumps.

The system could be abused, but so can any system.

Some people say that if a canopy isn't safe for a jumper for all their jumps, they should never jump it -- that there's no such thing as safely "trying something out". No way. I may jump a ParaCommander from time to time, but it would be far more dangerous for me to try to use it on every jump. Same would go for a canopy that's a little more demanding than I should jump all the time.

Having training and evaluation systems are a way of avoiding hard rules based only on generic jump numbers and zero training. It's like the old idea that to go wingsuiting, wait for 500 jumps because we cross our fingers and hope most jumpers will have smartened up enough by then. But if they actually get training, 200 jumps is an acceptable minimum.

While I would agree that for every license there would be some canopy piloting requirements to fulfill, I'm more wary of doing things "the other way around": The idea of requiring a certain license, before being able to jump a certain canopy. Not sure about that. (Then you get into the arguments of why you need to do two night jumps to get a USPA "D", in order to fly a certain canopy.)

My tendency is to prefer a system that is in parallel to the license system, not strictly tied to it, if any wing loading restrictions were in any way restrictive. Otherwise it would be like saying that nobody is allowed to do more than a 2 way head down without their D license. We can agree that whether doing more than a 2 way is appropriate depends entirely on someone's training and skill and background, not arbitrary jump numbers.

In the end, I tend not to support a "wingloading BSR", if that's the focus, but I'd support a "canopy training BSR".

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I voted "no"
As already stated above, you can't teach common sense.

There A lot of canopy pilots already went through some kind of progression to get into the canopy that they are in. After they get into that canopy, they start getting complacent and doing the things that get them killed.

By putting this in place, what you are doing is making it harder for the responsible canopy pilots, yet doing nothing for the guys out there that will continue to swoop past the students in flight in the landing area.

When reading the "incidents" section of "Parachutist", I see more poor judgement than poor canopy skills.
"There is an art, it says, or, rather, a knack to flying. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss."
Life, the Universe, and Everything

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As already stated above, you can't teach common sense.


Quote



Maybe...but if you make it harder for a monkey to play with a hand grenade, there are less monkeys pulling hand grenade pins.











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

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By putting this in place, what you are doing is making it harder for the responsible canopy pilots, yet doing nothing for the guys out there that will continue to swoop past the students in flight in the landing area.



If it will keep someone with 250 jumps from flying a Velocity, it's making it safer for responsible canopy pilots.

Doesn't really matter what any of us think anyway; a wingloading BSR isn't likely to happen. "Educate, not regulate" B|

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you can't teach common sense



You're implying that some people do not have common sense, and never will as it cannot be taught.

I'm not going to argue with that, but isn't that more a reason to have some limitations in place as to what these people can jump? If they lack the common sense to fly in a safe manner, what makes you think they have the sense to make good choices about what canopies they fly?

Between the 'wisdom' of those who have come before you, and the example set by the success these programs have had in other canopies, it's hard to deny that this is a good idea. There's a fairly good chance that it will produce real results, and barring that, I cannot see that it would do any harm. If a jumper is so immature and so impatient that they quit jumping because they can't jump the canopy they want as soon as they want, then I say good riddance, we don't need the guy.

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I have thought a lot about this, and asked the relevant questions but didn't really get an answer to a few of them, so at this point I would say I would not support it until I know a lot more about it.
One issue I see is that as far as fatalities go, it is very rarely people with less than a D license or the equivalent number of jumps that are killing themselves.
Another (admittedly selfish) issue is that those most in favor of it are those who would not be affected by it (although that may be a moot point if all current jumpers are grandfathered in as Dave suggested may be the case).
Yet another issue I see has already been breached by Pops - tying the canopy skills to the license type may not be the best way to go - I could be a competent canopy pilot capable of flying a Stiletto at a 1.8 wingloading but have no interest in swooping per se - would I have to demonstrate swooping skills to get my D license - even if I never intend to swoop?
Another potential issue - the waiver idea I think is excellent, however - would that not open up the USPA and the S&TA who waivered a person to a lawsuit if this is made into aBSR? I would think any attorney would be able to make a compelling argument that the person who dies in a canopy accident after receiving a waiver should never have been waivered in the first place, and use the BSR as proof that they had no business flying X canopy at Y wingload with Z number of jumps.
Of course all of my point of reference is from jumping at a DZ where the culture is a little more progressive, and new jumpers are allowed to jump a higher than "normal" wingload (I was at 1.3 at about 38 jumps at my instructors suggestion).
I might end up supporting a wingload BSR in the long run, but I would have to know all the details of it beforehand. Just too many unanswered questions at this point...
Edit to ask - has there been any thoughts along the lines of a Swooper rating perhaps like the PRO rating?

As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD...

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One issue I see is that as far as fatalities go, it is very rarely people with less than a D license or the equivalent number of jumps that are killing themselves.



In the last 3 years 178 jumpers died worldwide. 88 of those fatalities, 50%, happened after a good canopy was deployed. 29 of the open canopy fatalities, 32% were caused by a canopy collision.

Under 500 jumps – 28
500 to 1000 jumps – 16
1000 to 3000 jumps – 13
Over 3000 jumps – 12
** only 69 of 88 reports listed jump numbers

Sparky
My idea of a fair fight is clubbing baby seals

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So 28 sub-500 jump fatalities and 41 greater than 500 jump fatalities, and another 19 with no reported numbers. Do you know how that breaks down as far as how many of each category (sub-500 and >500) died in collisions vs swoops?
Of the non-collisions it would be interesting to know how many were swoops gone wrong vs other canopy incidents (fixation, panic turn etc). Also curious if those sub-500 jump fatalities are disproportionately centered around a particular number of jumps (0-100, 200 -300, 300-400, 400-499)....I guess it may not have any real bearing on this conversation, but I am curious.

As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD...

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I'm thinking of the SIM recommendation that anything 150 and below be reserved for D license holders.


I don't think that's in the SIM.

1. “Advanced” refers to practices that combine equipment and control techniques to increase descent and landing approach speeds.

3. Advanced equipment generally refers to canopies loaded as follows:

a. above 230 square feet, 1.1 pounds per square
foot or higher

b. from 190 to 229 square feet, 1.0 pounds per
square foot or higher

c. from 150 to 189 square feet, .9 pounds per
square foot or higher

d. canopies smaller than 150 square feet at any
wing loading


The problem with arbitrary wingloading restrictions is that not all canopies are the same.

For example, a PD Silhouette has sizes from 135 to 260sf. PD's recommendations indicate that any of the sizes loaded to less than .75 is a "Novice" canopy, and any of them loaded above a 1.0 is an "Expert" canopy. None of the SIM recommendations and none of the above proposed BSRs would take this into account. How would a 1.5 wing loading restriction stop someone from jumping a Silhouette at 1.0?
It's all been said before, no sense repeating it here.

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To prevent exceptional jumpers from being held back unnecessarily, allow any instructor, I/E or S+TA to waiver these requirements based on a demonstration of canopy skills.



The problem I see with this idea is that BSR's are like laws to USPA drop zones. And anyone who waivers away from them is putting their neck on the chopping block with our legal system, should that waivered jumper subsequently hurt himself. The lawyers and courts will want to know why you gave him permission to vary from the accepted practices, and try and hold the jumpers responsible who allowed him to downsize more quickly than the chart allows. All of that will discourage people from issuing waivers, and then we're back to a one-size-fits-all chart, that everyone is afraid to violate, regardless of individual circumstances.

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So how big a problem is it that low timers advance too quickly? If this BSR was in place 10 years ago, how many of the incidents would have been prevented? Less than half, I'd say, and here's why:
1. High timers that would be allowed to fly whatever they want cause a lot of incidents. My guess is more than half of them.
2. Low timers that are not flying high performance canopies cause some incidents. Here, my guess is as many as are on HP canopies.
3. Some incidents are not related to the canopy size or experince level at all. Not that many but some.
4. Some jumpers exceed the limits and never have any problem. Not too smart IMO, but it happens.
A BSR limiting everybody to a max wing load would be more effective at reducing incidents.
Somewhere between 1.2 and 1.4 would probably be pretty effective, and I think would have prevented twice as many of the incidents that did happen as the proposals I see here. Do you agree with my numbers, and would you support such a BSR?
But what do I know?

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I'm thinking of the SIM recommendation that anything 150 and below be reserved for D license holders.


I don't think that's in the SIM.



It is in the SIM. That is one of the problems in the sport. Nobody reads the damn thing in the first place!
Read section 5.3 Equipment main parachute section.

I support it, but I don't want anything tied to licenses. I want to get the highest licenses available to me, I do not want to jump high wingloadings.

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I support it, but I don't want anything tied to licenses. I want to get the highest licenses available to me, I do not want to jump high wingloadings.



I'm with you on not wanting to jump a high wingloading and I don't think that those who choose not to should have to get a restricted license, I would like to see crossbraced canopies and wingloadings exceeding 1.5-ish limited to D license qualified or higher jumpers who have completed some form of high performance canopy flight course.

Requiring a D license and some training/coaching of anybody who wants to fly a high wingloading or swoop specific canopy would go far to eliminate the possibility of both the hundred jump wonder and the thousand jump wonder making radically stupid downsizes that endanger everyone in the air with them.

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It is in the SIM. That is one of the problems in the sport. Nobody reads the damn thing in the first place!
Read section 5.3 Equipment main parachute section.



So are you saying that it makes sense to you that a 100 pound jumper jumping a Silhouette 150 at a .75 psf (Novice) wing-loading should have a D-License, have completed an advanced canopy class, and consult with an S&TA?

It also says in the SIM to follow the manufacturer's recommendations for canopy size. Why does there need to be an arbitrary one-size-fits-all wing loading limit when it may actually mislead jumpers into believing that they're safe under their canopy when they may not actually be.

Why have so many contradictory rules in the SIM? If the SIM says follow the manufacurers' recommendations then why isn't that good enough?
It's all been said before, no sense repeating it here.

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