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funjumper101

Should the USPA allow "Tandem Only" DZs as Group Members?

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No fuckin' way. If I or my friends, as licensed USPA members can't go there and jump, they don't belong.

They're doing nothing to advance ANY of these students into the sport - just taking their money and sending them on an "E Ticket" amusement park ride that might not be so amusing if something goes wrong.

They're a fucking cancer.

Your humble servant.....Professor Gravity !

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amen, they don't even contribute memberships/dues because most of us who started tandem didn't have to join USPA until completion of the first jump course, prior to starting AFF. Therefore the relationship is more like parasites to a host organism. Oh yeah, well fed parasites breed rapidly.
"Remember the First Commandment: Don't Fuck Up!"
-Crusty Old Pete

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The instructors and videographers can still maintain their individual USPA membership even if their tandem factory DZ were not allowed to have group membership.

If a licensed skydiver can't jump there, then it shouldn't be a USPA group member DZ.

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I find it interesting how of those that have responed here, there is a signifigant lack of skydiving profesionals.

One thing I've noticed about the average fun jumper is that they are pretty sure they think they know how a DZ should be run.

So anyone think about a DZ that allows fun jumpers, but requires AAD's?

Most here have missed the bigger picture. The GM program is flawed, and needs to be done away with. Only then will the USPA really be able to focus on the "members" without a conflict of interest.
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You're not as good as you think you are. Seriously.

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Why should a tandem only DZ be allowed to be a USPA Group Member DZ when the general USPA membership is deliberately and specifically excluded? If the mission statement is accurate, this should never be allowed.



If members are not allowed, they should not be a GM DZ.
"No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms." -- Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Jefferson Papers, 334

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> So the instructors and videographers that jump their aren't "real"
>skydivers? They shouldn't be given the opportuity to jump at a GM
>DZ when they work?

Nope. They will be denied the opportunity to jump at that DZ once they quit anyway. To me it's like a test range that does test drops for the military and that's it. Sure, some of the people (or even all the people) who work there might be USPA members - but calling it a USPA DZ is misleading.

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I voted yes.

First off let me say that I agree that the tandem factory style dropzone does less good for the skydiving community than a fully functional dropzone.

That having been said, I also feel that no matter what happens in the USPA, these tandem factories will continue to exist. The USPA does not have the political power to shut these dropzones down just by excluding them from group membership. Furthermore, by excluding such a large amount of dropzones, the USPA would significantly damage it's political grip on the industry as a whole.

Without USPA membership backing, these tandem factories may not feel as politically pressured to follow USPA guidelines which have been designed to promote safety.

The USPA is "helping keep skydivers in the air" by supporting any type of skydiving, tandem or not. It is up to business owners and competition to drive what individual drop zones can do or not. It is not the right of the USPA.

In my opinion, the only thing that a USPA member DZ should have to do is follow the license and safety regulations set out by the USPA. If the USPA starts setting questionable rules then people will loose respect for their rules as a whole, and not respect those that are really important.
Matt Christenson

mattchristenson@realskydiving.com
http://www.RealDropzone.com - A new breed of dropzone manifest software.

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They're a fucking cancer.



Don't hold back, how do you really feel? :P

I totally understand your point of view, but consider this: As USPA Group Membership is set up now, there is no rule that a dropzone must allow fun jumpers. These tandem-only dropzones are following the rules and BSRs set forth by USPA, and most importantly, they pay their dues. (As much as USPA is an advocacy group for skydivers in the modern FAA world, make no mistake, the USPA is a money collecting machine. Anyone willing to pay gets to play.

Personally I think tandem-only DZs are okay, it's a business decision that the business owners are entitled to make. The instructors are "parachutists, and the airfield is a dropzone, so I think they qualify to be group members.

That said, if anyone really has an issue with it, get your RD to propose a rule change at the next BoD meeting. "In order to be USPA group member, DZs MUST allow fun jumping".

--
My other ride is a RESERVE.

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My only problem with it.... GM drop zones pay a small fee, I think $200 a year, to be a group member.

There is a 3rd party liability insurance that the USPA pays for, along with other benefits... Fun jumpers pay $50 something a year for those benefits.... It appears that the USPA is accepting a lot of risk/expenses for little revenue...

Perhaps the USPA should ask $1 for every tandem student jump at every USPA GM dropzone, regardless of fun jumpers being allowed or not, to pay for the risks/rewards... A $1 increase in the jump, or $1 cut on profit, for a $180 transaction, is not going to break the bank - but could bring tens of thousands in revenue to the USPA...

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...So anyone think about a DZ that allows fun jumpers, but requires AAD's?...
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

I've had this thought. However, as a proponent of the "The Boss Has the Right to Run His Business As He Sees Fit" school of American freedom, I think the better way to address the mandatory-AAD nazies is to point out the hypocrisy of requiring these devices while allowing their customers to jump mains that are smaller than 150 sq.ft.

Regarding the issue at hand, it seems to me plain foolishness to create an environment where new customers, who presumeably show an interest in skydiving, would NOT enjoy the opportunity of learning in an atmosphere of normal DZ activity. Even if they only make 3-4 jumps they will usually stay around long enough to build a rappor with somebody, as well as absorb a fuller understanding of the sport. This will either feed their initial desire, or give them enough information to make an educated decision as to whether they'll stay with it.

Either way, they will have had a great time and will carry those memories for life. When the subject comes up, they will share with other people, some of whom might then be motivated to make that first call to the DZ for more info. Etc, Etc....

Of course, the above scenario ASSumes the DZO's in question are concerned about retention & growth issues. If so, it would be useful if they might explain their reasons for operating the way they do.

Cheers,
Jon S.

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If the USPA DID require dropzones to allow fun jumpers, guess what would happen next:

Those dropzones would begin allowing fun jumpers to jump at their dropzone, for the rate of $70/jump. Guess how many fun jumpers would jump there.

What's next, will you be lobbying to have the USPA regulate prices?

Too many rights would be taken away from business owners if the USPA decided to spend resources towards going down this path (and a lot of resources would need to be spent, not to mention lost revenue.)

I firmly feel that from a political perspective these decisions should be left to the business owners. the ONLY time when I feel that the USPA should step in is if a Tandem Only dropzone is interfering with the ability for a fun jumper dropzone to do business. In otherwords, if an airport will only allow one DZ business and that DZ will not allow fun jumpers - then there is a problem where the USPA should step in to fight to allow the second DZ. However if a DZO decideds to operate a tandem only dropzone, but is cooperative towards anyone who was willing to invest in a business that allowed fun jumpers - that's their american right as a business owner.

What you're proposing is similar to the state government telling a Gas Station that they cannot operate unless they provide a quick-mart as well, because it is not fair to the dude down the street that he doesn't have a place to buy his ho-ho's without going another 2 miles to the local 7/11. If demand were high enough to justify funjumpers, some guy would open up another gas station across the street on the same intersection. The states job is to make sure that regulations are followed to operate an enviromentally freindly gas station. The USPA's jop is to make sure that regulations are followed to operate a safe skydiving operation - which in turn keeps skydivers in the air.

Nobody is stopping a new business owner from coming along to the same airport and opening up a fun jumper DZ - so in my opinion the USPA does not need to get involved. The USPA is there to help that second operation open its doors.

Again, my PERSONAL feeling is that I don't like the idea of a Tandem Only dropzone, what i'm saying here is whether I like it or not - I do not feel that the USPA should take it upon themselves to make business decisions like this. By all means, however, if you open up that gas station across the street and give me a place to buy my ho-hos, you won't see my buying gas at that other place!

Matt
Matt Christenson

mattchristenson@realskydiving.com
http://www.RealDropzone.com - A new breed of dropzone manifest software.

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What is the point of keeping anyone out of the USPA?

This is not a high-society snooty little club. The more members we have the better.

Some "tandem factories" are tandem factories simply because they do not have the lift capacity nor the landing area to have a regular jumping facility.

A tandem jump whether or not the jumper can return to the facility where they did that tandem or not will either spark the desire to become a skydiver or not. If the feel the need strongly enough they will seek out a dz where they can train.

It seems like the only person who wouldn't want these type of dzs to be group members is maybe someone who has a dz that loses a lot of business to them and perhaps thinks they would get more if the "factory" could not claim to be part of the USPA. If they are close enough to feel the pain on the loss of business side in tandems they should be close enough to reap the benefits on the student side.

USPA does more than most skydivers realize. I hear everyone complain all the time about the membership issue. They do a lot of work on the political side that none of us thinks about or sees. We don't notice that side until a dz is forced off an airport or airspace is limited. There is a reason why they are located near the capital of this country and not built up right outside a nice southern dropzone so that they can all be close to warm year-round skydiving. Numbers carry weight in politics - that is all the government ever cares about. Don't try to cripple what little power we have.

If a dz - any kind of dz - is a good, safe facility then don't try to keep them from being members.

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Those dropzones would begin allowing fun jumpers to jump at their dropzone, for the rate of $70/jump. Guess how many fun jumpers would jump there.

Matt



The tandem only DZs are usually located in touristy areas. For example, Skydive Maui.

A 70.00 ride to 9,000' over Maui might be a worthwhile price to pay for a jump over a scenic DZ.

Then again, maybe not. YMMV

If you are a USPA member, with a D license, you should be able to walk into any Group Member DZ and skydive. Unless you have been banned by the DZO for cause.

I believe that tandem only DZs should not be allowed to be Group Members. They are parasites on the backs of the general USPA membership.

If a tandem only DZ wants to operate, they can do so without being a USPA GM. Mike Mullins and Bill Dause run successful DZs that aren't GMs. I am sure that there are others that I don't know about.

The fact that the USPA allows tandem only DZs to be Group Members is totally against the letter and spirit of the mission statement. It is flat out WRONG.

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Numbers carry weight in politics - that is all the government ever cares about. Don't try to cripple what little power we have.

If a dz - any kind of dz - is a good, safe facility then don't try to keep them from being members.



Well considering that the tandem factories don't actually sell any USPA membership to tandems, or don't require it, USPA sees no new members because of the tandem factories.

and if we have to lose 10(wild guess) tandem factories GM membership, out of maybe 200 GM DZs (wild guess) then so be it.

But if the tandem factories decide that they would rather use the advertising of being in the USPA, then they might allow fun jumpers back to their DZ.

MB 3528, RB 1182

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Specifically, this part - "The United States Parachute Association and its 34,000 member skydivers enjoy and promote safe skydiving through parachuting training, rating, and competition programs." and this part - "USPA represents parachute jumping from aircraft and helps keep skydivers in the air." In other words, the entire mission statement.

A Group Member DZ should be required to have an actual student training progam that produces safe and competent skydivers. A Group Member DZ should be required to permit experienced, licensed USPA members to skydive.



I'm not sure I agree that a Group Member DZ should be required to have a full student training program. However, I do agree with the idea that they should permit licensed jumpers to jump there.

Clearly, every DZO is going to operate his or her DZ in a way that makes sense for them as a business owner. I guess I have a tough time understanding why even a DZ that has chosen to focus on tandems would not at least welcome licensed jumpers to jump when there is space available.

I'll use Skydive Moab as an example - the DZ's web site is very specific about what the DZ is and isn't. Here's a quote from the site:

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Although we would like to see you jump as much as possible, we are not set up to fully cater to fun jumpers at the moment, but will do our best to get you up on as many loads as possible so you can enjoy the view we have.

We are rapidly expanding and plans are in the works for a turbine aircraft and expanded facilities in the near future. This will allow us to supply the needs of fun jumpers and make it possible for you to call Skydive Moab your home dropzone.



When I visited the DZ last May, I knew that I might or might not get to jump there on a weekday. I lucked out and was in town on a day when they had tandems, and I made a point of getting to the DZ when those tandems were there so I could hop on the two loads that went up that day. I felt very welcomed, and it was a win/win - the loads were going up anyway; my jump ticket was a nice bit of additional revenue for the DZ.

I guess I have a hard time understanding why other DZs that are primarily tandem businesses don't choose to operate that way. Set reasonable expectations on both sides and everyone stays pretty happy.
"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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The USPA does not have the political power to shut these dropzones down just by excluding them from group membership.



USPA might have more power here than you think. If the DZ is on a municipal airport, the airport often requires group membership for the DZ. If they lose their USPA group membership, they can't operate there.

If they own their own airstrip, it's a different story.
Trapped on the surface of a sphere. XKCD

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My only problem with it.... GM drop zones pay a small fee, I think $200 a year, to be a group member.



I believe it to be more than that even for the small operations. IIRC there is a "tier" rating to the cost of GM. The size of your operation makes a difference.

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There is a 3rd party liability insurance that the USPA pays for, along with other benefits... Fun jumpers pay $50 something a year for those benefits.... It appears that the USPA is accepting a lot of risk/expenses for little revenue...



Eh, if you think about where the claims made to the 3rd party insurance come from, it's least likely to come from tandems, and more likely to come from up jumpers.

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Perhaps the USPA should ask $1 for every tandem student jump at every USPA GM dropzone, regardless of fun jumpers being allowed or not, to pay for the risks/rewards... A $1 increase in the jump, or $1 cut on profit, for a $180 transaction, is not going to break the bank - but could bring tens of thousands in revenue to the USPA...




Could do. Probably answer the issue brought up here as tandem only DZ's (and many others) would balk at the cost an withdraw from the GM program.

Then again the GM program is a waste, and should be dropped anyway.
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You're not as good as you think you are. Seriously.

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They are parasites on the backs of the general USPA membership.



In what way? You've ranted about it, and it sounds like you really don't like tandem only DZ's. Fine. But how are they costing the USPA or it's members anything by being a part of the GM program? They aren't, infact they contribute dollars.

I think you're just pissed because you can't jump at one.
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You're not as good as you think you are. Seriously.

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Yes vote.

Multiple reasons. Mostly, 1) it's a double-edged sword. If a DZ is not a GM, they're branded as a "bandit" DZ by other DZ's, 2) I think the USPA is fulfilling the mission statement - by promoting safe skydiving and "helps" keep skydivers in the air. "Help" isn't specified. If a Tandem DZ does several thousand tandems by USPA rated TI's in a year and each of those people have a positive experience; don't they go out into the community and share that positive experience which helps our sport overall?

The argument of "They are more like a carnival ride operator" doesn't wash with me. There is the opportunity to learn using the Tandem Progression Method, but how many DZ's employ that methodology? Wouldn't that mean every DZ that offers tandems as a segment of their business also be considered a carnival ride provider? You ever heard of an instance where a whuffo showed up at a DZ and said, "I'd like to do a tandem" and the DZO say, "Nah, get outta here, we don't offer carnival rides."

You say they have no "business' being a part of the USPA. But, just because they have a different business model, doesn't mean they can't affiliate with the association. That's like saying an insurance company that offers only automobile insurance shouldn't be a part of some American Insurance Association, or commodity brokers shouldn't have their SEC ratings and not be a part of some stock broker association.

Tandem DZ's have chosen their market segment and I don't see why they can't associate with the USPA (which is a not-for-profit). Would you rather they started their own United States Tandem Skydiving Association and the USPA lose the additional revenues from their being USPA associates which "helps" all skydivers?
Nobody has time to listen; because they're desperately chasing the need of being heard.

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