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USPA and PIA Issue Joint Skydiver Advisory

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If there's one thing no one ever said about you, Sherman, it is you are reluctant to speak out. John, I remember once when you got roasted for showing up late to a PIA meeting and complaining about something that had "already been discussed." I applaud and echo your perceptions in this thread about the evolutionary condition of our representative organizations. It is a sad state. Your insights here inspire me to emerge from my own cave, albeit, in clandestine attire. (Deep cave.)

WONDERING ALOUD for this discussion, admittedly showing up late and NOT reading all 150 posts: It seems technologically plausible to fit our flourishing array of vertical wind tunnels with
mesh and rigging that could accommodate safe LIVE RESERVE RIPCORD PULL TESTS. Full line stretch should be unnecessary.

The tunnels could create a revenue stream and provide a real service to the sport and create a new and genuine inoculation against the participant-longevity-killing malady known as GEAR FEAR. (Gear fear might be spreading here in this thread.)

Say once a month or twice a year (or whenever): Bring your rig to the tunnel and PULL YOUR RESERVE at specific airspeed - and video your life support equipment actually performing its design function. Or not.
Pretty scary, huh? Wether you're wearing OR building a bag-trapper for sale to the unsuspecting jumper, there will never be a more definitive answer than a live test; or thousands of live tests.

Thanks for shouting out, Mr. Sherman. (Remember Marshal, MI)

If FAA is investigating this, DOES ANYBODY have the contact info for industry feedback from the field on these issues?
FAA has become very easy to communicate with in recent years.
They LOVE hearing from us all ... especially if we can speak clearly in short sentences and paragraphs. They're government types, don't forget. ;)

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> It seems technologically plausible to fit our flourishing array of vertical wind
>tunnels with mesh and rigging that could accommodate safe LIVE RESERVE
>RIPCORD PULL TESTS.

I think that would be a challenge for a few reasons:

1) The air is not very clean. Most tunnels have locations that, when blocked, cause significant airspeed variations in other parts of the tunnel. You'd have to map these out to "proof" the tunnel for deployment in a certain location.

2) You can't be unstable in a tunnel, and most reserve dummy drops are performed unstable. (You can fly on your back or whatever, but that's not really the same as an unstable skydiver.)

3) You'd need a big enough tunnel with clean air for the desired length of deployment (say, 20-30 feet.) Because although you may not care about full deployment, you definitely care about having your PC pull your bag out, and that means enough space for PC, bridle, freebag and reserve lines.

4) The danger is significant. With a deployed reserve easily generating thousands of pounds of force, you'd have to come up with a foolproof way of anchoring the reserve once it started deploying. And you will be part of that system; being part of a system that has to handle tremendous shock loads for even a few seconds is not risk-free.

That being said, recreational wind tunnels might well be useful for rough testing of components (i.e. pilot chutes.) It might be a hard sell, though. "We want to use your tunnel for an hour and bolt a bunch of stuff to the walls. We also want a really cheap rate because it's good for the sport. Oh, and if a PC gets away from us it could destroy your fan."

> there will never be a more definitive answer than a live test; or
> thousands of live tests.

Agreed; but then again, wind tunnel tests are not quite the same as live tests.

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All good and thoughtful points. Thanks!

Still confessing my laziness at not having read all the replies, isn't the area of greatest concern in this discussion centered around the effectiveness of the reserve pilot chute and bridle at extracting the deployment bag? Low speeds - following a breakaway - would seem the most likely danger zone and the easiest to test safely in the tunnel(s).

Just knowing about my gear something like: "My reserve bag probably won't leave the pack tray until my airspeed gets up to X" would seemingly affect my dreaming behavior.

Again, I'm just an old guy babbling. My flash of imagination went quickly to your 5th paragraph - the tunnel economics. If such an idea were plausible, it would have to be profitable or it won't happen in what remains of a lifetime +Y. (Not in the U.S. anyway.) And it would require, of course, the sustainable will of a tunnel engineer ... or three.

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8 AAD activations with a failed reserve. Those occurrences are distributed as follows:
3 Vectors
2 Javelins
1 Reflex
1 Quasar II
I had forgotten the 8th one but have been advised by a 3rd party it was a Wings.



One piece of information about this list that we need to start to make an informed judgement about container reserve systems is how many AAD fires have happened to each rig type, including rig types without a fatality and so not on the list.

If the AAD manufacturers have this data, it would be good to know. If there are many more AAD fires on Vectors and Javelins (because more rigs in service, more jumpers with those rig types with AADs or less alti awareness etc) then the data looks less incriminating. If for some reason there were many more AAD fires on Racers and Mirages, then it would look worse for Vectors and Javs, Wings, Reflexes, and Quasars.

But with the failure numbers being thrown around without the success numbers, the engineer in me gets annoyed.

Seth
It's flare not flair, brakes not breaks, bridle not bridal, "could NOT care less" not "could care less".

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Ron

Hey, John, you ever see a final report from the USPA or PIA?



It's in the same circular file the "lawyers" report went into. You know when the USPA asked a leading aviation / skydiving attorney for written advice,...and then that advice was thrown out because the "leadership" didn't agree,....good call Ron, this subject needed a bump, IMO.
Brett Bickford Did Not Commit Suicide.

He is the victim of ignorance and faulty gear. AND as in the movie: "12 Angry Men," of an ignorant and callous jury.

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They did release a report.... https://www.pia.com/images/rocketlauncher/PDF/TECHNICAL_REPORTS/PIA-TR-401LowReserveOpeningInvestigationReport91316.pdf

It took 6 years and they claimed raising pull altitudes would be a good idea. Of course, this didn't solve the RIG issue. And the USPA raised the altitude two or three years prior claiming it was to allow AAD manufacturers to increase activation altitudes.... That has yet to happen.

So no real report on the RIG issue.
"No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms." -- Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Jefferson Papers, 334

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And the USPA raised the altitude two or three years prior claiming it was to allow AAD manufacturers to increase activation altitudes.... That has yet to happen.



That part is largely untrue. They did not raise the floor, but they allowed and encouraged people to raise their personal settings. They only did that after USPA and other National bodies raised activation heights.

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That part is largely untrue. They did not raise the floor...



Oh, so my comment was actually 100% true.
"No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms." -- Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Jefferson Papers, 334

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Ron

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That part is largely untrue. They did not raise the floor...



Oh, so my comment was actually 100% true.



Which comment?

The one about how the USPA represents the financial machine that drives skydiving at the expense of the membership?

Cause if in fact as you have pointed out to the "sheeple" of skydiving, if in fact we had a USPA that was concerned with safety first! The oversize , too tight container scenario would be outlawed at the rigger level. Individual jumpers wouldn't be able to do many of the things they do in the name of cost savings and a few other things.

Cause if the USPA actually cared about the membership they wouldn't constantly be playing this waiver game and shifting responsibility when it suits their agenda. We would in fucking fact be paying for research and quantifying actually what works in comparison to the Boards "Opinions. " We would be paying for pilot chute research as compared with the efforts to fund a fucking museum. And a few other questionable expenditures as well. The priorities of a few are seriously messed up, SO YA FOLLOW THE MONEY AND YOU ALL CAN SEE FOR YOUR SELVES WHAT IS IMOPOTTANT TO AN INDIVIDUAL SKYDIVER.

As just one example there are literally 20 UNUSED research wind tunnels. Resources for manufacturers that go un tapped. AND you all should be asking yourselves why and how this lack of leadership affects the members. Why this and how this has come about.

You don't get to run a billion dollar wind tunnel / Skydiving Nationwide business anymore with a bunch of Goat Farmers and their opinions calling the shots anymore!
Brett Bickford Did Not Commit Suicide.

He is the victim of ignorance and faulty gear. AND as in the movie: "12 Angry Men," of an ignorant and callous jury.

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ChrisD2.0



You don't get to run a billion dollar wind tunnel / Skydiving Nationwide business anymore with a bunch of Goat Farmers and their opinions calling the shots anymore!



Dang! Calling me out!

Confession here: when I was on the Board of Directors, I was also a goat farmer.

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Jump more, post less!

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I know you're you, but I am going to give you the benefit of doubt. Can you please explain in detain how exactly "the USPA represents the financial machine that drives skydiving at the expense of the membership?"

What is the EXPENSE of the membership. You and one other keep saying thins like this and I know your both semi alt-right anti government people but I just do not understand what the USPA does that is costing its membership? This isn't about dollars, you guys clearly mean something else.

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>The oversize , too tight container scenario would be outlawed at the rigger level.

USPA does not regulate/license/penalize/train riggers. The FAA does.

>Individual jumpers wouldn't be able to do many of the things they do in the name of
>cost savings and a few other things.

So USPA should . . . prevent jumpers from saving money. To help them. And forcing them to buy new gear a lot more often, from gear manufacturers who are often active on the board, would not be at all a "financial machine that drives skydiving at the expense of the membership?"

>SO YA FOLLOW THE MONEY AND YOU ALL CAN SEE FOR YOUR SELVES WHAT IS
>IMOPOTTANT TO AN INDIVIDUAL SKYDIVER.

Yep. And you just told us all that USPA should force skydivers to spend more money.

>As just one example there are literally 20 UNUSED research wind tunnels.

That's great. We have one down here, although it's not unused (nor is any working wind tunnel.) So?

>Resources for manufacturers that go un tapped.

Why would USPA care? Wouldn't that be more of an issue for PIA, the skydiving organization that represents the skydiving industry, including gear manufacturers?

>AND you all should be asking yourselves why and how this lack of leadership affects the
>members.

More freedom, probably. To save money, to do their own research - and yes, to screw up on occasion and injure or kill themselves.

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Ron

They did release a report.... https://www.pia.com/images/rocketlauncher/PDF/TECHNICAL_REPORTS/PIA-TR-401LowReserveOpeningInvestigationReport91316.pdf

It took 6 years and they claimed raising pull altitudes would be a good idea. Of course, this didn't solve the RIG issue. And the USPA raised the altitude two or three years prior claiming it was to allow AAD manufacturers to increase activation altitudes.... That has yet to happen.

So no real report on the RIG issue.



You got all the report your going to get. We didn't FIND a rig issue. But rigs were tested with appropriate sized reserves. Not over stuffed. And three major US manufacturers did not participate for various reasons. Sunrise, Rigging Innovations and Parachute Laps (Jump Shack). RI didn't have their new rig ready and didn't want to test the old one, to the best of my knowledge Sunrise didn't respond to offer to participate and and I was told Jump Shack wouldn't agree to condition not to use data for advertising.

Non US FAA TSO'd rigs weren't invited in first (and likely last) round.

People expect too much of PIA. PIA is an industry association of competitors. PIA has NO full time staff. PIA's only sources of funds are dues, sales of PIA-SPEC documents which replaced MIL-SPECs for parachute items in 1998, and symposium profits that to date have been earmarked for the 'museum'. PIA spent a significant portion of it's funds on defending a frivolous lawsuit in Europe. We (I'm a full member) spent $50,000 on the study in the report.



ALL of the work of PIA aside from some clerical work is done by member volunteers. There is no report from the data requested in the advisory because we received almost NO information from the field. For the first time the live jump study gave the public real pilot chute and extraction force data behind a live skydiver in the air. While a few companies had done that kind of testing and others had done research wind tunnel testing all of that data was for their own use and proprietary. If someone wants to donate a few million dollars to test all combinations of rigs and reserves, overstuffed or not, bought off the shelf instead of donated, etc. let me know and PIA can write a RFP for someone to run it. And just like USPA PIA has NO legal power to make anybody do anything. BTW the majority of members of PIA don't make parachutes, harness and containers, jump or otherwise have ANYTHING to do with skydiving other than selling thread, hardware, or material to the companies that do.

Various committees and individual members of PIA lobbied AAD manufacturers, particularly Helmut, to raise their minimum. It took 10+ years of lobbying (arguing, I did some personally) for AirTec to make activation altitude user adjustable. There are those of us that are willing to get out a 2000' with gear that isn't constricted and might still choose 750'. Helmut's (owner of AirTec) comment was often (paraphrased) 'if something is wrong it's because the gear changed. The gear manufacturer's should fix the gear, not force me to change my product.'

If you don't like what PIA does join and volunteer. Otherwise be grateful there are manufacturing specs for fabric, hardware, and other materials going into you parachute rig, the FAA isn't writing the TSO specs themselves, and there is somewhere to go to see equipment and learn from other industry members.

Rant off
I'm old for my age.
Terry Urban
D-8631
FAA DPRE

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What is the EXPENSE of the membership. You and one other keep saying thins like this and I know your both semi alt-right anti government people


Keep the politics in SC and leave this thread for discussion of the advisory. Your one warning.

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billvon

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What is the EXPENSE of the membership. You and one other keep saying thins like this and I know your both semi alt-right anti government people


Keep the politics in SC and leave this thread for discussion of the advisory. Your one warning.



That's what I was trying to do. I want to know what he thinks the expense to the membership without all the crap he normally says.

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When I started skydiving, I had a MK2000 AAD on my chest mounted reserve. It was an electro-mechanical device with an altitude sensor and rate of descent sensor with contacts wired in series. It was calibrated before each jump and was designed to fire at 1000 feet if the rate of descent was too high. I had a test chamber and tested it and a few others yearly. They were remarkably accurate for their design. At that time, the opening altitude for C and D license holders was 2000 feet. I was at the symposium when AirTec introduced the Cypress. When Helmut stated that the activation altitude was 750 feet, my first thought was, that is too low, it should be 1000. 750 feet is cutting it pretty close, if there is a hesitation or slow opening, there is little time to steer to a safe landing area. As for raising the opening altitude, parachutes in general seem to be taking longer to open and an extra 500 feet is just a little safety margin. It appears to me that most jumpers are opening higher than they did years ago anyway. I will be at the PIA Symposium in Dallas.

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That's all generally true. But as I recall, the reason we did not use the available AADs back then was the high likelihood of an AAD firing if you opened at 2000 ft.. 750 ft. is cutting it close. But Herr Cloth chose that height for a very good reason. He felt that skydivers would not use a device that gave them more chance of a two out than absolutely necessary. And he was probably correct.

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gowlerk

That's all generally true. But as I recall, the reason we did not use the available AADs back then was the high likelihood of an AAD firing if you opened at 2000 ft.. 750 ft. is cutting it close. But Herr Cloth chose that height for a very good reason. He felt that skydivers would not use a device that gave them more chance of a two out than absolutely necessary. And he was probably correct.



Not sure how relevant or true this is, but when I started in the mid 80's I was told the reason AAD's were not popular among experienced jumpers was the fear of a mis-fire during formation skydives.

The introduction of the Cypres fixed that problem, and the death of Tom Piras made them instantly popular.
Chuck Akers
D-10855
Houston, TX

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gowlerk

That's all generally true. But as I recall, the reason we did not use the available AADs back then was the high likelihood of an AAD firing if you opened at 2000 ft.. 750 ft. is cutting it close. But Herr Cloth chose that height for a very good reason. He felt that skydivers would not use a device that gave them more chance of a two out than absolutely necessary. And he was probably correct.



That is not really correct. The reason available AADs were unpopular in the '70s and '80s was because they were generally unreliable and prone to firing at almost any altitude. At least that was the common belief and I personally witnessed multiple AAD fires at altitudes when people were or could have been turning points. In the '70s if an experienced jumper had an AAD, they were not welcome on many RW loads. Two out was, generally, a lesser concern compared to an inadvertent reserve fire while doing RW. Probably because that seldom happened with an experienced jumper because so few had an AAD.

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