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AdamLanes

Skydiving and Alcohol

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I've been teaching my students the 8-hour "bottle to throttle" rule for skydiving. Recently it has come to my attention that this is apparently NOT a rule either by FAA or USPA. Is there any rule (outside a specific dropzone) in fact that would prohibit a jumper in the United States from having A beer at lunch, and then making a sunset jump, for example, four or six hours later?

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FAR, Part 105, Sec. 105.7 Use of alcohol and drugs
No person may conduct a parachute operation, and no pilot in command of an aircraft may allow a person to conduct a parachute operation from that aircraft, if that person is or appears to be under the influence of--

(a) Alcohol, or

(b) Any drug that affects that person's faculties in any way contrary to safety.

FARs

Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs) are the rules that govern aviation activities. The FARs outline the FAA requirements for skydivers, pilots and parachute riggers.
--------------------------------------------------

With sufficient thrust,
pigs just fly well

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FAR 91.17 bottle to throttle only pertains to someone acting or attempting to act as a crewmember of a civil aircraft. It does not pertain to skydiving operations.

It is a judgement call based on the 'appears to be under the influence of' clause in sec 105.7. Most professionally run dropzones consider skydivers to be under the influence of alcohol if they have any amount of detectable alcohol in their system. I know if I had a beer at my DZ for lunch, I would have to blow a 0.0 on an alcohol test to get to skydive. They actually check at my DZ.

If you want to drink and jump - become a base jumper.:)
For the same reason I jump off a perfectly good diving board.

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In Canada, CSPA BSR 2.6 states:

2.6 No jumper shall make, or attempt to make, a parachute descent while under the influence of a drug, alcoholic beverage or other type of intoxicant.

Does USPA not have a similar rule? 8 hours bottle to throttle has always been a guideline/myth. No organization would publish such a thing as a rule. There is nothing magic about an 8 hour period. You already know that if you've ever gone on a real bender.

As you also know, most DZs just have a zero tolerance policy. How that is interpreted and enforced is highly variable.
Always remember the brave children who died defending your right to bear arms. Freedom is not free.

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Your liver needs an hour or two (per beer) to filter alcohol out of your system.
Any more than that and your ability to control is reduced.
Yes "8 hours between bottle and throttle" is rigidly enforced for airline pilots, but is just common sense for skydivers.

Attitudes vary from one country to the next. In North America we cannot trust young men to limit themselves to one or two beers mid-day.

Back when I taught at Strassboug, France the city imposed a 2 hour curfew at noon. Students were allowed a glass of wine with lunch. We figured they would be sober by the time we resumed jumping in the afternoon.
Meanwhile, we instructors preferred to lead by example, so we did not touch alcohol until sunset.

People who try to split hairs too finely annoy me.

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The FAA has an 8-hour rule for pilots, among other rules pertaining to alcohol. It seems that this rule is not extended to skydivers, and the FAA and USPA only require that the skydiver not be under the influence, intoxicated, or appear to be intoxicated, in order to jump. From what I remember learning about alcohol is that 4 hours after consuming one standard "unit" of alcohol, a person should not be under the influence or intoxicated and therefore be legal to skydive. I actually have a bet that there was a rule preventing this. And to the guy above bringing up that other sport, that was a terrible idea.

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91.17 Alcohol or drugs.
(a) No person may act or attempt to act as a crewmember of a civil aircraft—
(1) Within 8 hours after the consumption of any alcoholic beverage;
(2) While under the influence of alcohol;
(3) While using any drug that affects the person's faculties in any way contrary to safety; or
(4) While having an alcohol concentration of 0.04 or greater in a blood or breath specimen. Alcohol concentration means grams of alcohol per deciliter of blood or grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath.
(b) Except in an emergency, no pilot of a civil aircraft may allow a person who appears to be intoxicated or who demonstrates by manner or physical indications that the individual is under the influence of drugs (except a medical patient under proper care) to be carried in that aircraft.

Interpret as you will, but in my aircraft any sign of alcohol use by any parachutist is grounds for removal. The lawyers have seen to that.
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You're not as good as you think you are. Seriously.

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diablopilot

91.17 Alcohol or drugs.
(a) No person may act or attempt to act as a crewmember of a civil aircraft—
(1) Within 8 hours after the consumption of any alcoholic beverage;
(2) While under the influence of alcohol;
(3) While using any drug that affects the person's faculties in any way contrary to safety; or
(4) While having an alcohol concentration of 0.04 or greater in a blood or breath specimen. Alcohol concentration means grams of alcohol per deciliter of blood or grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath.
(b) Except in an emergency, no pilot of a civil aircraft may allow a person who appears to be intoxicated or who demonstrates by manner or physical indications that the individual is under the influence of drugs (except a medical patient under proper care) to be carried in that aircraft.

Interpret as you will, but in my aircraft any sign of alcohol use by any parachutist is grounds for removal. The lawyers have seen to that.



Jeez, with that rule enforced, commercial aircraft would fly half full everytime.

At the CRW world cup in China back in the early 90s, lunch was delivered to the DZ every day. It always included a crate of 750 ml bottles of beer. I never saw any full ones returned....
My computer beat me at chess, It was no match for me at kickboxing....

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AdamLanes

That does not answer my question. What I am hearing is that, yes, it is okay to have a beer with lunch and then continue skydiving as long as you are no longer intoxicated or under the influence.



If you are not under the influence, that is ok ...
How do you know that?

I guess it is as a lawyer will argue: it depends ..
go and check the medical issues how the absorption of alcohol in a body is to be determined.
it depends if you are female or male and your weight for instance and what did you eat. Are you taking medicine?
How high is the beer "loaded"? That also effects the blood alcohol level.
So an overall argument "a beer for lunch" means what? a pitcher, a bottle, a can (which is different here in Germany, but I guess you mean one bottle).
An average male may clean up 0,2 parts of a thousand/hour ..
means: if one beer gives you 0,3 parts of a thousand, you might be clear after 1,5 hrs.
Now it´s up to you to judge whether it is okay to go skydiving.
--------------------------------------------------

With sufficient thrust,
pigs just fly well

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AdamLanes

That does not answer my question. What I am hearing is that, yes, it is okay to have a beer with lunch and then continue skydiving as long as you are no longer intoxicated or under the influence.



That's also how I would interpret it. However, in order to be sure that no one is jumping under the influence, almost all DZs have a policy of zero tolerance. Because then there will be no "grey" areas.
Always remember the brave children who died defending your right to bear arms. Freedom is not free.

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AdamLanes

That does not answer my question. What I am hearing is that, yes, it is okay to have a beer with lunch and then continue skydiving as long as you are no longer intoxicated or under the influence.



According to the FARs (USA) that is correct. Another variable is if the person was ever "intoxicated or under the influence", which could be subjective at low alcohol levels.

To explain the issue in your original post, I think that it would be best to not tell your students about the FAA regulations, but to instead tell them about dropzone policy, which can be whatever the dropzone wants to make it, either following the FARS, or zero-tolerance.

I can't imagine why any dropzone in the US would allow any amount of alcohol because of the legal issues that could result if an accident occurred.

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We've had this argument at my dz before. You've been presented all the written laws pertaining to alcohol and skydiving. Interpret it how you will, but keep in mind that your idea of "under the influence" might differ from an attorney's.

Because of the level of interpretation involved, at our dz we have a no tolerance policy. Wanna drink? Have at it but no more jumping the rest of the day.

I know that I would usually go get one beer when I showed up to a big boogie, and then a few hours later got on a load. I would argue that at 6'2" 230lbs, 4 hours after 1 beer I'm not "under the influence," but that differs person to person.
"Are you coming to the party?
Oh I'm coming, but I won't be there!"
Flying Hellfish #828
Dudist #52

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Why not just buy the 'alco-meter', or whatever it is called (the thing you breathe into, and is shows you how much alcohol you still have in your system). I have one, many of my friends have one, DZs have one, we never drive with any alcohol in our system, we never jump with any alcohol in our system. Simple. $50 solution.

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That seems like a good idea, but might be tough to execute. It comes down to this, HAVE SOME COMMON SINCE! But we all know that cant happen. Its a beer you cant wait 4 or 5 hours til the end of the day. Im ok with DZ's having zero tolerance, I dont want to get hit by a drunk driver on the hiway any more than I do in the sky, not to mention all the legal issues for the DZ/pilot.

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Because for one, the $50 device is not accurate and dependable. And two, zero tolerance removes all doubt and is a great policy for public relations.

If it's too hard to go all day without drinking, find another sport. Period.
Always remember the brave children who died defending your right to bear arms. Freedom is not free.

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It's an interesting debate because you can't possibly say that someone that consumes a beer at lunch then gets on a sunset load is in a worse state than someone that drinks 15 beers at night during a boogie then shows up to skydive at 8am the next day.
*If you fail to plan, you plan to fail*
*It's not flair, it's flare*
*Please use "your" and "you're" responsibly*

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Which is another area where stronger enforcement would do good, and where some organisers at least have moved towards acknowledging the issue, with various degrees of formal attention (from "remember to drink responsibly if you intend to be on the morning load" to actually showing up with a breath tester and screening for obviously hungover people).
"Skydivers are highly emotional people. They get all excited about their magical black box full of mysterious life saving forces."

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gowlerk

Because for one, the $50 device is not accurate and dependable. And two, zero tolerance removes all doubt and is a great policy for public relations.

If it's too hard to go all day without drinking, find an AA-meeting. Period.



Fixed it for you.

Over here they recently upped it from eight to ten hours, by the way. It doesn't even matter what is in the actual aviation laws; the ten hour thing is in the Dutch Basic Safety Requirements.

That said, I've seen the hungover thing (not half-drunk; HUNGOVER) at boogies once or twice.Even been guilty myself once, but I scared myself hard enough that it'll never happen again.:|
"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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Just replying generally here. In the military we used to follow "12 hours bottle to brief (for the flight)." That is a pretty good rule, IMO. One drink can affect your judgment and given that what we are doing is on its face dangerous, it is much better to be safe than stupid. At my DZ if you have a drink during the day, you are done until tomorrow. No complaints so far.
Charlie Gittins, 540-327-2208
AFF-I, Sigma TI, IAD-I
MEI, CFI-I, Senior Rigger
Former DZO, Blue Ridge Skydiving Adventures

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A long time ago most North American DZs adopted the "no drinking during jumping operations" rule. That was because DZOs learned the hard way not to trust skydivers to limit themselves to 1 or 2 beers during the skydiving day.

Then North American DZs started celebrating the sunset load by turning on the "beer light."
The system has worked well for decades.
Why mess with success?

Now the hard part is convincing non-jumping friends of tandem students to keep their beer under the (picnic bench) table.

If you cannot get through the skydiving day without drinking, find another sport.

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riggerrob

A long time ago most North American DZs adopted the "no drinking during jumping operations" rule. That was because DZOs learned the hard way not to trust skydivers to limit themselves to 1 or 2 beers during the skydiving day.

Then North American DZs started celebrating the sunset load by turning on the "beer light."
The system has worked well for decades.
Why mess with success?

Now the hard part is convincing non-jumping friends of tandem students to keep their beer under the (picnic bench) table.

If you cannot get through the skydiving day without drinking, find another sport.



This is exactly what I was going to say. At all of the DZs I have ever been to, there was a no open containers on the DZ until the beer light came on. Seems like a pretty standard rule.
Carpe Diem, Even if it kills me -- "Dead Poet's Society"

"Are you getting into trouble over there?" --- "Nothing that I'm going to admit to!"
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