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billvon

Meet Stan the Student (long)

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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?



Can they also complete the canopy related objectives for all categories in the same two jumps?

There's more to "passing" AFF than what happens in freefall.

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I started riding bikes when I was 4 and was a paid professional Freestyle Motocross rider (was an extreme biker guy) for 6 years. Rode with the Crusty Demons, broke 10 bones, backflipped, sponsored, the whole deal.

When I started AFF I had no idea whether or not any of that was going to help me in skydiving or not. My instructors made no such assumption either.

After (only) 36 jumps I'd have to say the tens of thousands of FMX jumps over the years really played no part in helping me become a skydiver. Except maybe how to keep a little bit level headed in high pressure situations, but even then a streamer over your head at 2000ft is a little different to under roatating a backflip on a 75ft jump.

They are 2 very different sports, with similar consequences, that require 2 very different methods of training. If your good at soccer are you automatically good at rugby?

Even if Stan was one of my FMX buddies and I knew how good he was on 2 wheels, I still wouldnt jump out of a plane with him...

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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???



To be clear; the young man who died didn't have to convince anyone of anything. He knew the "instructor" from his home DZ. If the "instructor" had followed common sense or USPA protocol and examined a logbook, the young man had required nearly 40 jumps to complete AFF. A full 33% of his jump career had been dedicated to AFF.B|

He didn't know how to pack. The "instructor" (I keep using quotes because there is no "wingsuit instructor" rating, and any schlump can hang out a shingle. Being a bad-ass anything doesn't make you an instructor) knew the kid didn't know how to pack, knew the kid didn't have the skydives required, and knew that the kid wasn't heads-up at all.

All that said...the kid that died fit the curve perfectly. He'd gone through the same experiences in other things too, according to his grandmother. Thought he was bad-ass capable, thought he had it all together. He wasn't "Stan" but he sure as hell was Wanda.
He was a good kid, caught up in the same "I'm awesome-itis" that seems to hit many of us in the 100-500 jump range. I happened to have been one of those to a degree, just look at my old posts. I'm very embarrassed at some of them.

But it's a progression that seems to be par.[:/]

Dan (and two others that I knew) were huge motivators in trying to achieve a Wingsuit Instructor rating (thwarted by a manufacturer that wants to not have suit sales hampered by rules), or a BSR (which was achieved).

Manufacturers, instructors and coaches that don't follow the USPA recommendations they've agreed to support, and the "me now" generation coupled with technology are all part of the problem.

People have far more left brain skills in the sport today than they had even a decade ago because of access to information. Problem is, they don't take the time to develop the right-brain skills that allow the left-brain skills to be validated. The access to information helps build confidence factors that aren't backed up by experience.

Experience doesn't mean you won't f**k up. It just means you have a better chance of correcting yourself before it gets worse.

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There's more to "passing" AFF than what happens in freefall.



i didnt say anything about taking them off radio, in the mentioned scenario i dont think its a long stretch that they could be on radio for however long they need while being able to freefall on their own

having said that im not sure id be happy with them flying with someone who wasnt a coach before they got their licence no matter how good they are so im not sure there is an advantage at all to passing aff after two jumps, besides money of course but if your that good in the tunnel chances are you know most of the local skydivers and probably arent paying all that much for aff anyway

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I happened to have been one of those to a degree, just look at my old posts. I'm very embarrassed at some of them.

But it's a progression that seems to be par.[:/]



i have no business posting about the wingsuit incident so this is jsut about this part

you (and many others who post here im sure) have done exactly what your trying to stop other people from doing and that adds serious weight to your advice especially if its obvious that what happened was a serious life changing event.

but i think its how you guys try and stop others that is the problem everyone is an adult here and telling them that something is against the rules and thats that just dosnt cut it

telling them that people have been hurt or killed doing what they are ding dosnt cut it

i think they need graphic honest no bullshit personal accounts with no condescending personal attacks

and even if you do that yoru still not gonna reach everyone

iv worked and lived on a dropzone since i had 6 jumps not everyone i met and worked with knew my experience at the time and would talk to me like i was an experienced jumper and i heard all the horror stories(and success stories) and saw some failry crazy stuff that people without licences probably shouldnt see and it has made me a more cautious jumper (perhaps overly cautious) but i have seen it do the exact opposite to people(the minority).

people who have seen and heard the exact same stuff that i have have gone the other way trying to be bad ass know it alls and its that minority that you need to figure something out to get threw to but imo your never gonna succede i think they are the type of people who will only learn threw personal experience

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I'd take TK's approach: Yes, Stan, you can hire out some private plane, if you can find a willing pilot, and have at it; but No, you can't do it at my DZ or with my equipment. I'm not willing to be your enabler; I don't want the FAA all over my ass; and I'm not willing to be your family's defendant.

That would be the end of the discussion. Any follow-up questions or baiting from him would be spoken to my departing back.

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To be clear; the young man who died didn't have to convince anyone of anything. He knew the "instructor" from his home DZ. If the "instructor" had followed common sense or USPA protocol and examined a logbook, the young man had required nearly 40 jumps to complete AFF. A full 33% of his jump career had been dedicated to AFF.B|

He didn't know how to pack. .



Or to put on a rig properly.

All of which goes to emphasize that jump numbers don't correlate well with abilities. That is the reason why demonstration of ability rather than jump number needs to be used before someone can be recommended to do X, Y or Z.
...

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

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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.


Hear! Hear!
If people take nothing more than this from this thread, we would be having fewer of these types of discussions....and fewer incidents.

Thanks, Bill.


*As an aside...BSR = Basic Safety Requirements
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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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.



And therein lies one the problems. A license doesn't automatically instill common sense, logic or an understanding of risks whereas some people seem to think it does.

That "foundation" does not include any measure of understanding anything nor does it have any basis in common sense and logic.

That A-license proficiency card and the A-license test? Hmmmm, I can regurgitate facts all day without really understanding any of it. Hell, I went through 4 years of engineering school with a 3.6 and came out dumb as a brick with respect to real-life engineering functions. What it did was prepare me to be trained.

So, all of us, as instructors, tutors, guidance counselors and friends need to take up the slack and help train these guys even to the point of refusing to allow the risky behavior of the unwilling-to-learn.
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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Ok, how about this semi-hypothetical situation?

D-License S/L Instructor 500-800 jumps. Biffed twice, hard enough to break his back the first time, and break just about everything below the waist the 2nd time. This was under a ~1.4 loaded elliptical. After the 2nd one (biff was in August, was walking without crutches sometime after christmas), the club-operated DZ agreed he could jump again if: A - upsized to a non-elliptical and B - no speed induced landings. The discussion that led to the agreement was long and involved, many wanted him grounded permanently. The argument that won over in the end was that if he wanted to jump, he would and if we kept him here we could keep an eye on him and hopefully prevent him from doing anything stupid.
He jumped following those conditions without incident for a couple years then moved out of the area. We heard that he had sold his gear and gotten out of the sport.

Fast forward a couple years to last year. He shows up a a neighboring DZ with a brand new rig. It has an elliptical one size smaller than his previous elliptical. He apparently jumps there a few times (not a whole lot, less than 20 for the year) and doesn't get hurt.

That DZ has changed management, and the new DZO will no longer let him jump. There may or may not be reasons other than canopy size.

He wants to come back to my DZ and jump. A lot of the members who were involved in the previous decision are no longer a part of the club (left the sport or left the area or similar).

With an elliptical loaded ~1.5.

Not very current, and having 2 serious (hospital serious) accidents in the past.

What would you do?
"There are NO situations which do not call for a French Maid outfit." Lucky McSwervy

"~ya don't GET old by being weak & stupid!" - Airtwardo

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What would you do?



Depends on the kind of DZ which I, as the DZO, choose to have and run. Some DZOs choose to have business models in which a "no rules; you're responsible for yourself" philosophy prevails. I can think of at least one popular DZ in California and another popular one in the upper Mid-Atlantic that more or less fit that description. I know of another DZ in the Northeast that adopted a "no hook turns" rule a few years ago after a well-loved, well-experienced jumper was killed there in a landing accident under a fully-functioning, higher-performance canopy.

If I decide to be a stricter DZO, maybe it's because I don't want to deal with the emotional trauma that comes from having a fatality on my DZ and spending months of sleepless nights wondering if there's something more I might have done to prevent it. Or maybe I don't want to deal with all the shit from the FAA and possible risk to my operations from the whuffo locals that can come from a fatality. That's my choice.

If I'm a lenient DZO, maybe I feel that my business is more or less safe from negative effects of the occasional bad incident, or maybe I'm simply militant about jumpers taking the consequences of their own choices and my not being their nanny. That, too is my choice.

As to your specific scenario, I'd inform the new current DZO & S&TA - or membership, if it's a club and/or decisions like this are made more or less on a group basis - about everything I knew, so that whover it is that makes the decision can do so on the basis of complete information.

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All of which goes to emphasize that jump numbers don't correlate well with abilities. That is the reason why demonstration of ability rather than jump number needs to be used before someone can be recommended to do X, Y or Z.



John - I applaud your continued effort in several threads to try to get this point across. Recognition of this fact has several corollaries:

1. Someone (presumably an instructor) has to take the time to assess if a jumper is skilled enough for X, Y or Z.
2. That someone has to have the will (and backing of the DZO, S&TA etc) to say 'no' if the jumper fails to meet the standards.
3. All discussion of whether a jumper is qualified to do X, Y or Z on DZ.com is rendered invalid unless the person posting has been present at the "evaluation".
"The ground does not care who you are. It will always be tougher than the human behind the controls."

~ CanuckInUSA

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John - I applaud your continued effort in several threads to try to get this point across. Recognition of this fact has several corollaries:

1. Someone (presumably an instructor) has to take the time to assess if a jumper is skilled enough for X, Y or Z.
2. That someone has to have the will (and backing of the DZO, S&TA etc) to say 'no' if the jumper fails to meet the standards.
3. All discussion of whether a jumper is qualified to do X, Y or Z on DZ.com is rendered invalid unless the person posting has been present at the "evaluation".



Who evaluates the evaluator?
Not only are there a few sub-standard instructors, but there are no camera, wingsuit, CRW, freefly, or other discipline-related ratings.

You can always find someone who will tell you what you want to hear vs what you need to hear. You can also hear what you want to hear when someone is trying to tell you what you need to hear.
Even now...I don't think Kallend is supporting your position, but that's how you're choosing to read it.

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I can think of at least one popular DZ in California and another popular one in the upper Mid-Atlantic that more or less fit that description.



Your characterization of that NorCal dz is not entirely accurate.

Solely in the interest of accuracy and fairness, I must point out that popular "no rules" dz in NorCal has a NO HOOK TURNS rule.

Hook it there, and you will be banned. At least that's what I have been told.

Some will surely call me a fan of that dz, though I am not.

But fan or not, it is not fair to ignore the fact that they have and apply the rule I have mentioned.

Many other dropzones, my home dropzone included, have been unwilling to establish such a rule.

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John - I applaud your continued effort in several threads to try to get this point across. Recognition of this fact has several corollaries:

1. Someone (presumably an instructor) has to take the time to assess if a jumper is skilled enough for X, Y or Z.
2. That someone has to have the will (and backing of the DZO, S&TA etc) to say 'no' if the jumper fails to meet the standards.
3. All discussion of whether a jumper is qualified to do X, Y or Z on DZ.com is rendered invalid unless the person posting has been present at the "evaluation".



Who evaluates the evaluator?



Who evaluates the people who propose any BSR?

Who evaluates the folks who decided that 200 jumps is appropriate for a camera or wingsuit or that 25 jumps are needed for an "A"?

Who evaluated Brian Germaine's WL chart?

Who evaluated BV's downsizing checklist?

Whenever any kind of restriction is imposed you will have the same problem, and I don't think it's insurmountable.
...

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

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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.





And therein lies one the problems. A license doesn't automatically instill common sense, logic or an understanding of risks whereas some people seem to think it does.

That "foundation" does not include any measure of understanding anything nor does it have any basis in common sense and logic.



He's no expert, but has a foundation compared to "Stan" who has no time in the sport. Classroom training, days spent at the DZ and a few dozen jumps at least give some foundation to make decisions based on some level of understanding compared to the guy who wants to buy a rig on ebay and jump out of his friends 152.

Largely I agree with you. And from a DZ standpoint I think that is fine (again with the point that the DZ has the right to make/enforce any rule they want as the business owners and those with the liability). But I don't want too much of that from the USPA or FAA. I think instead of them, it should be common sense, community/mentors/JM's/DZs/experianded jumpers/guidelines etc. to help guide the way. IMO, it's that way for most things in life from Scuba, heavy machinery, etc . The driving example before is a good one I think. It is complex, high risk, and you can easily hurt/kill yourself and others in a car. It can take years and tons of experience to really get good/understand it (I swear I know people driving 20 years that don't know what way to turn the wheel if they start into a spin).At 16 y ears old with a fresh license you cant know everything and are skilled enough to take on all challenges and conditions and you might end up as one of the 10's of thousands who become "incidents" there too. But do you really want the state or gvt. to be the one who says "you have to have X miles driving experience and X years on the road before you can drive after 10PM...or drive in the rain?"
or anything similar? I didn't and still don't. Let me use my brain, friends, family etc. to help guide those decisions and then be responsible for the decisions made.

Nothing can promise that we instill common sense/logic/understanding. I think we all know people in this sport and others that prove that "experience" and skill and understanding don't always go hand in hand. I think if we are reasonable with our rules and regs and have a good community to help folks out...we are on good ground. I don't like the idea of making rules/laws etc. that are based on the fringe/crazy/stupid.

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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.



And therein lies one the problems. A license doesn't automatically instill common sense, logic or an understanding of risks whereas some people seem to think it does.



I submit that a license is a better indicator than "x-hundred jumps". At least to get a license you have to demonstrate that you have certain abilities in addition to simply surviving.

Jump numbers are a very poor indicator of either ability or judgment.
...

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

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I went through 4 years of engineering school with a 3.6 and came out dumb as a brick with respect to real-life engineering functions. What it did was prepare me to be trained.



But you didn't get your engineering degree and (presumably) license just by virtue of occupying a chair in a classroom for X number of hours. You were tested for ability along the way and had to PASS. And I strongly suspect that your university gave placement tests to incoming students so the smart ones could progress faster while the dumb ones took remedial stuff. I also suspect it allowed credit by exam (most do) if you had the knowledge and ability to pass the course exams without having to sit in the classroom for hours listening to people like me.
...

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

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...But do you really want the state or gvt. to be the one who says "you have to have X miles driving experience and X years on the road before you can drive after 10PM...or drive in the rain?"
or anything similar? I didn't and still don't. Let me use my brain, friends, family etc. to help guide those decisions and then be responsible for the decisions made...



We do have that.

In skydiving, A-license holders don't have the same priviliges as B, C or D-holders. Canopy selection and camera use aren't among the areas covered, but pull altitudes and demos certainly are.

And most states now have some sort of "graduated" driver's license. Teens aren't allowed to drive with X number of passengers or at night (or a few other things that I can't think of) until they have X years of experience behind the wheel.

And I don't have the slightest problem with that.

Because accurate self-appraisal is pretty rare. And the ratio of those who think they are ready for something (especially when they are ahead of recommendations) to those who are actually ready is incredibly high.

And when they are on the road or in the sky with others, they are responsible for far more than their own lives.
"There are NO situations which do not call for a French Maid outfit." Lucky McSwervy

"~ya don't GET old by being weak & stupid!" - Airtwardo

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Who evaluates the evaluator?
Not only are there a few sub-standard instructors, but there are no camera, wingsuit, CRW, freefly, or other discipline-related ratings.



I appreciate what you are saying, but you do not offer a solution.

Ultimately, I think this comes down to the DZO and S&TA to make a decision to sign someone off to do X at their DZ.

If, for example, neither the DZO or the S&TA have any wingsuit experience and the jumper wants to start wingsuit flying, then the answer could be:

1. Ask another experienced wingsuit jumper at the DZ to train/evaluate the jumper.
2. Suggest the jumper attends formal wingsuit training
3. If all else fails, go by the BSR

I don't think we'll ever find a perfect solution to this issue, but I think we can take an intelligent approach to it. As I stated on another thread, I believe we already have the framework for this (through the powers of the S&TA), but what is lacking is the consistent will to enforce it.
"The ground does not care who you are. It will always be tougher than the human behind the controls."

~ CanuckInUSA

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But do you really want the state or gvt. to be the one who says "you have to have X miles driving experience and X years on the road before you can drive after 10PM...or drive in the rain?"
or anything similar? I didn't and still don't. Let me use my brain, friends, family etc. to help guide those decisions and then be responsible for the decisions made.



Many states do just that now ... it's called graduated licensing. Many years ago when I was 16 my parents created their own version of "graduated licensing" - they limited my driving at night, they limited my driving with others in the car, they limited where I could drive. Like most 16 year olds, I did whatever I could to get around those restrictions because I thought I had Mad Driving Skillz. Despite my attempts to do an end-run around my parents, had the restrictions had the force of law (rather than just parental disapproval) I might have acted differently (being the geeky, law-abiding sort that I am). Of course there are always folks that think they're above the law (or BSRs, in this case), it might slow down more people with Mad Skillz than the laissez-faire approach.
"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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> That is the reason why demonstration of ability rather than jump number
>needs to be used before someone can be recommended to do X, Y or Z.

I think you need both.

Jump numbers does not guarantee ability or skill - but lack of jump numbers guarantees the lack of skill. I can promise you that a jumper with 10 jumps under a Navigator does not have the skill to land a 2.6 to 1 loaded Velocity. Even if I've never seen him and I don't know his mad skillz.

Now, beyond a certain point, he MAY have enough experience/skill to jump that kind of canopy if he really does have mad skillz, and gets really good coaching, and is jumping at the right DZ, and is careful etc. That's where minimum jump number levels come in.

Do you have 10 jumps? You can't jump a wingsuit, sorry. There is just no possible way that the jumper has sufficient experience to safely pull that off, even if he is God's gift to the sport.

Do you have 150 jumps? That's getting closer. Try a few tracking dives; see how they go. Do X Y and Z to get ready for a wingsuit. Jump with an instructor so they can evaluate your skills without a suit.

Do you have 200 jumps? Then MAYBE you're ready, if you've done the above, are unusually heads up, are jumping with a good instructor etc.

No one is suggesting that once you have 200 jumps you are "recommended to do X, Y and Z." The jump/loading limits are just one part of the requirements to do any of those things; the requirements on skill, judgment and training are far more important (and also harder to quantify.)

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But do you really want the state or gvt. to be the one who says "you have to have X miles driving experience and X years on the road before you can drive after 10PM...or drive in the rain?"
or anything similar? I didn't and still don't. Let me use my brain, friends, family etc. to help guide those decisions and then be responsible for the decisions made.



Many states do just that now ... it's called graduated licensing. Many years ago when I was 16 my parents created their own version of "graduated licensing" - they limited my driving at night, they limited my driving with others in the car, they limited where I could drive. Like most 16 year olds, I did whatever I could to get around those restrictions because I thought I had Mad Driving Skillz. Despite my attempts to do an end-run around my parents, had the restrictions had the force of law (rather than just parental disapproval) I might have acted differently (being the geeky, law-abiding sort that I am). Of course there are always folks that think they're above the law (or BSRs, in this case), it might slow down more people with Mad Skillz than the laissez-faire approach.



Some people have better judgment at 16 than others have at 40.

We have seen successful F1 drivers under the age of 20.

Just because age is an EASY indicator doesn't mean it is a good one.

It's just another example of the old adage: a cop walking his beat one night finds a drunk on his knees, searching for something on the street under a streetlight. The cop asks the drunk, “What are you doing?” “Looking for my car keys,” says the drunk. The cop asks, “Where did you lose your keys?” “Over there” the man answers. The cop, a bit perplexed, asks, “Then, why are you looking here if you lost your keys over there?” Responds the drunk, “Because the light is better here, under the streetlight.”
...

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

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