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Deisel

Pay the S&TA?

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In an effort to introduce accountability for pattern flying, why not make the S&TA a paid position? But NOT hired by the DZ. And not responsible to the Regional Director either. I'm thinking we could make a group of Jim Crouch Jr.s that work directly for him and don't have to put up with anyone's BS. At all member DZs USPA could assign the S&TA and have that individual be responsible for holding folks accountable for doing dumb shit in the air. Kind of like a full time FAA inspector maybe?

I've brought this up before but no one wanted to hear it at the time, so in light of the recent incidents let's talk it up. This is just me thinking out loud and I have not tried to figure out every possible complication or conflict. Just an idea. Thoughts?
The brave may not live forever, but the timid never live at all.

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Well...most S&TA's are chosen by the DZO and in many cases ARE the DZO, so for that reason (the resistance of the DZO's), this is not going to happen. Possible scenario? Not only would the S&TA be responsible for addressing "stupid shit" that people do...but they would be responsible for addressing other unsafe practices...and if this cuts into what the DZO wants to happen, the DZO can kick the S&TA off his drop zone. Heck...the DZO can kick a USPA Regional Director off his dropzone if he wants...and there is nothing that the USPA can do about it. I agree...the S&TA and the USPA as a whole should have more ability to address unsafe practices on DZ's and by skydivers, but lets face it...they don't.
~"I am not afraid. I was born to do this"~

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In an effort to introduce accountability for pattern flying, why not make the S&TA a paid position? But NOT hired by the DZ. And not responsible to the Regional Director either....Thoughts?



I saw something like this with respect to securities exchanges in Germany where there was an internal position that actually reported into a governmental body. I'd have to go research it to find the details, but really I don't think a structure like that does much more than a strong and robust self-regulatory program. And by strong and robust I mean one where there are routine examinations of member compliance and consequences such as monetary fines and suspensions for failure to comply.

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In an effort to introduce accountability for pattern flying, why not make the S&TA a paid position? But NOT hired by the DZ. And not responsible to the Regional Director either. I'm thinking we could make a group of Jim Crouch Jr.s that work directly for him and don't have to put up with anyone's BS. At all member DZs USPA could assign the S&TA and have that individual be responsible for holding folks accountable for doing dumb shit in the air. Kind of like a full time FAA inspector maybe?

I've brought this up before but no one wanted to hear it at the time, so in light of the recent incidents let's talk it up. This is just me thinking out loud and I have not tried to figure out every possible complication or conflict. Just an idea. Thoughts?



The "At Large" S&TA's could fill those positions already. They could jump at the Various DZ's during the year, HELPING to make things safer.

Matt
An Instructors first concern is student safety.
So, start being safe, first!!!

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My point here is that the system does not work. We don't need more rules we just need to enforce the ones we have. I think that it's been identified by several people over the years that our biggest problem is that no one enforces the rules (over generalization - I know).

So the question is how do we get people to comply with the rules already in place? The same way that people are forced to comply with other things that they don't want to do. You force them.

USPA has to make a decision. It (we) can either continue to do what has been done in the past and expect different results or make bold changes that will directly address what we all know the problems to be.

DZOs (not all) have a conflict of interest here. Safety vs profit. Should they be allowed to continue to make the final decisions about who should or shouldnt be grounded? No other industry that I know of allows this.
The brave may not live forever, but the timid never live at all.

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USPA would have to write the checks. The problem with the DZOs being in charge of the S&TAs now is the conflict of interest. It simply must be removed from the equation altogether. Make the DZO accountable to the S&TA, not the other way around as it currently stands.

I think the number would depend on the volume of the DZ. Seasonal Cesna DZs could probably get away with a regional dude (or dudette). But the big multi jump ship operations that go 7 days a week would need more than one.
The brave may not live forever, but the timid never live at all.

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USPA would have to write the checks



Where are you going to find a qualified S&TA who is willing to be at the DZ whenever they are jumping, and not jump themselves so they can monitor the activities?

Just ballpark, what do you think this would cost per DZ? How much would it cost to have an S&TA on call 7 days a week? What about seasonal DZs, would they still have to pay the S&TA during the 5 months they're closed, or would they have to find temporary employment during the winter time?

Now multitply the cost times the number of group member DZs. Still think this will work?

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Now multitply the cost times the number of group member DZs. Still think this will work?



And just remember that USPA doesn't find money out of thin air. If something like this is implemented, the funding for it has to come from somewhere, likely member dues. To the OP: just remember when you make a proposal like this that you are one of the ones paying for it.

As for the validity of your idea - I think it's relying too much on the "adult supervision" theory of skydiving when in reality, we should all be keeping an eye out for each other and we should all be calling out bad behavior. Lots of people stay silent (I confess I've done it myself at times) when they witness bad behavior because they don't want to rock the boat, or because they're afraid of the reaction, or because they don't want to be "that guy" who rains on the parade.
"There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences." -P.J. O'Rourke

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This thing of ours will only be as safe as we want it to be. If we arent willing to pay then we will continue to get what we have. If we arent willing to hold people accountable then nothing will change. Do we really want changes or is it just lip service?

If membership dues went up $25 everyone would scream bloody murder. But wouldnt we all gladly sacrifice the cost of a single jump if it stopped another unnecessary accident?
The brave may not live forever, but the timid never live at all.

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If membership dues went up $25 everyone would scream bloody murder. But wouldnt we all gladly sacrifice the cost of a single jump if it stopped another unnecessary accident?



I would, but that still wouldn't cover it.

$25 x 30,000 (uspa members) = $750,00

$750,000 / 348 (number of US DZs listed on DZ.com) = $2155 per DZ.

What do you think you're going to get for $2155? At a year-round DZ, that's $180/mo. Seasonal DZs would have more like $300/mo, provided they don't pay the guy when the DZ is closed for the winter.

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Good point, but frustrating still.

But I believe that this is certainly an area that should be looked into further. I understand that DZOs dont want additional supervision. But there is a conflict of interest that has to be resolved if we are ever going to close the gap between safety and making a profit.
The brave may not live forever, but the timid never live at all.

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Most of the S&TAs that I have met are either an instructor, DZ owner, or someone else who's main objective is to monitor license requirements and to administer those tests. They're not out there checking packing data cards, standing in the lading area looking for infractions, checking airplane maintenance logs. Although I really believe that this stuff should be checked by an independent person. I think it's a great idea if you could get em' paid and independent of the DZO.
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They're not out there checking packing data cards, standing in the lading area looking for infractions, checking airplane maintenance logs. Although I really believe that this stuff should be checked by an independent person.



Of all the things you listed, the only one that has consistantly created a problem is behavior under canopy. By in large, in-date rigs and aircraft MX have not been a significant problem for DZs.

There is no easy solution to this problem, and much as I appreciate the efforts of the OP, this idea is no part of the solution. This idea provides an after-the-fact enforcement of rules, and after-the-fact sometimes means after-the-incident.

The solution here is going to be centered more around prevention than after-the-fact enforcement. Educate the jumpers, shift the attitude about canopy flight in the community-at-large, put procedures into place to better seperate different canopy sizes and types. This is how you 'solve' the problem, by getting the participants to make better choices and having a system in place that lends itself more toward safety.

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But wouldnt we all gladly sacrifice the cost of a single jump if it stopped another unnecessary accident?



You are assuming this would work. We have rules now, and they are not being followed.
"No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms." -- Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Jefferson Papers, 334

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if the s&ta is doing his/her job, there is no need for this.

i dont have experience with vey many dropzones, but if you fuck up at mine watch out for the axe.



Your DZ may be the exception to the "Norm".

Most S&TA's are DZO's or Staff of the DZ. Few are allowed to swing the Ax with out the DZO's permission.

At one DZ, I have been lucky to be allowed to make safety decisions and have them backed by the DZM and DZO. They even asked me to be the "Hard Ass".

At other DZ's I am allowed some "authority" but the DZO still has the final call.

At other DZ's yet, I am just asked to be quiet and sign stuff.

The DZO makes the final call as it is their business. Most tend to be safe and profitable.
Matt
An Instructors first concern is student safety.
So, start being safe, first!!!

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>USPA would have to write the checks.

OK, so there are 250 USPA DZ's out there. Let's say $6,000 a year (i.e. _way_ below the poverty line; we'll assume that, say, retired instructors who can no longer jump would be willing to do it.) That's 1.5 million a year. With 32,000 members, that's an additional $50 per member per year, driving total dues well over $100 a year.

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if the s&ta is doing his/her job, there is no need for this.



Spoken like someone who has never been an S&TA.



i was not implying that they do not deserve to be paid.

if the s&ta needs the incentive of money to do the job he agreed on, i'd be looking for another s&ta.
"Never grow a wishbone, where your backbone ought to be."

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if the s&ta needs the incentive of money to do the job he agreed on, i'd be looking for another s&ta.



What job did he (or she) "agree on"? Per the S&T Manual (page 4), it's this:

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The principal responsibility of the S&TA is to promote safe
skydiving. Toward that goal, the S&TA serves specific advisory
and administrative functions:
• Observes skydiving operations to verify compliance
with the Basic Safety Requirements
• Informs the Regional Director of all flagrant and/or
recurring safety violations
• In grave cases, takes summary action under Section 1-6
of the USPA Governance Manual
• Provides safety and training advice to skydivers, drop
zone operators, and rating holders
• Reviews plans for exhibition jumps
• Verifies that drop zones qualify as “sanctioned” by
meeting the minimum drop zone requirements (see the
BSRs in the Skydiver’s Information Manual)
• Assists and advises with extraordinary skydive
operations (see the BSRs and Advanced Progression section
in the Skydiver’s Information Manual)
• Investigates accidents and submits reports (see
“Accidents and the S&TA” in this manual)
• Verifies the requirements on D-License applications and
rating renewals (see “D-License and Rating Renewal” in
this manual)
• Verifies the requirements for the USPA 3-D Award (see
the Performance Awards section in the Skydiver’s
Information Manual)
• Promotes USPA policies and programs, for example,
USPA Safety Day
• Unless excused by the Regional Director, attends an
annual S&TA meeting called by the Regional Director
The Regional Director may designate other related tasks as
necessary



The above list is all well and good in theory, but like Matt said above, the S&TA "serves" at the discretion of the DZO (even though the S&TA is appointed by the RD, how much or how little leeway the S&TA has to act vs. advise is totally up to the DZ management). And he/she is also most likely on staff, teaching, jumping, rigging, etc. Seems like you also expect that person to simultaneously be everywhere and see everything and have the freedom to override the DZO at all times. I've been impressed (or unimpressed) with various S&TAs, but they're all human.
"There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences." -P.J. O'Rourke

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One thing that Ive come to understand is that there is no accountability in our sport. Who enforces the rules? Who can pull a substandard instructors rating? Who can ground a jumper, enforcable nation wide? Who can fine, punish, discipline, etc? No one. It only truly happens when lawyers or the FAA get involved.

In just about every system that I can think of there is some type of check and balance in place. In skydiving the people that are both the check and balance are the DZOs. They are free to do as they please or as they dont please. They have an obvious conflict of interest, which is the flaw of the system.

Im not saying that they are bad people - hell, several are my friends. But as long as it remains we will continue to get what we already have.

No one wants to be the bad guy and no one wants to be disliked. But in order to reprimand those that need it thats exactly what must happen.

Its a very sad state of affairs. And unfortunately, thats exactly the way some of us want it.
The brave may not live forever, but the timid never live at all.

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Most S&TA's are DZO's or Staff of the DZ.



S&TA's are appointed by the Regional Director and are supposed to be answerable to USPA not the DZO. But if very rarely goes that way.


1-4.4 PROCEDURES

It is up to the discretion of the regional director to determine how best to serve the needs of his or her constituency while fulfilling obligations to the board and the association as a whole. However, certain specific procedures must be followed.

A. Safety & Training Advisors

1. The regional director appoints S&TAs and forwards the appointments to headquarters for processing.

a. The appointments should be made in consultation with the drop zone owner operator, while recognizing that the advisor is a representative of USPA, not the drop zone.

b. The appointment of a DZ owner, operator or employee as the S&TA should occur only if another suitable candidate is not available.

c. The following qualifications are required:

(1) Be a current USPA member

(2) Have made a minimum of 50 freefalls within the past 12 months*

(3) Hold at least an instructor rating*

(4) Hold a D License

(5) Be willing to endorse and promote USPA policies

(6) Attend the regional director’s annual S&TA meeting*

*Items marked with an asterisk may be waived by the regional director. A letter of exception will be included with the appointment forwarded to headquarters. The regional director may appoint himself as an S&TA as long as the minimum requirements are met.


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The DZO makes the final call as it is their business. Most tend to be safe and profitable.



And it has always been that way. It's his business and he makes the calls. Thats why I say for any meaningful change to take place it must come from the DZO.

Sparky
My idea of a fair fight is clubbing baby seals

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