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billvon

Meet Stan the Student (long)

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Four 19 year olds have competed in F1 Grand Prix races. No-one told them they couldn't drive an F1 car until they were older.



Those drivers were all racing since they were between 5 or 10 and have proven themselves on various levels of racing before they got to F1. Other examples are also not very good. If you started skydiving when you were 5 you'd be pretty awesome by the time you're 19. So metaphorically speaking those guys had lots of jumps, many years in the sport and they were good at it. ;)
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This reminds me of the guy that called the dz years ago because he needed extra income that month. He was a ball room dance instructor and thought that could translate/cross over into skydiving instructor. We explained that it did not.

In the case of Stan....I would explain to him that at our dz we do things this way....and if he would like to jump he would have to abide by the dropzone rules. (after I pulled by jaw off the floor).

j
Be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.

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Jump numbers are very poor indicators of what is important - judgment, awareness, skill, ability.


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Because jump numbers are very poor indicators of what is important, so their use as such is inappropriate when better indicators are available.



No doubt there is at least one person out there, or maybe a group of people out there who could go do a jump with a person and make an accurate thumbs up/tumbs down evaluation on whether someone is ready for a camera, wingsuit, or particular canopy. Ideally, this would be preferable to jump number requirements.

I'm extremely skeptical about our sport's ability to produce instructors/evaluators with that kind of clairvoyance on a scale that would make the complete elimination of jump number requirements practical. That's why I called your argument academic.

Slight tangent: Anyone remember AD licenses? That was an example of objective decipline-specific skill evaluation, but that was a sign-off for freeflying in groups not freeflying at all.

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When I got my A license it was referred to by my instructor as the "license to kill yourself" and was accompanied by a speech about how no one was responsible for me anymore and I could do whatever I wanted if I chose to but that didn't mean I should.

Until they get the A license, they don't have the right to kill themselves. Hopefully afterwards they'll learn not to.

It's all about knowledge. If someone wants to learn to wingsuit, swoop, or camera fly we should teach them regardless of jump numbers at least the ground school portion. Part of this training should involved the recommendations and risks as well as simulated practice techniques they can do. If they still insist on doing whatever, they at least know and accept the risks.

Where we're losing is the people that say or imply "If you do x, you'll get hurt or killed", because that's not true. They stand a much higher chance of getting hurt or killed, but it's not a certainty.

Another more effective route may be to determine what their goals are and explain how by rushing they're going to make it take longer.

Then there are those that won't listen and may only learn via IPA-Intense Physical Agony or survive the curve.

I do agree there is a potential requirements COI if the instructor is also a vendor rep.

Edit: In Stan's case offer to let him take a test for free but if he fails, he has to go through the whole ground school. Then either give him some of the USPA tests as well as some hanging harness scenarios. :)
Stupidity if left untreated is self-correcting
If ya can't be good, look good, if that fails, make 'em laugh.

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Edit: In Stan's case offer to let him take a test for free but if he fails, he has to go through the whole ground school. Then either give him some of the USPA tests as well as some hanging harness scenarios. :)



Going back to post #1 Bill Von's mythical Stan the Student had zero jumps. Why would you waste the time to give him the test for free? Whether he passes the test or not he damn well better go through the whole ground school.
"For you see, an airplane is an airplane. A landing area is a landing area. But a dropzone... a dropzone is the people."

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>When I got my A license it was referred to by my instructor as the "license to
>kill yourself" and was accompanied by a speech about how no one was
>responsible for me anymore and I could do whatever I wanted if I chose to
>but that didn't mean I should.

Well, not quite. When you have your A license you do indeed get the right to screw up - but not the right to do demos, competitions, AFF etc. All those things require more jumps/experience.

You didn't pass a magic threshold there; I assume there was no sudden insight into skydiving, just a gradual learning of skills and gradual acceptance of risks. When you got your license it was because you were ready to jump on your own, but not to do things like demos. That's why you need more experience to do them.

> If they still insist on doing whatever, they at least know and accept the risks.

Right - but that goes back to this guy. Let's say you lecture him for six hours on all the things that can go wrong jumping on his own and he still says "I totally understand and accept that; I still want to do it." Does that make it OK?

I think most people would say no. And part of the reason is that he really _doesn't_ understand the risks; he has no basis on which to understand them.

Will he understand them after one jump? Probably not. How about ten? Maybe. How about after 25? Probably - which works, because at that point he can get a license and jump completely on his own.

Is there any magic to that 25 jump number? No; it's just a guess based on most people's progressions. Likewise, is there any magic to that 200 or 500 jump number? No; it's just a minimum that works pretty well.

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Edit: In Stan's case offer to let him take a test for free but if he fails, he has to go through the whole ground school. Then either give him some of the USPA tests as well as some hanging harness scenarios. :)



Going back to post #1 Bill Von's mythical Stan the Student had zero jumps. Why would you waste the time to give him the test for free? Whether he passes the test or not he damn well better go through the whole ground school.



And he would or might just leave. But rather than just telling him, you show him that he's not ready.

The "free" offer would be some equivalent to if you pass our tests, we go jump with your rules, if you don't you either take the full training at regular price or pay $x for the testing time.

Most likely the first time you put him in the hanging harness wearing that camera and show him a mal, he'll freeze or screw up and then you explain to him that had he done that in the air he'd be dead.
Stupidity if left untreated is self-correcting
If ya can't be good, look good, if that fails, make 'em laugh.

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Right - but that goes back to this guy. Let's say you lecture him for six hours on all the things that can go wrong jumping on his own and he still says "I totally understand and accept that; I still want to do it." Does that make it OK?



Until they get the A license, they don't have the right to kill themselves. Hopefully afterwards they'll learn not to.

As for your other examples:
* One can compete at 25 jumps unless that competition has a min jump number.
* Demos are so far out of the realm, they aren't relavent.
* Coaching and instruction of course they can't do yet as it leads back to the higher level of care required for unlicensed jumpers.
Stupidity if left untreated is self-correcting
If ya can't be good, look good, if that fails, make 'em laugh.

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They stand a much higher chance of getting hurt or killed, but it's not a certainty.



Let me start off by saying I am no hurry to kill myself and will follow the recommendation of 200 jumps.

However, I have yet to read a single incident involving injury or death that was directly involved with the distraction of wearing a camera too soon.

It makes sense to me not to do it, but I don't believe it can be proven that there is a much higher chance of getting hurt or killed.

Everybody in this sport was a Whuffo once. We all had to evaluate risks and overcome common misconceptions about the danger of skydiving. I think that as a group we are people who don't accept anectdotal evidence over empirical evidence. Show me the statistics.
For the same reason I jump off a perfectly good diving board.

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>One can compete at 25 jumps unless that competition has a min jump
>number.

One cannot compete in the official USPA national competition, which is the one they control. Local leagues/DZO's can do whatever they want, of course, but we're talking about USPA jump number limitations.

>Demos are so far out of the realm, they aren't relavent.

?? Why? Many jumpers consider them to be like any other jump. You exit, freefall, open and land like they do normally. Why shouldn't an A licensed jumper be able to decide on his own if he wants to risk his own life on a demo?

>Coaching and instruction of course they can't do yet

Sounds like we agree that there is a hard and fast jump number limitation there.

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>One can compete at 25 jumps unless that competition has a min jump
>number.

One cannot compete in the official USPA national competition, which is the one they control. Local leagues/DZO's can do whatever they want, of course, but we're talking about USPA jump number limitations.

>Demos are so far out of the realm, they aren't relavent.

?? Why? Many jumpers consider them to be like any other jump. You exit, freefall, open and land like they do normally. Why shouldn't an A licensed jumper be able to decide on his own if he wants to risk his own life on a demo?

>Coaching and instruction of course they can't do yet

Sounds like we agree that there is a hard and fast jump number limitation there.



Sure, when there are students or the general public involved. ;)

And paraphrasing what you said about competitions, the organizers of the comp can set whatever requirements they please, just like DZOs.
Stupidity if left untreated is self-correcting
If ya can't be good, look good, if that fails, make 'em laugh.

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So you prefer the easy over the good. Fair enough.



It's not so much as easy as what is most likely to work across all dropzones not just the large mega dropzones.



Are you seriously telling us that you have to go to a mega DZ to find an instructor who can evaluate your awareness and abilities and sign you off to jump with a Go-Pro?
...

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

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Jump numbers are very poor indicators of what is important - judgment, awareness, skill, ability.


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Because jump numbers are very poor indicators of what is important, so their use as such is inappropriate when better indicators are available.



No doubt there is at least one person out there, or maybe a group of people out there who could go do a jump with a person and make an accurate thumbs up/tumbs down evaluation on whether someone is ready for a camera, wingsuit, or particular canopy. Ideally, this would be preferable to jump number requirements.
.



Yes, the same we people we trust to evaluate complete beginners and decide whether or not they are safe to jump unsupervised from an airplane in flight for the first time. We call them "INSTRUCTORS".
...

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

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Yes, the same we people we trust to evaluate complete beginners and decide whether or not they are safe to jump unsupervised from an airplane in flight for the first time. We call them "INSTRUCTORS".

So can any CFI take you for a check ride in any new airplane?

Wendy P.
There is nothing more dangerous than breaking a basic safety rule and getting away with it. It removes fear of the consequences and builds false confidence. (tbrown)

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It's a problem because one of the best canopy pilots and coaches in the business put some significant effort into making a really useful chart which - if used correctly - could save a lot of people from death and/or injury. And it's being misused.

It is still one man's opinion. If I say "banning skydiving will immediately stop all skydiving related deaths" that WILL save more people than Germain's chart. It doesn't mean it is the right solution.

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I am glad I just downsized. If you "experts" can't agree - it can't be all that drastically wrong.

Who did you ask who disagreed?



Is this a deliberate attempt at misunderstanding? My point is that if all the "experts" on DZ.com can't come to a consesnus about when a person is fit to fly a certain canopy then the answer is not as obvious as some might want to make it seem.

All the people I asked agreed that I am fine jumping what I do, and frankly they count more to me than a faceless committee somewhere.
"The ground does not care who you are. It will always be tougher than the human behind the controls."

~ CanuckInUSA

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They stand a much higher chance of getting hurt or killed, but it's not a certainty.



Let me start off by saying I am no hurry to kill myself and will follow the recommendation of 200 jumps.

However, I have yet to read a single incident involving injury or death that was directly involved with the distraction of wearing a camera too soon.

It makes sense to me not to do it, but I don't believe it can be proven that there is a much higher chance of getting hurt or killed.

Everybody in this sport was a Whuffo once. We all had to evaluate risks and overcome common misconceptions about the danger of skydiving. I think that as a group we are people who don't accept anectdotal evidence over empirical evidence. Show me the statistics.



Good, that you don't want to be the first injury or fatality to prove our arguments valid :-)

IMHO "Statistics" is the wrong way here.

A whuffo human (aka child) is protected by experienced humans (aka parents) by anectdotal and not by empirical evidence. Some children understand that they might burn their hand on a hot plate (hot+hand=ouch). Other children don't, but usually is sufficient to talk about "someone" who burned his hand. You don't need to know some victim by name or have to show actual cases of burn marks or statistics of burned hands vs. male childs between 3 and 7 in southern USA.

I think you understand the higher risk of cameras in skydiving and that a little more skydiving experience might be useful.

Luckily i can not give you a name of a victim (but DSE has a list of some sort). And statistics work with a large number of cases only.

Larger numbers..., yes, there is an increasing number of wannabe camera flyers IMHO because the video gadgets are smaller and cheaper than before. And in Web 2.0 age there is a new strong urge to create cool video content.

But we don't have a large number of low jump camera flyers, yet, luckily. Because we (read more experienced jumpers) have some 200-jump-rules to protect them and we try to educate them. I don't know how efficient this is and how long we can hold the fence high enough.

Even from the larger pool of regular camera flyers we have few reports about the specific dangers of camera flying. And even these numbers are not sufficient for statistics. I myself read them as "anectdotal evidence" and still learn a lot for my camera flying safety.

IMHO old cameraflyers can and should also reduce the urge. Help the new guy to show the joy of his new skydiving passion to his friends. Take a break from tandem video and do some video for the newbies. Give them footage to edit and to publish, you might be surprised by the results. Some "200" jumps later they might be ready to become a camera flyer themselves or they forgot about being a lonesome videot and play with regular jump buddies.

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Jump numbers are very poor indicators of what is important - judgment, awareness, skill, ability.


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Because jump numbers are very poor indicators of what is important, so their use as such is inappropriate when better indicators are available.



No doubt there is at least one person out there, or maybe a group of people out there who could go do a jump with a person and make an accurate thumbs up/tumbs down evaluation on whether someone is ready for a camera, wingsuit, or particular canopy. Ideally, this would be preferable to jump number requirements.
.



Yes, the same we people we trust to evaluate complete beginners and decide whether or not they are safe to jump unsupervised from an airplane in flight for the first time. We call them "INSTRUCTORS".



Randomly picking Kallends post to reply to. Firstly I believe that Kallend is correct in that testing is a good basis for progression. However I do believe that one point that is being missed in all of this is that for most people skydiving is a SPORT or HOBBY - why rush having fun? Whether a minimum is 50 or 500 those still translate into time and effort having fun.

People complaining about minimums remind me of our kids learning musical instruments - they wanted to skip over learning the scales and basics to get to the "real fun". Keeping in mind this is a sport I believe that there should be minimum skill requirements (not jump numbers) It may well be that the proficiency tests require "doing a 10 times to standard b" followed by xyz resulting in a practical minimum number of jumps that it is possible to achieve the standard. This enables Stan to progress much faster that Daft Dave.
Experienced jumper - someone who has made mistakes more often than I have and lived.

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Randomly picking Kallends post to reply to. Firstly I believe that Kallend is correct in that testing is a good basis for progression. However I do believe that one point that is being missed in all of this is that for most people skydiving is a SPORT or HOBBY - why rush having fun? Whether a minimum is 50 or 500 those still translate into time and effort having fun.



I don't recall anyone suggesting that testing isn't a good indicator or skill progression or knowledge. I agree that practical and written testing are much better indicators of skill and knowledge than jump numbers. My concern however, is that many of these things being discussed such as increased wing loading, high performance landings and camera flying also depend on good judgement and awareness which develop with experience. I can accept that wingsuit flying may also be in this category, but since I don't fly wingsuit, I'm not really qualified to comment on that at all. I'm not convinced that testing is a good indicator of judgement or awareness. Tests are usually built around a set of common test scenarios that everyone does, but anyone can practise a maneauvre series or study a book and then perform accordingly. What's less clear is how you will handle the situations that we didn't foresee, how you will handle high pressure situations and how you will act when you don't think others are watching and/or evaluating you. I will agree that measures such as jump numbers are only loosely correlated with good judgement and awareness, but nobody has suggested a better alternative, yet.

I would have difficulty agreeing with jump number minimums on the terms you've suggested. You seem to be suggesting that they are just arbitrary limits with little reason behind them except to hold people back while they have what we've determined should be "fun". At least, that's how this sounded to me and if that's all they were, I would have trouble agreeing with them too, but I agree with them because I don't think that's all they are.

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Randomly picking Kallends post to reply to. Firstly I believe that Kallend is correct in that testing is a good basis for progression. However I do believe that one point that is being missed in all of this is that for most people skydiving is a SPORT or HOBBY - why rush having fun? Whether a minimum is 50 or 500 those still translate into time and effort having fun.



I don't recall anyone suggesting that testing isn't a good indicator or skill progression or knowledge. I agree that practical and written testing are much better indicators of skill and knowledge than jump numbers. My concern however, is that many of these things being discussed such as increased wing loading, high performance landings and camera flying also depend on good judgement and awareness which develop with experience. I can accept that wingsuit flying may also be in this category, but since I don't fly wingsuit, I'm not really qualified to comment on that at all. I'm not convinced that testing is a good indicator of judgement or awareness. Tests are usually built around a set of common test scenarios that everyone does, but anyone can practise a maneauvre series or study a book and then perform accordingly. What's less clear is how you will handle the situations that we didn't foresee, how you will handle high pressure situations and how you will act when you don't think others are watching and/or evaluating you. I will agree that measures such as jump numbers are only loosely correlated with good judgement and awareness, but nobody has suggested a better alternative, yet.

I would have difficulty agreeing with jump number minimums on the terms you've suggested. You seem to be suggesting that they are just arbitrary limits with little reason behind them except to hold people back while they have what we've determined should be "fun". At least, that's how this sounded to me and if that's all they were, I would have trouble agreeing with them too, but I agree with them because I don't think that's all they are.



Joys of miscommunicationB| I mean that skydiving is FUN so what is all the rush to lose out on enjoying the journey. If you are looking for a license to get more "money" etc then I can understand being in a rush to get there. For a sport skydiver EVERY jump should be made with the intention of having FUN - from the very first jump!

I do think that jump numbers are arbitrary and that more should be considered. When I started jumping I was 16 years old and very poor - it took me at least a year to get onto freefall and by the time that I had 100 jumps I possibly had 10 minutes of freefall and ALL 100 jumps were on T10's and C9's. Most other jumpers transitioned to squares at around 50 jumps. Going by "jump numbers" I was more experienced that those 50 jump people (and could probably spot better than them!) BUT they were on squares I wasn't so they had skills that I lacked. I still had fun and I can honestly say that I enjoyed EVERY single jump.I did hop and pops from 8000 feet on T-10's a couple of times (yes beer and 5 leaf vegetables may have been involved:Don one occasion), did cross country jumps and simply explored the boundaries of what WAS allowed for me.
Experienced jumper - someone who has made mistakes more often than I have and lived.

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I'm not convinced that testing is a good indicator of judgement or awareness. Tests are usually built around a set of common test scenarios that everyone does, .



Judgment is also unrelated to jump numbers, so we can dismiss that issue immediately. If you want judgment, raise the minimum age limit to 35.

FAA pilot examiners are required to produce distractions during the test to evaluate the candidates' ability to deal with distractions and maintain focus and awareness. I see no reason why something similar can't be developed in skydiving.
...

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

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>If I say "banning skydiving will immediately stop all skydiving related
>deaths" that WILL save more people than Germain's chart. It doesn't
>mean it is the right solution.

Yep, and you can reduce any discussion to an absurd argument like that. The trick is to find a good balance between what we want to do and what will keep people alive long enough for them to learn enough to make good decisions.

>My point is that if all the "experts" on DZ.com can't come to a consesnus
>about when a person is fit to fly a certain canopy then the answer is not
>as obvious as some might want to make it seem.

Ah, your statement seemed to indicate that someone had specifically disagreed with your canopy choice.

But yes, people disagree. Brian Germain is one of the best in the business and most of the canopy coaches I've talked to seem to agree with his recommendations. But people will always disagree, and if a jumper wants to (and hunts long enough) he can find someone who will tell him what he wants to hear. I would suggest that this is not the best way to decide how to progress in the sport.

Arguments like the above make me think that, sadly, the only way to deal with such recommendations is to make them BSR's, so that they have the "force of law" (or at least the force of USPA, weak though it is.) Otherwise, even the best recommendations from the best skydivers in the business will be dismissed as "well, that's just one opinion and I don't like it." We've already seen that here for wingsuit flying, canopy downsizing and camera flying.

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The trick is to find a good balance between what we want to do and what will keep people alive long enough for them to learn enough to make good decisions.



Agreed, but recognize some people are never going to make good decisions and will either learn through injury or be useful as an example to others of what NOT to do.

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Arguments like the above make me think that, sadly, the only way to deal with such recommendations is to make them BSR's, so that they have the "force of law" (or at least the force of USPA, weak though it is.) Otherwise, even the best recommendations from the best skydivers in the business will be dismissed as "well, that's just one opinion and I don't like it." We've already seen that here for wingsuit flying, canopy downsizing and camera flying.



BSR's are not the answer, but they are viewed as a quick fix. If someone doesn't like something rather than understand why and attempt to unbiasly educate, they just make it "illegal." This way when it continues to happen they can just say those people are wrong and maybe occasionally bust someone for breaking the law so they think they're making a difference.

Give the people the knowledge so they can make their own decisions. Try to explain the risk as well. If they decide to proceed the same path anyways, so be it. They roll the dice and take their chances.

Conversely if a DZO or vendor decides to self impose limits, that's their choice. Forcing them to stifles the both the free market and free will. There are already DZs out there with various restrictions already that either the DZO decided on or his customer base requested.
Stupidity if left untreated is self-correcting
If ya can't be good, look good, if that fails, make 'em laugh.

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BSR's are not the answer, but they are viewed as a quick fix. If someone doesn't like something rather than understand why and attempt to unbiasly educate, they just make it "illegal." This way when it continues to happen they can just say those people are wrong and maybe occasionally bust someone for breaking the law so they think they're making a difference.

Give the people the knowledge so they can make their own decisions. Try to explain the risk as well. If they decide to proceed the same path anyways, so be it. They roll the dice and take their chances.

Conversely if a DZO or vendor decides to self impose limits, that's their choice. Forcing them to stifles the both the free market and free will. There are already DZs out there with various restrictions already that either the DZO decided on or his customer base requested.



Let's take the aforementioned case in point.
Dan Kulpa.
Knew the recommendations.
Chose to circumvent them. Was turned down by two very professional and seasoned Instructors (Both are AFFI's, hence the lack of "quotes"0.
He found an "instructor" that was willing to play table to Dan's rolled dice. "Instructor" didn't fulfill even the most basic obligations of any Coach, but Dan trusted him and himself in this game of chance.
Dan died on that jump over a 40.00 bet.
A BSR in place would have saved him, and/or would have provided a punitive opportunity for the "instructor" that helped Dan kill himself.
There are other cases eerily similar in wingsuiting. There are other cases somewhat similar in camera flying. There are far too many cases similar in canopy piloting.
BSR's may not be the answer, but providing information and good education sure aren't working either.

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Do you not think Dan or those like him would just break the BSR? Perhaps fudging jump numbers to do so?

If the USPA recommendation and the advice of other instructors didn't stop him, you think a rule would?

With this new BSR and it's requirements:
* What happens to the wingsuit "student" and instructor if the student knowingly has under 200 jumps?
* What if the "instuctor" or instuctor only verbally asked?
* What if the "student" faked their logbook?

You talk of punitive opportunities. Do you really think in the case of Dan the USPA could really do anything to that "instructor" worse than has already happened? He's the one that has to live with what happened, as well as other's judgement for the rest of his life. [:/]
Stupidity if left untreated is self-correcting
If ya can't be good, look good, if that fails, make 'em laugh.

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