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PhreeZone

What to do when an instructor gives bad/dangerous advice?

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PhreeZone

What would you do if you happen to overhear an instructor giving bad advice or even giving advice/instruction that is dangerous?

I'll toss out some situations since I know advice can mean lots of different things to lots of people.

1) Advising a student (pre-A licence) to go ahead and pull high (4500-5000) and exit as the last RW jumper with out telling any other group about the high pull.

2) Advising a sub-100 jump person to buy a high performance canopy that they will load greater then 1.3.

3) Advising a student that as soon as they get their A licence to quit jumping with an RSL since they are "death traps"

4) Advising some one on a downsizing having only watched 1-2 of their student landings.

5) Advising a student to "Wait until the group reaches 45 degrees then go"

What would you do in situations like these where you think the advise might be wrong, incorrect, or dangerous?



I have experienced 2, 4, and 5... luckily I had enough wits about me to know this wasn't the best advice, but what if I heard it and hadn't done any research on my own/talked to others/etc? I know there is a lot of self responsibility the instant you decide to take the first jump course, but there is a lot of trust students put in their instructors. It was kind of scary to see how many of my fellow student jumpers didn't even know what the PIMs were. [:/] If they relied solely on advice from others they could potentially get in trouble. Don't get me wrong. My DZ I learned at is amazing and full of wonderful people with everyone's best interest in mind... but it only takes one instructor/coach one day spouting one not very wise thing...

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PhreeZone

What would you do if you happen to overhear an instructor giving bad advice or even giving advice/instruction that is dangerous?

I'll toss out some situations since I know advice can mean lots of different things to lots of people.

1) Advising a student (pre-A licence) to go ahead and pull high (4500-5000) and exit as the last RW jumper with out telling any other group about the high pull.

2) Advising a sub-100 jump person to buy a high performance canopy that they will load greater then 1.3.

3) Advising a student that as soon as they get their A licence to quit jumping with an RSL since they are "death traps"

4) Advising some one on a downsizing having only watched 1-2 of their student landings.

5) Advising a student to "Wait until the group reaches 45 degrees then go"

What would you do in situations like these where you think the advise might be wrong, incorrect, or dangerous?



I hear most of those on a regular basis except #3 and #2. #1 happens on at least a few loads every single day. Some jumpers at my DZ always pull at 4500' Post AFF students are taught to pull at 5,000' all the way through AFF so they will likely do the same just after AFF.

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#5 really drives me crazy. I don't recall if I ever heard an instructor say it, but pretty much everyone at one of the DZs I go to seems to insist on it. Recently I asked the group behind us: "give us at least 7 seconds after exit" (based on the groundspeed they reported) and the reply was "don't worry: I just watch until you are 45 degrees" When there is time I try to explain, but--being that I'm already not one of the cool ones and a geeky old guy, I'm not usually very successful with that.

on #1 though: I don't quite understand that one: I thought that these are the proper pull altitudes on (at least some) AFF jumps and that is why pre A-license students exit at the very end, after freeflyers (but before Tandems, who also pull that high) and that everyone is aware of their higher pull altitude, simply because they all wear helmets saying "Student" and always jumping with an instructor or coach (again, at least at the DZs I go to)

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Funny!
I encountered a similar situation yesterday. Not dangerous advice, just over-cautious.
I eaves-dropped on a videographer/Instructor A briefing a free fall student on riser turns and riser flares. Perhaps he talked too much about high performance landings that started with rear-riser-flares but finish with toggles. He ended with “but I have never rear-riser-stalled my canopy.”
That was the only point I disagreed with.
After I finished harnessing my tandem student, I strolled over and ask “May I?”
He nodded, so I threw out “I have rear-riser-stalled most of the canopies that I have jumped.” I was cautious to avoid contradicting the instructor, instead phrasing my advice as filling-in-a-gap. Then talked about variations on rear-riser-stalls for a couple of minutes. I said that rear-riser-flares might not be wise on the videographer’s sub-120 canopy, but were fine on larger canopies. The student had a Falcon 235.
I concluded with “.... best to practice rear-riser-stalls shortly after opening, but finish the landing with a regular toggle flare.” to reinforce his instructor’s briefing.
After we both landed, I mentioned to the student that I had just practiced rear-riser-flares - with my ICARUS 364 - and concluded that it stalled with my hands at chin level.

My ego let me butt in because I have been jumping 35 years longer that the Instructor A and have 6,000 jumps more than him.

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I think the big issue is that the student is doing this with out communicating his intentions to anybody else on the plane. It is ok for a student or a licensed jumper to open at that altitude, but it should discussed before take off.

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I hear stuff like this all the time,but usually from inexperienced/low time licensed jumpers. Fortunately 99 percent of the instructors at my home dz are not wing nuts and dont dispense such nonsense. But when I do hear this i will try to tactfully add good info. to give the jumper a better understanding of the situation, and therefore make a better decision. If that does not work I have no problem asking a AFF instructor his opinion, and if that does not work, i will inform the S&TA, and that usually does it.

One example, a jumper who had recently received his license(around 38 jumps) was in the loading with a group of about 12 other jumpers with a skill range from 75 jumps to 130 jumps. While I was in the loading area getting on the same plane, i watched the dirt dive and the lack of proper terminology and techniques for this soon to be zoo dive, i hinted that this might be a little above his skill level. He said so N so said i should be good. So I ask one of the AFF instructors in the loading area going up for a tandem about the situation. When he saw who it was he realized he was one of the jumpers instructors and he put a stop to the notion pretty quick.

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tikl68

I think the big issue is that the student is doing this with out communicating his intentions to anybody else on the plane. It is ok for a student or a licensed jumper to open at that altitude, but it should discussed before take off.



Why is that important? I can't think of a reason why it would affect the actions of any other group. Reasons I can think of is if after opening someone is looking around counting canopies they may wonder why they are 1 short (because it is 2k ft above them), or it is a good habit because some DZs and boogies have rules about not opening above 3k, and announcing your intentions to do so will give others a chance to tell you that is not allowed.

But if I was at a DZ where it was allowed, I would not feel the need to announce my opening altitude, if I was under Tandem opening alti.
It's flare not flair, brakes not breaks, bridle not bridal, "could NOT care less" not "could care less".

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ghost47

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But if I was at a DZ where it was allowed, I would not feel the need to announce my opening altitude, if I was under Tandem opening alti.


What if the tandem had a separate video flyer?



Doesn't matter. I only mentioned tandem altitude b/c above that you really start to land late, and it does make sense to let the pilot and wingsuiters know there will be a canopy in airspace it normally wouldn't be in.

But as well all know, it is horizontal separation that matters between groups, not vertical. If I end my skydive early, whether intentional or not, none of the other freefall groups should be affected. Even wingsuiters should be on a flight path well off the standard flight line.
It's flare not flair, brakes not breaks, bridle not bridal, "could NOT care less" not "could care less".

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SethInMI

***

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But if I was at a DZ where it was allowed, I would not feel the need to announce my opening altitude, if I was under Tandem opening alti.


What if the tandem had a separate video flyer?



Doesn't matter. I only mentioned tandem altitude b/c above that you really start to land late, and it does make sense to let the pilot and wingsuiters know there will be a canopy in airspace it normally wouldn't be in.

But as well all know, it is horizontal separation that matters between groups, not vertical. If I end my skydive early, whether intentional or not, none of the other freefall groups should be affected. Even wingsuiters should be on a flight path well off the standard flight line.

I wouldn't make a habit of assuming anything. Its a bad habit, which sooner or later, will bite you on the arse.

What is the problem with informing others of your intentions anyway? More information is always a better option than less.
My computer beat me at chess, It was no match for me at kickboxing....

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obelixtim


I wouldn't make a habit of assuming anything. Its a bad habit, which sooner or later, will bite you on the arse.

What is the problem with informing others of your intentions anyway? More information is always a better option than less.



True.

My only point was if the other groups exit how they are supposed to, opening at 5k is not a problem. So if we are to not make assumptions, the correct conversation with the following group is not "I'm letting you know I'm pulling at 5k", it is "What exit delay are you giving me? 5 seconds? Not enough, with these winds you need 8. Don't short change me. Thanks!"

The same exit delay for 3k opening is the appropriate one for a 5k opening, imho.
It's flare not flair, brakes not breaks, bridle not bridal, "could NOT care less" not "could care less".

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SethInMI

***I think the big issue is that the student is doing this with out communicating his intentions to anybody else on the plane. It is ok for a student or a licensed jumper to open at that altitude, but it should discussed before take off.



Why is that important? I can't think of a reason why it would affect the actions of any other group. Reasons I can think of is if after opening someone is looking around counting canopies they may wonder why they are 1 short (because it is 2k ft above them), or it is a good habit because some DZs and boogies have rules about not opening above 3k, and announcing your intentions to do so will give others a chance to tell you that is not allowed.

But if I was at a DZ where it was allowed, I would not feel the need to announce my opening altitude, if I was under Tandem opening alti.

I have heard of not being allowed to open above 4k unless you're in the back, but forcing everyone to pull at 3k is silly and unsafe. Forcing a student who just his A license and 25 jumps to open at 3k all the time is unsafe. For A license holders, the minimum decision altitude is 2.5k which means if you open at 3k you will be below your decision altitude upon opening 100% of the time. Even for those who have a decision altitude of 2k, you're still going to be at or below your decision altitude upon opening most of the time if you open at 3k.

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Yeah, maybe it was 3500. Dont get hung up on the number, you see the only point I was making, sometimes 4500 is against the rules.
It's flare not flair, brakes not breaks, bridle not bridal, "could NOT care less" not "could care less".

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So I will spell it our for you. I was referring to the OP'S #1 what if. First off like oblextimm stated, communication with in a group going to altitude in the same plane is NEVER a bad thing, its actually encouraged at my home dz, and usually done in the loading area prior to loading the plane. The comment was something to the effect of telling unlicensed/student jumper to pull high(which is ok and not against our rules but usually asked to exit after the free fliers and let the people after you know), but combined with the other component of the situation he was told to follow out a RW group right after with out telling them. If he does not give enough separation time then he will be joining that groups jump with out them knowing, and that in itself is dangerous, not to mention in typical exit order it is belly fliers first then free fliers etc. So if he opens at 4500 there just might be a free flier, or a video guy for a tandem that can check his gear for him as they go screaming by that will most likely exit after him and probably deploy around 3500. Thats why!!!!! :S

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tikl68

… First off like oblextimm stated, communication with in a group going to altitude in the same plane is NEVER a bad thing, its actually encouraged at my home dz, and usually done in the loading area prior to loading the plane.


Good advice
tikl68

The comment was something to the effect of telling unlicensed/student jumper to pull high(which is ok and not against our rules but usually asked to exit after the free fliers and let the people after you know), …


Why should he jump after the free fliers? Very often the "higher puller" does not open as high as they think. If one of the free fliers who jumps before him, opens higher (intentionally or not), you will now have the risk of collision.
tikl68

… but combined with the other component of the situation he was told to follow out a RW group right after with out telling them. If he does not give enough separation time then he will be joining that groups jump with out them knowing, and that in itself is dangerous, not to mention in typical exit order it is belly fliers first then free fliers etc. ..


He should respect the normal exit separation. He is a solo belly flier, so he should go after the group of belly fliers and use the normal exit separation.
tikl68

So if he opens at 4500 there just might be a free flier, or a video guy for a tandem that can check his gear for him as they go screaming by that will most likely exit after him and probably deploy around 3500. Thats why!!!!! :S


If they scream by, they did not respect the right exit separation.
If two tandems both with a cameraman jump after him. Does the second cameraman pulls higher than the first tandem? Do you really believe that???? Same reasoning!!!

Remark: The exit order belly fliers first, free fliers, AFF, Tandem … is only correct for jumpruns into the wind.

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You SHOULD respect normal exit separation, but we all know that is not always the case. In regards to a free flier screaming by,it has nothing to do with separation or lack there of. If you open at 4500 or above and you are ahead of people that open at 3500, when the group behind you breaks of and tracks that distance can be quickly covered, and if you are not paying attention when you deploy at 4500 (which happens often) and fly UP jump run while you monkey with you slider,chest strap and anything else you do after deployment, again the "separation time" is now mitigated. In my experience(as a belly coach and LO) that low experienced solo belly jumpers usually back slide, or drift around, and they can and do find them selves under the group behind them. It is just a scenario that leaves too much to chance, and we have all seen too many close calls on friday freak out. As for the tandem im not sure if I worded it wrong but there is only ONE camera man in the scenario. I have seen video from our tandem camera fliers, and from fun jumpers, of close calls at my home DZ. It can be done but communicate and let the group behind you know, there fore they can add a little separation time and or at least be aware he might be there when you as the person in the group behind are tracking to be even more aware. Why is communicating such a big issue.

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>But as well all know, it is horizontal separation that matters between groups, not vertical.

It is both. Horizontal is always primary - but vertical separation can save your life if the horizontal separation is misjudged. (It has saved me from a collision more than once.)

>If I end my skydive early, whether intentional or not, none of the other freefall
>groups should be affected.

In an ideal world, agreed. The world isn't always ideal. (If it were, we wouldn't need reserves, RSLs or AADs.)

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billvon


It is both. Horizontal is always primary - but vertical separation can save your life if the horizontal separation is misjudged.



If you are coming down on top of me, I am not sure which is better, for one to be in freefall and one under canopy, or both under canopy which would lead to an entanglement or wrap.

IMHO the rules for horizontal exit separation have been written in blood. It is extremely important to maintain those rules for the safety of all jumpers, and if someone is incapable of doing so, he/she is putting any jumper in the previous group at risk, regardless of pull altitude.

If it actually is that important, the rule should be spelled out somewhere, if someone opens above XX altitude, you MUST give them YY additional delay. Just telling them what is going on is not enough.
It's flare not flair, brakes not breaks, bridle not bridal, "could NOT care less" not "could care less".

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SethInMI

***
It is both. Horizontal is always primary - but vertical separation can save your life if the horizontal separation is misjudged.



If you are coming down on top of me, I am not sure which is better, for one to be in freefall and one under canopy, or both under canopy which would lead to an entanglement or wrap.


Hmmm.. let's see. What would I prefer: An 80 kilo slab of meat hitting my canopy at 200 kph or the same slab of meat hitting me with 50 kph?

Just about the only advantage of wraps / entanglements is that they are relatively low speed, allowing for just a little more time to solve the issue and for communication between the jumpers.


SethInMI


IMHO the rules for horizontal exit separation have been written in blood. It is extremely important to maintain those rules for the safety of all jumpers, and if someone is incapable of doing so, he/she is putting any jumper in the previous group at risk, regardless of pull altitude.

If it actually is that important, the rule should be spelled out somewhere, if someone opens above XX altitude, you MUST give them YY additional delay. Just telling them what is going on is not enough.



Maybe not, but communication about what they're up to is a start. In fact, knowing what is going on in the rest of the load (or at the very least in the groups around you) is just as important as the exit order itself.

For instance: there were a lot of factors contributing to my first reserve ride, but being distracted moments before pull altitude by seeing open canopies in the distance at an altitude I wasn't expecting them certainly didn't help.
"That formation-stuff in freefall is just fun and games but with an open parachute it's starting to sound like, you know, an extreme sport."
~mom
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It is that important. Instead the person that opens at XX altitude giving more horizontal separation and dragging out jump run to the point where people land out or the pilot has to do a go around. So the option that my home dz chooses to not have jump run stretched out, if you want to open at 4500-5000 and above is to have you exit after the RW/FF, and IMHO communicating with anybody behind you(AFF inst,or tandem video people) about when you are deploying, or anything else out of the ordinary, is NOT a bad idea.

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Again, I'm not saying communication is dumb. Communication is great. What I am saying is "opening at 5k should not affect the delay taken by the following group" and therefore not telling them is not a safety issue.

there are two safety concerns I have seen raised:
1. tik168 is saying you need to give extra delay to account for the fact that once open if the person flies up the flight line they could fly into the airspace of the next group.

I ran some numbers. First thing that stands out is this is not a concern if you are followed out by free-fliers, as they will catch up to you by the time you finish deploying, so if you do fly up the flight line you are flying over top of them. Actually they could give you a smaller delay if they knew you were pulling higher as the break-off spread would occur below you. (I'm not saying anyone would do that of course) (If they need to give a really long delay, still not a problem as see below)

If you are followed out by a tandem with video, we need to consider the video flyer. How much closer will the canopy be flying for X seconds up the flight line? And what should X be? Let us assume the TI always plans to give solos 400ft of space. How long will it take our solo to cover that distance? With a 20mph speed, 13 seconds, so our vidiot could be in danger if the winds required a very long delay. But, and this is a very important point, the same collision risk exists no matter what the opening altitude of the solo is. If the solo opens at 3k and flies up jump run for 13 seconds, he will be under the vidiot too, the same position. In fact, he would most likely be closer at 3k, as in really strong winds typically the winds at 4.5k are stronger than 2.5k.

I'm just a little depressed that some people can't understand the physics of this, or think the concern of running into someone while you are deploying is not a big deal.

2. Baksteen mentioned that seeing canopies above him freaked him out and caused a cutaway. This is a valid point, but I think the argument is a weak one. IMHO this goes in the "communication is good, but you should be prepared to handle your shit regardless"
It's flare not flair, brakes not breaks, bridle not bridal, "could NOT care less" not "could care less".

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The numbers are nice in a perfect world where all the elements are in your control, but still give no credence to the argument of low collision possibility in this scenario. Most free fly jumps break off between 4500 and 5000, and when tracking can cover a good distance. If is a 4 way or more some one has no choice but to track back down jump run. I get some of what you are saying about the free fliers falling faster and there fore reaching 4500/5000 before the solo belly flier deploys, but why rely on luck and chance, why not just have the solo jumper exit after the FF and manage the risk as much as possible.

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Tickl68 makes great points. And in addition, even if you take break-off tracking out of the picture, all those arguments assume everyone is just falling straight down the hole. Solos slide around. 2-ways slide around. Belly or freefly! Freeflyers can cover a LOT of ground if they are backsliding same as belly flyers. Perhaps even more. I've been in freefall in a sit facing perpendicular to jump-run and watched the solo sitflyer who exited 10 seconds before me facing back along line of flight zipping along backward along a path which would put him right under me right about pull altitude. Knowing my altitude, and gauging he was maybe 1500 feet below me, I got on my belly at 6k and started tracking hard (again, perpendicular to jump-run) so that he wouldn't be right underneath me when he pulled, and so that I'd be tracking long enough that we'd also have some horizontal separation. It was one of the scarier things I've experienced in freefall. Now put that guy out right after the solo belly flyer who decides to pull at 5k; and have him facing the direction the plane is flying instead. Now he's backsliding right toward that high-puller, and he's falling much faster, too, which negates both vertical and horizontal separation. Lovely situation we have brewing there.

In a perfect world no one would be facing along line of flight while making a solo or a 2-way jump; people breaking off from larger group jumps would always remember to veer a little bit off the line of flight (if that's the direction they're stuck tracking and if there's the clear space to do so) after they've tracked for 3 seconds or so; no one would go low on a formation and then decide to start tracking early instead of trying to get back up and then end up tracking into someone else's airspace; and everyone would remember to fly their canopies perpendicular to jump-run for several seconds after opening until they can account for everyone in the groups exiting before and after them, before turning back toward the landing area. But this isn't a perfect world and there's a lot of sketchy shit happening out there, particularly at larger dzs with lots of visiting jumpers.

So exit after the rest of the belly flyers, but before the freeflyers, and pull at an altitude where many skydivers are still in freefall and you may be putting your canopy right into a place where someone else is falling - that freeflyer who is backsliding without knowing it, or as tikl68 says the freeflyers who are in the midst of their break-off track. At the VERY LEAST, the intention to pull higher than about 4k should be communicated! Our dz has a rule against pulling higher than 4k without informing Manifest AND getting permission. And at that point, you're typically put out after all the fun-jumpers, both belly and freefly. Whether you go before or after students and/or tandems depends on how high you want to pull, what your wing-loading is, and how those instructors want to manage it, so you're asked to go talk to the instructors on the load so they can determine your slot in the exit order. And sometimes, if there are multiple planes flying, particularly at a boogie or if there are 10-5 passes for teams training, you may not be allowed to pull above 4k period. Encouraging a young jumper (or an experienced one for that matter) to go and do something that would be both unexpected and out of the ordinary without any communication of intention is NOT a good idea.

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