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billvon

Meet Stan the Student (long)

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A hypothetical situation, in which you are the chief instructor of the school at your DZ. Your DZO trusts you and generally defers to you on issues of student training.

Now meet Stan the Student. Stan walks in one morning and talks to the woman at the counter. There is a short argument and then she taked him over to talk to you.

"This guy wants to jump but doesn't want to take the course," she says.

"Woah, that's not quite true," says Stan, a 25 year old guy from a distant city. "I just want to change the progression a bit. I understand that you guys do seven AFF jumps with some kind of big student gear, but I don't need that, because I have more experience and skill than most students who just come in off the street. So here's what I propose:

"I have this here rig with a Sabre 170 and an RSL. I got it from Jerry, a motocross friend of mine who is also a skydiver. I've ridden with him and done all sorts of aerials with him, so he's seen me fly. And not to blow my own horn, but I'm one of the best motocross riders around - so I can clearly handle speed, freefall and landing. And heck, landing on a motocross bike on a dirt track is a lot harder than landing one of these soft nylon parachutes.

"So I want to take this rig up and jump it solo. I totally understand that you want to be able to evaluate my skills, so I'll take this little handmount camera with me - you can watch that to make sure I'm doing OK. I use it for motocross all the time so it's not an issue.

"The woman at the front said that was impossible, that I needed more training and 'harness hold' jumps before I can jump on my own. I'm sorry, but that's bullshit. She's never seen me fly; she can't know what I'm capable of. Jerry does so you can call him if you have any questions. And he's a skydiver too.

"I know that you let people skip levels who are really good. I read about one guy who finished AFF in two jumps because he had lots of tunnel time. I'm even more prepared than that guy, because I have REAL freefall time and I land after every jump, so I'm way more ready to jump and land on my own. Of course, I'll listen to your guys in terms of what to do and what I can do better; I'm always willing to learn.

"I've gone to other places and they haven't let me jump because they're greedy fucks who wanted hundreds of bucks to do what I should be able to do for $25. This is MY life and I understand the risk I'm taking. I even signed one of your waivers, and it says I can be injured or killed; I am totally aware of that and OK with it. I'm an adult, after all. And I'm even better at understanding risk than you are, since I do more risky things than skydiving every day.

"If you want to give me a few pointers before I go up, that's fine. I don't need the whole course since I've watched hours of skydiving videos and Jerry explained the basics to me. I have an RSL in case I don't pull on time or I mess up something minor.

"So how about it?"

What would you say? I would (of course) refuse, as I suspect most people here would. I have, however, seen a few people here of the opinion that experience doesn't matter much, recommendations like seven-jump AFF programs are just suggestions, and as long as someone is willing to take the risk, they should be allowed to. This is normally applied to things like camera usage, rapid downsizing or wingsuit jumping, not student jumps. But does that same rationale hold at all levels of experience?

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I have an RSL in case I don't pull on time...



??? - was this deliberate, or did you mean AAD? This would be good ammunition to show why this individual does not know what he is talking about.

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What would you say? I would (of course) refuse, as I suspect most people here would. I have, however, seen a few people here of the opinion that experience doesn't matter much, recommendations like seven-jump AFF programs are just suggestions, and as long as someone is willing to take the risk, they should be allowed to. This is normally applied to things like camera usage, rapid downsizing or wingsuit jumping, not student jumps. But does that same rationale hold at all levels of experience?



I believe your example is different because you are talking about a non-skydiver whereas all your other examples apply to licensed skydivers.

Without going into yet another thread about what is wise (or not), a skydiver with a license can theoretically jump whatever he wants as long as it is approved by the FAA, DZO and S&TA.
"The ground does not care who you are. It will always be tougher than the human behind the controls."

~ CanuckInUSA

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>??? - was this deliberate, or did you mean AAD?

Nope, he got that wrong. So let's play that out:

"Dude, you don't even know how the gear works! It's an AAD that fires when you get low, not an RSL!"

"OK, cool, good to know. It's cool that you're one of those people who is willing to teach instead of just saying 'fuck you, you can't jump.' I'm always willing to learn."

>I believe your example is different because you are talking about a
>non-skydiver whereas all your other examples apply to licensed skydivers.

Right. But the bottom line here (and as expressed by a few others) would seem to be that he is willing to take the risk, even if others think it is unreasonable - and that only people who have 'seen him fly' can really be qualified to make any sort of a decision. Keep in mind that a license means nothing in a legal sense; you do not need a license to legally do any sort of jump at a DZ.

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Keep in mind that a license means nothing in a legal sense; you do not need a license to legally do any sort of jump at a DZ.



In that case it is up to the DZO and S&TA. We can only hope that they would make the right decision. IMO in this case the right decision is not to let Stan jump and I imagine you'll get a pretty good majority on that.

Is the point you're trying to make that we need more laws and regulations? I am not for that, but I think that might be the obvious conclusion from your (admittedly extreme) story.
"The ground does not care who you are. It will always be tougher than the human behind the controls."

~ CanuckInUSA

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>Is the point you're trying to make that we need more laws and regulations?

No, not at all. I think that the scenario presented can be resolved simply by going by the recommendations presented in the SIM, and by implementing student programs based on the SIM.

What I'm curious about is that people seem to think that as soon as they are off student status, those same recommendations become either worthless or "for other people" - and they use the rationale that individuals should decide what level of risk they are OK with without having to heed unthinking recommendations. If that's the case, from a purely philosophical level, there's very little difference between Stan going up and jumping his Sabre 170 (perhaps with an AAD added by a helpful friend) and a 100 jump wonder jumping that wingsuit, or plopping that camera on his head. None of those things is unreasonably risky; they will all probably survive the attempt with a little assistance.

From a practical level, there are more barriers to stop Stan than to stop Wanda the 100 jump wingsuiter. But philosophically, is any of the above more wrong than the other?

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From a practical level, there are more barriers to stop Stan than to stop Wanda the 100 jump wingsuiter. But philosophically, is any of the above more wrong than the other?



Yes, Wanda has shown the ability to be stable and pull. Wingsuit may very well fuck up her stability, but she knows the most important part is pulling and will probably spend alot of effort to do so.

Stan has a bad attitude, I cant imagine anyone (extreme bikers included) that is dumb enough to say, I can do it, my friend said so...

Also, what would he be loading that sabre 170 at?
"I may be a dirty pirate hooker...but I'm not about to go stand on the corner." iluvtofly
DPH -7, TDS 578, Muff 5153, SCR 14890
I'm an asshole, and I approve this message

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I think that the scenario presented can be resolved simply by going by the recommendations presented in the SIM, and by implementing student programs based on the SIM.



In high risk sports, recommendations to take it easy and be conservative are good.

However, society seems to be going the route of trying to warn everyone about everything, so in many activities in life, recommendations are overdone. Manufacturers of products, for example, go overboard and create a warning for everything, to the point of being ridiculous. The result is that many of their warnings are ignored.

I don't know about you, but if I buy a new fan, I just plug that sucker in and watch it blow. I don't follow the recommendations and read the manual first. I know that if I am careful, nothing bad will happen. (Of course I know enough not to be standing in the water when I do that.)

So when we point to recommendations in a document like the SIM, a certain number of people are going to assume they are overly strict, and that if they are careful, nothing bad will happen.

Perhaps we need a way of telling our less experienced skydivers that they are "standing in the water".

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I've had a number of similar situations usually because they are pilots (with a whopping 40 or 50 hours) or do paragliding.

The answer is always "No." Usually something a bit more diplomatic like, "That experience will be helpful to your learning progression, but to be safe and make sure you haven't missed anything we do need to have you sit through our FJC and do several jumps on the AFF progression with our instructors. If your performance proves you can safely skip some levels we will gladly allow you to do so but only based on demonstrated performance to our AFFI's in the air."

If the argument continues I ask what the proper procedure is for different 2 canopy out situations, which they never know. I then go on to explain the requirements for an A license which does require jumps with instructional rating holders, etc.

Most of them end up doing poorly on the first jump, some not even pulling for themselves. They usually don't argue after that about how the progression will work from there if they ever return at all.
"We've been looking for the enemy for some time now. We've finally found him. We're surrounded. That simplifies things." CP

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I always find it interesting when a low jump number person on here starts out by saying how safety conscious they are because they talked to x number of instructors/DZO/S&TA's and have decided that they are ready jump a camera/wingsuit/HP Canopy, because they are more "heads up"/skilled then average. If they were actually safety conscious they would back off and work on freefall skills before adding more complexity to their skydives. There are plenty of things to work on with out adding wingsuit/camera/HP Canopy.

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>Yes, Wanda has shown the ability to be stable and pull.

Agreed. But if Wanda knows so little about wingsuiting that she forgets to put her legs through her legstraps, all her experience pulling isn't going to help her. She's probably going to die. (And yes, that has happened.)

>Stan has a bad attitude

Also agreed. But many experienced jumpers have the same sort of attitude; we see it all the time here.

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society seems to be going the route of trying to warn everyone about everything, so in many activities in life, recommendations are overdone.



this is a super good point

that's why you pick your battles carefully, and for the other stuff, you shut your mouth, but keep your eyes open - then when you do speak up, it's not dismissed immediately as just more of the "same stuff as always"

Stan scenario is one battle we'd, of course, take on. "Go home Stan, there's no place for you here"

or "Hey, nice rig, who sold that to you? I might be interested in one"

...
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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>Yes, Wanda has shown the ability to be stable and pull.

Agreed. But if Wanda knows so little about wingsuiting that she forgets to put her legs through her legstraps, all her experience pulling isn't going to help her. She's probably going to die. (And yes, that has happened.)

>Stan has a bad attitude

Also agreed. But many experienced jumpers have the same sort of attitude; we see it all the time here.



I remember atleast one incident where that did happen, but how many times has it not happened? I agree one death is too many, but in the big picture, shit happens.

As for Stan, his only in air experience has been flipping around on a bike, no arching, no proven stability, hell, he probably doesnt know EP's.

I wouldnt let him jump if it was my call, if he refuses to take the progression with the ability of skipping levels, he can keep that sabre packed and take it home. Mad skillz or not. (I dont see any BSRs covering this situation.)

Wingsuits are now covered in a BSR (thanks to DSE for showing me). Who's letting her break the BSR?
"I may be a dirty pirate hooker...but I'm not about to go stand on the corner." iluvtofly
DPH -7, TDS 578, Muff 5153, SCR 14890
I'm an asshole, and I approve this message

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>??? - was this deliberate, or did you mean AAD?

But the bottom line here (and as expressed by a few others) would seem to be that he is willing to take the risk, even if others think it is unreasonable - and that only people who have 'seen him fly' can really be qualified to make any sort of a decision. Keep in mind that a license means nothing in a legal sense; you do not need a license to legally do any sort of jump at a DZ.




I'll take the full-on business-man approach to the situation. My house, my rules. you take the course, or find somewhere else to jump, if for no other reason than the amount of money I'll lose if you go in, both in lost tandem revenue as well as potentially having to shut down my DZ for a police review or shut it down for good if I'm criminally liable is more than I'll ever make off of you.

End of story from my perspective.

Edited for readability.
_______________
"Why'd you track away at 7,000 feet?"
"Even in freefall, I have commitment issues."

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>a certain number of people are going to assume they are overly strict . . .

Definitely. In the FJC you can deal with this by adjusting your teaching style to the filters that the student has; you have to say different things to a dentist than to a Navy SEAL to get the same point across. But with something like a SIM, it's there in black and white, with no one there to explain that they're not just suggestions.

I've seen 'recommendation deflation' happen here on line quite a bit. Brian Germain's excellent wingloading recommendation chart has two sets of numbers - a recommended minimum and a "never go above this loading" number. After a few years, people are using that chart and going well below the absolute minimum, thinking "well, I'm close to that guideline." We've seen the same thing with wingsuit and camera recommendations.

One way to combat that is to reinflate those numbers, but that's a losing proposition because they just become more meaningless in the long run. Another way is to try to reintroduce some intelligent interpretation of those recommendations, although that's a good way to earn the title "skygod" "canopy nazi" etc when done on line.

>I know that if I am careful, nothing bad will happen.

That's a good point too. I think people make that assumption all the time in skydiving. "I see Joe X wingsuiting all the time, and nothing bad happens to him. If I start wingsuiting, and am careful, nothing bad will happen either."

That happens with the fan example because we all have the experience of plugging in fans and having nothing bad happen. Well, usually; a classmate of my wife had her scalp ripped off by an industrial fan in a hospital - she's probably more careful around fans than most people.

Likewise, when a new jumper is at a fairly safety conscious DZ, he could go his first year without seeing anything bad happen, and form the idea that "nothing bad happens in this sport." For some it takes seeing a close call, an injury or fatality to begin to start to get a better appreciation of the dangers.

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> But if Wanda knows so little about wingsuiting that she forgets to put her legs through her legstraps, all her experience pulling isn't going to help her. She's probably going to die. (And yes, that has happened.)
reply]

I remember atleast one incident where that did happen, but how many times has it not happened??



And where this happened, the jumper went to one DZ and he was turned away from the DZ because of his inexperience, by a highly experienced and talented WS instructor (well done Chuck).

So this particular person went to a DZ nearby, I suspect convinced them of his mad skilz and forgot to put on his leg straps. And guess what - the person had too few jumps per the recommendations (as far as I recall).. So what message would you take from this???

***********************************************
I'm NOT totally useless... I can be used as a bad example

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It seems to me that the question comes down to whether or not we can ever trust the CI, DZO, S&TA etc etc.

In that other thread about the camera, a fellow had gone to those people and been allowed to jump with his camera. As I understand it, there were restrictions that had to be met, and the jumper was expected to stop with the camera if he found himself unable to meet them.

But still the thread had remarks that those people had done the wrong thing, had questionable motivations, etc etc.

If you don't trust the people in authority to do the right thing, then you are indeed advocating that recommendations be treated as rules.

As I see it, part of the reason that they are recommendations in the first place is that even the folks who are writing them admit that there can be reasonable exceptions.

Sure, this places additional responsibility on the people who you trust to make these reasonable exceptions. But they can always just say no if they are not happy with the proposal.

In Stan's case, those people know for a fact that there is simply no way that Stan can perform as he himself expects he can. They know that there are EPs to be learned and tested etc etc.

But, in the case of some of the other things to that you are comparing to Stan, it isn't quite so clear that there aren't people who can, in fact, place restrictions on their actions and proceed with reasonable safety. After all, they already displayed good judgment by knowing that the recommendation exists, and consulting with the appropriate experts to see if it might be exempted to one extent or another for him. He could have just put the thing on and gone to the plane.

Just for a twist, suppose Stan's friend had literally given him a First Jump Course. Suppose Stan's friend is an AFF-I, and suppose Stan can actually pass a written test and demonstrate EPs, and dive flow etc. Must you insist that he sits through the class again, or do you take him up on a Level-I and see what happens?

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>I remember atleast one incident where that did happen, but how many
>times has it not happened?

Probably many times. Likewise, if I just pushed AFF students out the door with an AAD and a reasonably sized main and reserve, the vast majority would survive without major injury. That does not make it a good idea - nor does the argument "well, it's fine as long as they accept the risk" fly in either case (IMO.)

>As for Stan, his only in air experience has been flipping around on a bike,
>no arching, no proven stability, hell, he probably doesnt know EP's.

He would argue that he did - and that you can't judge him; you've never seen him fly.

>Wingsuits are now covered in a BSR (thanks to DSE for showing me).
>Who's letting her break the BSR?

Likely someone who sees them as loose recommendations.

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>Just for a twist, suppose Stan's friend had literally given him a First Jump
>Course. Suppose Stan's friend is an AFF-I, and suppose Stan can actually
>pass a written test and demonstrate EPs, and dive flow etc. Must you
>insist that he sits through the class again?

Perhaps not! In that case, Stan followed the BSR's - and depending on currency may be able to go right back up.

Likewise, that jumper who has 500 jumps who wants to wingsuit is not, IMO, the bigger problem. It's the guy who has 100 jumps who decides to ignore the BSR on wingsuiting because he's "special."

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I see no problem in "placing out" IF and ONLY IF someone can demonstrate the appropriate knowledge and skills that would be transferred in the FJC.

Tell Stan he must take a test (and pay for the testing instructor's time) to show that he knows what he claims to know. If he shows any deficiencies, make him take the FJC.
...

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

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But does that same rationale hold at all levels of experience?



no and trying to compare the two is strawmaning imo

someone somewhere in the world should probably let this guy jump, he understands the risks he is willing to take them he thinks he has a certain amount of skill he is an adult let him have at it

would i let it happen were i worked/lived/owned. of course not because there is a massively increased risk of him dieing unnecessarily and if i dont know them then its all purely selfish reasons for me not wanting them to die (potential lawsuit / bad press for sport / potentially dz ruining)

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only people who have 'seen him fly'



no1 has seen him fly because he has never jumped before so again its unrelated to your final examples

in your own story you mention that someone may have passed aff in two jumps cause they were a tunnel rat. IF someone is extremely proficient in the tunnel, and can demonstrate stability in all orientations and at pull time and altitude awareness in two jumps then should the recomendations apply adn should they be forced to do the rest of the levels? im not so sure. i cant say either way but im definitely not in the camp that would definitely force them to do all 7 levels.


i think the recomendations are good in general and personally ill be sticking to them but i also think over regulation is bad and you guys need to take the stick out of your ass when you see someone with 180/190 jumps with a camera asking for advice

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It all comes down to regulation and how much do you want in the sport. For me, once you have your license you at least have the foundation to help you understand the risks and make some decisions. Hopefully those will be backed up and watched over by those around you and the rest of our community.

I like a reasonable to small level of regulation in skydiving and many other things in life. A drivers license is fine as a requirement to drive, but I don't want them to define when I can drive a more powerful car, drive in the rain/ice, when I can pull a small trailer, if I can drive at night etc. I have my license, let me make my decisions (hopefully good ones with good advice, resources etc.) and be responsible for those decisions.
As a community we have to watch out for each other and our new jumpers. We have to be reasonable, helpful, and teach them with our own experience. I am ok with the FAA and USPA having reasonable guidelines and regulations, but I don't want to be in a sport that is over regulated.

From a dropzone standpoint... I think they should be free to have as many rules as they want. It is their business, and they are at risk when things go wrong. If the market will accept their rules, they will do just fine. If not, people will go to other DZ's. I guess that is the beauty of a free market.

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I get someone like that pretty much once a year in Z-Hills. some of my typical responses depending on the actual conversation...

"Well, I want to be an astronaut sir, but I cannot just go over to NASA and climb in a rocket."

"How about this. Just as a quickie test - show me the way to activate the main parachute, where the steering toggles are and how you would activate the reserve parachute if needed"

and some of the actual conversations I have had over the years.....

Skydiver with 300 jumps, but no license, no logbook, no proof of when he last jumped, but does not understand why I would like him to finish his license.....
"Sir, a license means that you have demonstrated some level of proficiency to someone of some level of authority in skydiving. And if you do not have a license, then you will have to demonstrate said proficiency to one of my instructors."

"What's stopping me from just taking this rig and getting in my buddy's plane and jumping out?"
"Absolutely nothing sir, good luck with that, but you are not doing it here"

"So you just set all the rules then?"
"This is my business and yes, I do..."

"I don't know why you guys charge so much money....I thought you did this for fun!?"
"Well you see the large airplane out there with the big spinny things on it? When those spinny things are going around and around it costs about $15 a minute...."

or

"What do you do for living sir? Get paid for having fun?"

TK

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"I don't know why you guys charge so much money....I thought you did this for fun!?"
"Well you see the large airplane out there with the big spinny things on it? When those spinny things are going around and around it costs about $15 a minute...."



:D:D:D:D
"I may be a dirty pirate hooker...but I'm not about to go stand on the corner." iluvtofly
DPH -7, TDS 578, Muff 5153, SCR 14890
I'm an asshole, and I approve this message

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>no and trying to compare the two is strawmaning imo

And the idea that they are completely different is what I'm trying to understand. If someone is doing something that, to an experienced jumper, is extremely dangerous, and they don't seem to understand the risks, at a high level they _are_ similar. They're both adults. They may not have the experience to jump solo/jump a wingsuit/jump a Xaos/jump a camera - but THEY think they do, and thus the argument that they are adults holds sway in both cases.

We can say "well, once you're a skydiver, everything is different" but it's really not. Being a skydiver under a Manta does not really prepare you for doing camera; flying through the air on a motocross bike doesn't really prepare you for your first freefall. Sure, both are related. Sure, both can help. But in both cases, it is very likely that the person does not understand the risks very well, and would make different decisions if they did.

We are fortunate in having the BSR's as a guideline to help us make such calls. They're not laws so you don't go to jail if you break them, but since they were written in blood they have a lot of historical backing. Thus one of the very best ways to avoid becoming another one of those incidents is to heed them. Yet all too often, any suggestion that people do so is met with extreme hostility by some; hence the "canopy nazi" "skygod" labels applied to people who are trying to prevent some newer jumper from becoming the latest demonstration of that.

>you guys need to take the stick out of your ass

Like I said.

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