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MilliniaS

It doesn't matter if you have 1 or 1000....

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This thread is in memory for Rex Williams 59 of Tacoma, Washington who passed away at Skydive Spaceland on March 12, 2008.

First and foremost, prayers and thoughts go out to Rex and his family, he was a well liked guy around the DZ and an aspiring jumper. I really feel for the man that left his family behind, these are the risks we take and some of us understand these risks while many don’t.

I really felt that I needed to post my thoughts here because I have some great concerns. Now truthfully I feel that I am walking on eggshells here for the simple fact that I am not too much unlike Rex. I too am currently enrolled in AFF at Spaceland and do not have many more total jumps than Rex. (15) I know that a lot of posts come from guys and gals that have been in the sport since the ‘80s and ‘90s with thousands of jumps to there credit. And some of you may feel that I am to new in the sport and “just don’t know how it really is”

What I can tell you is that, I love skydiving. Also, I truly think Rex did as well. I also love the instructors at Spaceland, I put my entire confidence in them to tell me right from wrong. I have also seen the instructors tell other AFF students right from wrong. Plain and simple, nobody plays favorites, and everybody wants to promote the sport at the DZ. I have seen on other forums some people saying that the syllabus for students is “broken” and instructor ratings are “to easily handed out”. Unbelievable, this is a time for mourning and remembering Rex and his life. Sure Rex did not have his “D” license or 3200 jumps to his credit, he had 9. Now in my book, whether you have 1 jump or 1000 jumps you are a part of the family. You are a member of a small but rapidly growing community that prides itself on pulling together in times of need. Not placing blame literally hours after an incident.

What I propose is a minimum 24 hour mandatory stand-down at the DZ where a major incident has taken place. Now I am not talking about having a line over, or line twists, but a fatality. In my opinion this time could be used to stop everything and regroup. Find out exactly what happened, post the results (most important) and find a method or solution to prevent this in the future.

Now that being said I have come to make a very hard decision. I cannot support a DZ that hours after a major incident happens they send jumpers back up in the air. In my opinion this is the ultimate slap in the face for the Williams family. It is my own personal decision is to finish my AFF training at Skydive Spaceland and with my current instructor. I trust these guys and have grown to love them. After I complete my AFF I will not be jumping at Spaceland again, until they adopt a stand-down period. I am not looking to start a movement, this is just what I think I need to do personally for the Williams family. This hurts personally because it is such a great facility and the people have really opened there arms to me.

In closing I sincerely hope the Williams family can eventually see some light from such a tragedy, and hope from sorrow. My thoughts and prayers are with you guys.

Blue Skies everyone, and all of you please promise me if you cannot find your main, you pull your reserve… no matter what…

Alex, you’re a hero in my book, I will jump with you anytime.
"Its such a beautiful day outside, we should thank the leader."

"The leader? Who the hell is that? Some sort of leader?" -Homer Simpson.

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I know this isn't the same for everyone, but It's somewhat of a custom / tradition to get back on the horse if you understand what I'm saying.

I myself would probably pack it up for the day and head home if there was a serious injury or fatality, especially if it is a close friend. But some folks prefer to deal with it by jumping. I guess they feel that to avoid the emotions of what happened they need to keep jumping.

I think when someone is hurt or killed it makes people face their own mortality and they choose to face that right then and there.

I don't think you should make your'e decision about where you jump until you try to see why others made the decisions they made that day. You could always ask them.

Everyone deals with trajedy differently. You and I choose to stop for the day, others choose to jump so that the accident won't make them quite the sport.

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People deal with traumatic events in different ways.

If some deal with it by carrying on, that's fine. If others want to take a time out for a day/week/month, that's fine too.

I don't think it's up to the DZ to dictate to skydivers how to deal with the emotional issues that accompany a fatality.
...

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

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I got news for ya, if you think for a second any dz in the US is going to "stand down" then your a fool and you'll be moving to other dz's a lot. I speak from first hand experience as one who was still doing CPR on a dead student in the LZ and able to hear people bitchen about "when we going to get the next load up", the fucking meat wagon wasn't even there yet, but about as soon as the body was carted off and at the end of the drive way the wheels were off the ground. The longer you stay around the sport the more cold blooded fuck heads you will meet and all that "we're family" stuff is nothing but a line of bullshit these days and many of you need to open your eyes or pull your head out of your ass in order to see the truth for what it is.

As far as the system being broken, Nick DG knows what he is talking about and only telling it how it is.
you can't pay for kids schoolin' with love of skydiving! ~ Airtwardo

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Okay guys, sounds like I have really stepped on some toes with this one. I apologize, I understand that we as a group feel closer to the deceased in the air than on the ground. That is why we go back up, its the one common thing that everyone here does.

I know that death is a part of the sport, I NOW know that people mourn for the deceased in different ways. I have gotten LOTS of private emails on the subject in a short amount of time.

It also sounds like if I leave Spaceland I will be making a BIG mistake. Many of you have told me that this is the norm, and this is how it will be, no matter what DZ I call home.

I am sorry if I have offended, I do have a bad habit of seeing something and putting my 2 cents into it, whether valid or not.

Here is my promise. I will finish out my AFF at Spaceland, I will also talk to all the guys and see what their opinions are and what I should do.

And I will not make any rash choices. Thank you.
"Its such a beautiful day outside, we should thank the leader."

"The leader? Who the hell is that? Some sort of leader?" -Homer Simpson.

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I've been on site for 5 or 6 fatalities in the short 7 years I have been in the sport. Most of which have been at the WFFC but I was still on site and did first aid on one of my good friends when he had his incident. I was on the next load and then went to the hospital. I didn't jump since I was callous but because I knew if I didn't it was going to be even harder for me to do it again if I ever would. At WFFC the other year a guy died off the side of the runway and the planes kept flying even with the medical personal working on the guy.

Having been involved with a few incidents its usually not clear for the first 24 hours exactly what the cause was unless it was something like a low hook turn or something else else with tons of witnesses. Often times what you think was the reason turns out only to be a link in the chain that lead up to the incident. After moderating the Incidents forum and logging every fatality worldwide for the last 4 years I can't count the number of times that it is assumed to be one thing for the first week or more and then only after all the facts are discovered weeks later does another picture emerge.

The Perris Cypres fatality comes to mind. In the first day everyone wanted to blame Cypres for not working as expected and not firing her reserve at the correct altiude, only later after the data was analyzed did it come out she turned the Cypres on at home and it calibrated for a different location then she was jumping at. An initial stand down and attempt to resolve the issue would have been to rip all the Cypres out of the containers but that would have been the wrong move since the units were not at fault.

Would you have told Perris to stand down for the month it took to have the data analyzed and the root cause figured out?

Each jumper has their own morals in terms of a reaction after a fatality. Some want to leave the DZ, others want to keep jumping since its usually what the person would have wanted to do. You may want to check at any other DZ you are thinking about going to because unless they are a small 182 DZ odds are they will not stand down either.
Yesterday is history
And tomorrow is a mystery

Parachutemanuals.com

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>I cannot support a DZ that hours after a major incident happens they
>send jumpers back up in the air.

During many record attempts, it's made clear that we won't stand down if someone dies during the attempt. (For a while, a fatality per record attempt was pretty common.) That's good for people in your position, because you can make the decision beforehand not to participate in such things.

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I cannot support a DZ that hours after a major incident happens they send jumpers back up in the air.



Then you will be hard pressed to find a dropzone to jump at. This is the norm at most dz`s I know of.

I have heard other with the same reaction that you have about sending a load up after a fatality but for many people that is exactly what they NEED to cope with the loss of a friend. Get right back in the air.

Think about it for a minute.. When you hear of a close friends passing.. Where is it you want to go? For many people it is where you Hung out with or associated with that person most. For many skydivers, that place is right outside the door at 14000 feet.

When we loose a fellow jumper, sending a load up soon as possible is how many people deal with the loss.

Our fellow jumper is gone. We cannot change this but we can remember them by doing what they would want us to do and provide a way for other jumpers that are still with us to deal with the loss in their own way.

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I do have a bad habit of seeing something and putting my 2 cents into it, whether valid or not.



Oh their valid alright, at least you didn't have to see it as one person doing CPR for 10 minutes and getting really tired, looking up to see the whole DZ standing around just watching you work your ass off to try to save someone and thinking I wish someone would come over here and try to help and about that time you can hear the folks on the next load bitchen about having to standing down for the body removal, pretty disrespectful to say the least that we can't even stop for a few hours without pissing off the next load, but that's how it is at someplaces.
you can't pay for kids schoolin' with love of skydiving! ~ Airtwardo

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I bet you heard me say some of the same things at 14 jumps, Stratostar. Well maybe 44, 4th of July weekend.

Dealing with fatalities + disabilitating injuries is the hardest part of this sport and like all mourning, everyone handles it differently.

Someone, probably Stratostar, once told me that if I bounce at a DZ like Zhills or Eloy, I better not aim for the landing area because if they have to stop jumping I won't be remembered as a nice guy.

All I can say to MilliniaS is that you really should take care of what YOU need to take care of, including the skydivers which you think of as your family. Changing what other people think and do really isn't in anyone's job description. Death is a fucked up subject. It sucks. The end.
--- and give them wings so they may fly free forever

DiverDriver in Training

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The longer you stay around the sport the more cold blooded fuck heads you will meet and all that "we're family" stuff is nothing but a line of bullshit these days and many of you need to open your eyes or pull your head out of your ass in order to see the truth for what it is.



Sugar coat it just alittle will ya.......:D

I think everyone feels the way she does when they first start jumping. Some open their eyes to the way it is, then some dont.


RIP Rex
www.WestCoastWingsuits.com
www.PrecisionSkydiving.com

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It's pretty obvious your situation is unique. That has never happened at my DZ or the others I've been at during a fatality.

I think I would have knocked someones teeth out of their skull if they were speaking like that.

Assholes are everywhere, but it is NOT the norm.

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If I should die going in; you would honor me by not standing down and continuing to jump.
My favorite thing to do in this life is to step out the door and ride the hill.
In those few moments, I feel more alive and free than any other time.
I'd like for you to feel that on my behalf on those jumps.
When you're done jumping and the beerlight comes on; if you'd raise a glass to honor my life...
Nobody has time to listen; because they're desperately chasing the need of being heard.

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It's already been said; everyone deals with it differently.

When my boyfriend frapped in (not a fatality), I was maifested for the next load. Somebody asked me if I still wanted on it. I said no because I was going to the hospital.

Had it been a fatality, I'm not sure what I would have chosen. Regardless, I would expect a friend to drag me to the plane, if necessary.



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If I should die going in; you would honor me by not standing down and continuing to jump.



I think that's the key. Would anybody WANT your friends/strangers to stop jumping if you had an accident? I mean, there are all sorts of different possible circumstances. If turbulence collapsed my canopy at 50 feet, my ghost would be haunting the idiots that got right back on the plane. But otherwise, I wouldn't want the dropzone to shut down... It'd make ghost-Dave sad.

Dave

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Ghost Corey wouldn't want that, either. I'd hate to be a burdon on my friends that would want to get back on the plane and jump, whatever their reason may be. I'm sure your friend wouldn't want that, either.

Interesting post, though. And I totally understand your opinion. The fact that you are still going to continue your progress shows a lot about your character and desire to continue on in this sport. And the fact that you learned something from this tragedy is a good thing.

Best of luck in the rest of your skydiving career, man. Oh and by the way, I have never been to Spaceland but it's on my top 3 list of DZs I want to go to. I have heard nothing but praise about the people and the dropzone.

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There was a fatality on the day of my first jump where they shut down the DZ, everyone was offered a full refund and many left for the day and I suppose some for good. They asked me what I wanted to do.

For myself, I knew if I left I would not go back, and so I decided to stay and see if they would jump or not. Later that evening when all had settled down they sent my load up along with a group of experienced jumpers .. I'm glad I stayed now even though I felt pretty bad about the events that day. I got my first two jumps in and continued the next day.

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Oh and by the way, I have never been to Spaceland but it's on my top 3 list of DZs I want to go to. I have heard nothing but praise about the people and the dropzone.



Ditto. It's a place on my list for 08.' I don't know many of their guys, but Brian and Lance are both great instructors and good people.

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Ed,

Don't get me wrong, I expect the loads to go up at some point, hell I expect to be on it as long as I'm not the one whos dead. But I also expect a little respect out of my fellow jumpers, no one wants to bounce and ruin everyones day and it still pisses me off when I see people act like it's a big inconvenience to them that someone just got killed and for dear god they would have to wait an hour or two or even a whole day to get in the air.

Those who really know me, know I have paid my dues on clean up duty, it sucks no matter who it is, student or long time friend.

I decided a couple years ago I would no longer be one of those who made a sprint to the impact crater anymore, but when "bigfall" rode one in, I still found myself first ground bounder there. And yes a few hours later I made a jump to shake off the willies.

But I've seen more then one case of jumpers showing no respect.
you can't pay for kids schoolin' with love of skydiving! ~ Airtwardo

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But I've seen more then one case of jumpers showing no respect.



You see that's what I am talking about..... I am all about going out and doing what ghost Dave and ghost Corey would have wanted from us. Whether it be to get right back up or stand down for a while.

All I am saying is that Rex was from Tacoma, Washington, not Houston, Texas. He had 9 jumps, not 1200. I just question the validity of these so called memorial jumps hours after the incident.

If they honstly were jumps to remember Rex then I am just a dumb-ass that opened his mouth when I shouldn't have... sorry.

-Its always better to remain quiet and have everybody think your stupid than to open your mouth and prove it.
"Its such a beautiful day outside, we should thank the leader."

"The leader? Who the hell is that? Some sort of leader?" -Homer Simpson.

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Its not wrong to feel that way. Different people deal with death differently. As far as a stand down goes you have to look at it from the perspective of the DZO. Its HIS buisness that he uses to make money. If he so chooses to shut down or stay open thats totally up to him. Now does that mean you have to stay there and jump hours/minutes after the incedent? Hell no if you find it more respectfull to go home/pray/whatever. Everyone will deal with death in their own way, and even the people who come off as assholes are likely just trying to repress the way they feel by looking like the guy who doesnt care. Thats the way I see it anyway. Sorry to hear about your friend.

-Mike
Muff #5048

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I understand what you are saying. But when my best friend died from cancear i just went the very next jump day i could to clear my mind. But the two acidents i have seen i quit jumping for the day. But i had no hard feeling for the people that kept jumping. By the way if are going to keep jumping i would recommend you stay where you are. Spaceland is a very good DZ. I like the people i have met there. It is my second favorite DZ next to my home DZ.
Nothing opens like a Deere!

You ignorant fool! Checks are for workers!

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If I die on the DZ, please for the love of god stand down just long enough to buy some Jack Daniels for the beer light. Beyond that there better be some jumping going on and then some nice whiskey drinks at the end of the day for everyone. Actually, that just the rule in general irregardless of how, where and when I die.

Ok, seriously, do not stand down a perfectly good day of jumping just for me. Every DZ I've been on when a fatality or serious injury happened continued once emergency crews had completed their task. We remembered our fallen friends, but we remembered them by continuing on with the sport they loved too.

I understand that you are hurting badly. Death from tragedy is something that is close to me in my life and something that haunted me for a long time. Eventually I learned how to deal with my loss and how to honor my lost friend as well as the PTSD that I experienced. You will too (as well as the others directly and indirectly effected by this accident). You don't have to do it on your own, there are people there to help you.
--"When I die, may I be surrounded by scattered chrome and burning gasoline."

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