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PhreeZone

USPA changes tandem BSR

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13 decided to stick their nose in where it doesn't belong, 4 had the good sense to not create a new BSR,



I'm curious as to why you think this is a bad idea. Like it or not, tandem has become an important part of the skydiving industry and with only three manufacturers in play, they do hold some of 'the cards' in the situation.

If the USPA wants to be responsible for rating instructors, they also need be responsible for regulating instructors, and one of the groups that needs to be considered is the manufacturers.

If you consider the number of DZ who would be willing to do underage tandems and then the number of actual underage tandems they're likely to do, and you compare that to the trouble that one injured underage tandem could make for the manufacturer, and the ripple effect that could have on the rest of the industry, how is it a bad thing to make sure that all involved are legally protected (as much as one can be)?

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SS,

I would be absolutely happy to divuldge my voting on this topic or any other, as I am on Safety and Training (the commitee that was tasked with this issue), and yes it was brought up that this may or may not be a safety issue).
This was debated for hours and we heard from manufacturers that were present, instructors, S&TA's, and DZO's.
I voted "No" in commitee based soley on the fact I was not sure if the manufacturers would grant waivers for an underage tandem. I personally am involved in Make A Wish jumps and jumps for terminally ill kids. I know this would effect many across the country that participate in similar charity type jumps. If USPA grants a waiver and yes it is waiverable by a full BOD vote; and the manufacturer does not allow it at all. All TI's would be risking their manufacture rating. This could be a very serious problem, especially for I/E's.

After I spoke with the two main manufacturers (Ted Strong and Bill Booth) personally, and was ensured that they would allow any USPA granted waiver to take place without risking the TI's rating, I changed my vote at the full BOD to "Yes".

Keep in mind, at this juncture this BSR ONLY references age. It does not say all manufacture requirements. So for example if Strong requires frap hats and altimeters and you take a tandem without them you are not violating this bsr.

To answer why not the legal age of majority? Some states the legal age of majority is 21, some 19. So across the country making a legal age of majority will be problematic.

Keep in mind: the manufacturers wanted an 18 years of age across the board to include AFF, Static, and IAD. That was not acceptable and this BSR ONLY refers to Tandems. So yes the 16 year old can participate in AFF. I understand that sounds ridiculous, but by the numbers tandems make up the majority of student jumps.

You may not agree and I understand your point of view, it was represented well. If you have any specific questions feel free to PM me or call. I am definately not replying to ensight a debate arguement, there are valid points on both sides. I am posting to try to clarify the thought process and bring some confidence back to the system.

This was the first S&T committee meeting I have sat in on and I will say that all 7 members and advisors gave this topic 100 % and every view point was represented. This is not a knee jerk reaction that was taken lightly the manufacturers have been asking for this for a long time and deserve an answer one way or another.

This is my pesonal account of the topic, and I am posting to inform the best I can.

Thanks,
Rich Winstock

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If the USPA wants to be responsible for rating instructors, they also need be responsible for regulating instructors, and one of the groups that needs to be considered is the manufacturers.



If they want to be truly responsible for regulating instructors, then the USPA should get the FAA to grant them real authority, like the Ozzies have with the APF. The ability to shut down a DZ if they are willfully breaking the regs.
“That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.”

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If the USPA wants to be responsible for rating instructors, they also need be responsible for regulating instructors, and one of the groups that needs to be considered is the manufacturers.



If they want to be truly responsible for regulating instructors, then the USPA should get the FAA to grant them real authority, like the Ozzies have with the APF. The ability to shut down a DZ if they are willfully breaking the regs.



I wouldn't want the USPA to have that kind of power. Considering the influence certain DZOs and/or their allies have in/on the USPA, I'd think the potential for mischief would be unreasonably high.

Put another way, if I was the owner of a henhouse, I'd think the owner of a competing henhouse could do me as much damage as the proverbial fox could.

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Aren't lawyers regulated by other lawyers?



Of course; although to be more precise, lawyers are regulated by state and federal canons of ethics and disciplinary rules, which are written by the courts, and then enforced by initially by hearings (with due process) before disciplinary boards, the results of which are automatically appealable for new trials in the courts.

But I'm not evading your point. I understand your point, and the seeming logic of it. Same goes for doctors & dentists, etc. But the difference is that the number of lawyers, doctors, dentists, CPAs, engineers is relatively huge compared to the relatively small number of skydivers, and especially DZOs, in the US.

My concern is that there are (comparatively speaking) so few skydivers in the US, and even fewer DZOs, that 1 or 2 active DZOs on the USPA Board could set themselves up to have a huge amount of disciplinary "authority" over some other DZO whose guts they hate or who is a stiff competitor of theirs. Trying to eliminate that could result in half the Board having to recuse itself on one case or another. In any event, my fear is that too much personal self-interest and/or personal conflict of interest would abound.

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Aren't lawyers regulated by other lawyers?



Of course; although to be more precise, lawyers are regulated by state and federal canons of ethics and disciplinary rules, which are written by the courts, and then enforced by initially by hearings (with due process) before disciplinary boards, the results of which are automatically appealable for new trials in the courts.

But I'm not evading your point. I understand your point, and the seeming logic of it. Same goes for doctors & dentists, etc. But the difference is that the number of lawyers, doctors, dentists, CPAs, engineers is relatively huge compared to the relatively small number of skydivers, and especially DZOs, in the US.

My concern is that there are (comparatively speaking) so few skydivers in the US, and even fewer DZOs, that 1 or 2 active DZOs on the USPA Board could set themselves up to have a huge amount of disciplinary "authority" over some other DZO whose guts they hate or who is a stiff competitor of theirs. Trying to eliminate that could result in half the Board having to recuse itself on one case or another. In any event, my fear is that too much personal self-interest and/or personal conflict of interest would abound.



DiverMike,

Notice the detail with which the self-governing process of doctors, lawyers and dentists is administered -- particularly in the area of due process and appeal. Nothing remotely similar exists in the parachuting industry, ergo, the increased potential for abuse outlined by Andy908.

Exhibit A for the affirmative is the Skyride Clusterfink. Regardless of whether you agree or not with USPA's decision to get involved in "regulating" that, it turned into a massive clusterfink -- in large part precisely because our industry and its associated trade groups do not have anything remotely similar to the self-regulatory processes, procedures and structures that exists for doctors, lawyers and dentists.

B|
SCR-6933 / SCS-3463 / D-5533 / BASE 44 / CCS-37 / 82d Airborne (Ret.)

"The beginning of wisdom is to first call things by their right names."

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Dave, I personally think 18 is a good age to start skydiving regardless of method. I remember the time when 16 with parental consent was the norm but in this day and age of liability it only makes sense to wait until 18 and that is how we operate at my DZ. But my opinion is my own and I would not tell another DZ in another state how to conduct their business. I do not think USPA needed to get involved in this and create a new BSR. They could simply say that they encourage skydivers to follow manufactures guidelines and leave it at that. Age of consent laws vary from state to state, we do not need to dictate local protocols and become a federal overlord for individual businesses and concerns.

In the US you can solo a powered aircraft at age 16 and obtain a private pilot license at 17 but now USPA is going to mandate you can't jump out of one until you are 18? Besides that, this new BSR pertains to only tandems and SL, IAD, and AFF are not included. How backwards is that? You can make a solo jump at 16 but if you want to make a jump with a qualified tandem instructor you have to wait two more years?

That would be like telling a 16 year old he can solo an airplane the first flight but if he wants to fly with a flight instructor he or she must wait until he is older.

I do not see this as giving us more legal protection, if anything it will set USPA up for more lawsuits, do nothing to improve safety, and flood us with requests for waivers.
Once you pass a BSR it is about impossible to rescind it down the road if you later discover it was a bad idea. You are pretty much stuck with it. We considered this when the wingloading BSR was proposed.


You may disagree with my opinion but if the vote count phree posted is correct then 4 bod members were against it, 3 could not decide and 2 didn't care. so you have 9 BOD were not pro new-BSR as you are. wouldn't you like to know who they were and why?

Rich, thanks for your reply, we may not agree on this issue but I do respect you for stating how you voted and why. To bad not all members have the same integrity.

All votes should be by name so we know how our elected officials stand on the issues. Members of congress can not vote in secrecy and neither should the BOD. After each meeting the issues voted on and how each member voted should be made public and posted on the USPA website.
Onward and Upward!

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I personally think 18 is a good age to start skydiving regardless of method.


My son, who started 'in front of me' at the age of eight and made his fist solo SL jump at his sixteenth birthday probably disagrees with that statement. Furthermore, everybody we strap in front of us is somebodies son, daughter, wife, husband, parent - it comes with the territory. MY legal system (the Netherlands) acknowledges from the age of twelve on that they are independent legal beings - to be heard by the judges in case of medical treatments for cancer or where they want to live in case of a divorce. Wether the whole world falls under US jurisdiction remains to be seen.

Other than that

"When in Rome..." :)

"Whoever in discussion adduces authority uses not intellect but memory." - Leonardo da Vinci
A thousand words...

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I personally think 18 is a good age to start skydiving regardless of method.


My son, who started 'in front of me' at the age of eight and made his fist solo SL jump at his sixteenth birthday probably disagrees with that statement. Furthermore, everybody we strap in front of us is somebodies son, daughter, wife, husband, parent - it comes with the territory. MY legal system (the Netherlands) acknowledges from the age of twelve on that they are independent legal beings - to be heard by the judges in case of medical treatments for cancer or where they want to live in case of a divorce. Wether the whole world falls under US jurisdiction remains to be seen.

Other than that

"When in Rome..." :)


Well, I guess you read the whole thing and not just that one line? I think 18 is a good age purely for legal reasons. It has been proven in court many times that a parent can't waive the rights of their minor child so where I live they have to be 18 to sign the waiver, no waiver, no jump.

I started when I was 18 and would have started sooner but my folks wouldn't sign off on it. But, I have instructed and jumpmastered 16 and 17 year olds making static line jumps. Their parents signed the waiver and at the time that was good enough, different world now.

Like I said my opinion is my opinion and I am not going to endorse telling other people in other states or other countries how they can conduct their business. I know some incredible skydivers who started at an early age.

USPA should have stayed out of this. They are not a legal authority on anything. They are a voluntary membership organization, not some sort of federal regulatory agency. Apparently 13 people on the current board do not understand that.
Onward and Upward!

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They could simply say that they encourage skydivers to follow manufactures guidelines and leave it at that.



This I agree with. The USPA has a hard enough time running anything, and now they want to run more????

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That would be like telling a 16 year old he can solo an airplane the first flight but if he wants to fly with a flight instructor he or she must wait until he is older.



Not exactly true. Since the norm in flying is to have duel instruction anything other than that would be abnormal.

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I do not see this as giving us more legal protection



It does when you consider that having to be the legal age of majority will prevent many people from taking a "joy ride". Now if they want to learn at 16, they have to take a full class. Many would rather wait than dedicate.

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All votes should be by name so we know how our elected officials stand on the issues.



I agree.
"No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms." -- Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Jefferson Papers, 334

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That would be like telling a 16 year old he can solo an airplane the first flight but if he wants to fly with a flight instructor he or she must wait until he is older.



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Not exactly true. Since the norm in flying is to have duel instruction anything other than that would be abnormal.



The norm has always been one skydiver, two parachutes. So by your reasoning tandems are abnormal. Which is essentialy true. Tandem allows dual instruction and the entire jump from exit to landing is "dual"

We are basically landing a MR. BILL each time but with extra safety precautions. You know like an extra harness 2 bigger parachutes, and a drouge.

Tandem jumps are nothing more than a "safe" Mr. Bill
Onward and Upward!

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The norm has always been one skydiver, two parachutes. So by your reasoning tandems are abnormal.



Nope, they have been doing tandems for well over 20 years. More people jump tandem than any other method. More people do tandems that aff and sl combined. Tandem is now the 'norm'.

For your analogy to be correct, you would have to go back in time.
"No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms." -- Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Jefferson Papers, 334

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Ok, I hate to argue with people I tend to agree with most of the time , but tandems were considered "experimental" until the late 90's.

I don't have to go too far back in time for my analogy to be correct. Unless you just started jumping in the last 10 years.

How does the old saying go? Skydiving began when I started jumping?
Onward and Upward!

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I don't have to go too far back in time for my analogy to be correct. Unless you just started jumping in the last 10 years.

How does the old saying go? Skydiving began when I started jumping?



You have 10 years on me, my profile info is close to correct. While 29 years ago a tandem may have been an 'oddity', and 10 years ago it may have been 'experimental'.... Today it is the most common type of 'student' jump made.

Therefore, since it us 2011 not 1982 the fact that it is the most common method today still proves your analogy is incorrect.

BTW, you do know that they trained WW1 pilots solo with short hops that got longer over time? Back then it was considered normal, today that method of instruction would be an oddity. Things change over time... Just look how SL was 'the' method 20 years ago and now AFF is much more popular.
"No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms." -- Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Jefferson Papers, 334

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USPA should have stayed out of this. They are not a legal authority on anything. They are a voluntary membership organization, not some sort of federal regulatory agency. Apparently 13 people on the current board do not understand that.



+1

B|
SCR-6933 / SCS-3463 / D-5533 / BASE 44 / CCS-37 / 82d Airborne (Ret.)

"The beginning of wisdom is to first call things by their right names."

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I believe that out of your number there were a number of BOD members that were asked to abstain from voting because of conflicts of interest. The numbers might not look as you are trying to make them be because of these non-voters.
Yesterday is history
And tomorrow is a mystery

Parachutemanuals.com

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You've got me wondering about numbers now too...

Is there really enough of a demand for under-age tandems in the first place?
I've been a TI now for five years, and other than my youngest daughter, I don't know of any requests for under-age jumps.
I work at two very well known and very busy DZ's - occasionally a boogie or other DZ as well....I'm not seeing this as a big issue.

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I believe that out of your number there were a number of BOD members that were asked to abstain from voting because of conflicts of interest. The numbers might not look as you are trying to make them be because of these non-voters.



Translation; Some of the board members own drop zones and let their kids jump. This new BSR will not change that.

I am not trying to make the numbers anything, they are what they are.
Onward and Upward!

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You've got me wondering about numbers now too...

Is there really enough of a demand for under-age tandems in the first place?
I've been a TI now for five years, and other than my youngest daughter, I don't know of any requests for under-age jumps.
I work at two very well known and very busy DZ's - occasionally a boogie or other DZ as well....I'm not seeing this as a big issue.



+1

It's not a big issue in terms of absolute numbers, but the magnitude of the potential liability makes the absolute numbers moot to a tandem manufacturer. As they see it, even one is too many because if that "one" is The One that precipitates a lawsuit, then there's a big problem.

I wrote extensively about this in SKYDIVING's last couple of issues because I think we need to get more kids involved at much younger ages (because by the time they hit 18 they've already mostly established their "career path" in extreme sports), but independently of my personal opinion I found that even DZs that allow 16-year-olds (or younger) to jump have a very limited number of them seeking to do it anyway.

Now, if kid jumping was promoted the same way kid skiing, BMX, MX, scuba, et al are promoted, then of course we'd see bigger numbers, but most likely we will never see kid-participation numbers anywhere near the aforementioned other extreme sports because jumping is more expensive than most of them, and most of the involved parents will say "not on my watch. do what you want when you turn 18 and leave the house" (as my parents said to me about riding motorcycles).

I argue that other sports where kids can maim or kill themselves or others have found ways around the liability conundrum and that we should be able to do it too. Ironically, Exhibit A for the affirmative -- Mike Mullins -- has perhaps the most cogent argument against this notion. As I reported in SKYDIVING issue #329 (the last one):

Mullins also takes issue with the contention that the many other dangerous sports in which kids participate are an example that parachuting can easily follow.

“All the other sports you talk about, like motocross, skiing – and just look at riding hunter/jumper horses; people get seriously hurt – but they’ve been around for decades or even hundreds of years and they are accepted. But the word skydiving throws up red flags to the public and to the courts, which are generally ignorant about it. So I can certainly understand why some DZs don’t take kids and don’t encourage them, and I’m not encouraging anyone to take on liability exposure they feel uncomfortable with. I just try not to let the lawyers run my life too much.”


B|
SCR-6933 / SCS-3463 / D-5533 / BASE 44 / CCS-37 / 82d Airborne (Ret.)

"The beginning of wisdom is to first call things by their right names."

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because by the time they hit 18 they've already mostly established their "career path" in extreme sports


I must disagree with this. Based on my personal experience anyway.
I was 27 when I started racing super bikes in WERA.
I was in my early 30's when I picked up a kneeboarding sponsor.
I didn't start jumping until in my 40's.
Maybe I'm just a "late bloomer".
;)

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because by the time they hit 18 they've already mostly established their "career path" in extreme sports


I must disagree with this. Based on my personal experience anyway.
I was 27 when I started racing super bikes in WERA.
I was in my early 30's when I picked up a kneeboarding sponsor.
I didn't start jumping until in my 40's.
Maybe I'm just a "late bloomer".
;)



LOL

Late bloomer indeed.

What do you have planned for your 50s and 60s?

B|
SCR-6933 / SCS-3463 / D-5533 / BASE 44 / CCS-37 / 82d Airborne (Ret.)

"The beginning of wisdom is to first call things by their right names."

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