0
pchapman

Sigma's at 500 lbs & taking tandem students up to 300 lb?

Recommended Posts

I'm curious how rare it is for DZ's to load their Sigma tandem rights right up around the 500lb maximum. (And is it the same for Strong?) --- and how rare it is to take tandem passengers up to 300 lb.

I know some DZ's might cap a student at say 230 lbs. But with some instructors, one might take up a 300 lb student -- for example, 300 + 150 instructor + about 50 for gear, if one isn't being really exacting with measuring every pound of equipment including the student harness.*

I had sort of fallen into the role at my local DZ as being one of the couple TI's who would occasionally take up big students, originally seeing it as a normal challenge of the work. (Originally out of widebody C-182s for no extra pay; now from a Caravan with extra pay.)

Others now have pointed out to me that it isn't exactly normal. I can see the point. Plenty of equipment in skydiving has often gotten overloaded a little -- C-182 gross weights, heavy student rigs with 254 lb certification limits being used with supposedly 230 lb students, that sort of thing. However, pushing the maximum on tandem gear might be less forgiving.

What about situations with big instructors: Do DZ's ever send up a 220lb instructor with a 230lb student? That again works right up at the gear's certified limits, but doesn't sound as surprising as when someone says they just jumped with a 290 lb student.
(Like a student of mine last weekend named Geronimo. Seriously.)




* Edit: although I'd like to re-weigh the tandem gear, one UPT document online that mentions the increase of certified weight from 450 to 500 lbs years ago does state, "The new approved gross weight limit is 500 lbs. This translates to approximately 50 lbs. of gear weight and 450 lbs. of personnel weight"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
We take students up to 260lb and pair them with an appropriate TI to stay under limit (Strong). We also get paid more in increments of 20 lb over 200 lb so their's a fat fee, goes straight to the TI for mental and physical anguish. The students need to show that they can raise their legs in front of them for the landing.

I will only take max load students out of the turbine, call me bitch, not doing it out of a 182.
"I encourage all awesome dangerous behavior." - Jeffro Fincher

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
All three of our regular TI's weigh about 200 lbs each. Our published student limit is 230. We will occasionally take people who are 240. I don't really worry about the 500 weight cap that much. But I do use it as a reason not to take anyone larger than that. By the time you fully gear up a 240 lb student and a 200 lb TI you are at 500 lbs. We are jumping a wide body 182. With wing extensions and a 180 lb pilot we are pretty much at maximum gross weight for the aircraft with two pairs this size.

We never fly our aircraft over gross. Never.
Always remember the brave children who died defending your right to bear arms. Freedom is not free.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I have taken several 300+lb passengers over the years with a personal weight ranging from 160 to my current weight of 185 it can be done safely. The manufacture does not condone it or allow it so you are on your own when you do it. I have 100s of jumps at 500lbs. no issues what so ever on Sigma and Vector. I have 3 injuries on passengers over 250 on strongs. All 3 were in great physical shape and 2 decided to put their feet down on landing while being instructed to pick them up resulting in ankle injuries and 1 was a stand up landing that resulted in a broken tibia. Turned out he had an existing fracture from martial arts and was told not to skydive. Old Strong harnesses will cut off blood flow and make lifting feet more difficult on over weight passengers.

I use 60" drogues in my sigma 340 for slower freefall and openings which really helps with the big guys.

Uncle/GrandPapa Whit
Unico Rodriguez # 245
Muff Brother # 2421

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm 145 and have taken 280 out of a narrowbody 182 a few times for the fat pay.

It's a lot of work, and definitely student dependent. I think all were taller than me 6'4+ with I swear them all being like 6'6 to 6'8. Big ripping guys.

Definitely possible, lot of work though. Although freefall when they arch is easy, kinda like riding a sled.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Please do tell. We're not talking about jumping over the weight limit of the gear, just meeting it. I gotta imagine you'll land like a ton of bricks at weight limit on a reserve.
"I encourage all awesome dangerous behavior." - Jeffro Fincher

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I do jumps at the 500lb max fairly regularly. I am currently in the process of losing a little weight, but for the last two years or so, I have been between 230-235 lbs (naked weight), so by the time you add in gear, and clothes, you are looking at a 210-215lb max student weight.

Most of the DZs I work at have a stated 220-225lb max passenger weight. The manifest people don't think about who they are pairing them with, so I am sure I have taken some of the 225lb passengers.

With that being said, I have never had a problem landing any of them. I do tend to build a little speed for landing, which definitely helps. Also, I am a stocky fairly strong guy, not a fat 230lb guy.

I have had one broken ankle in about 2700 tandems. She was a smaller jumper from the 60-70s, jumped rounds. She tried to stand up, and ended up with a broken ankle.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
grimmie

If your waiver states a weight limit for the student, it is very unwise to go one pound over. IMHO and the opinion of a very high priced asset protection attorney.

Very good point. I weigh in at 180-ish. I've taken up to 275 but shy away from that any more. At DZs that charge a fat fee I try to leave the extra $$$ to the young tough kids. At DZs that don't I think the TMs need to band together and refuse to risk their health taking overweight, out of shape passengers just to line the pockets of the operators. IMHO. :S

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I've had 2 reserve rides at max weight 1 on a master and 1 on a tvr both were spinning mals. They accelerate rapidly at that weight and breakaway was tough on both. BOTH reserves flew and landed very well at 500lbs....

The mots difficult part was the breakaway.

Uncle/GrandPapa Whit
Unico Rodriguez # 245
Muff Brother # 2421

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
pretty wild how people publish on a website the fact that they are operating outside the TSO limits of the gear and feel that this is OK.

This is the very definition of gross negligence. And I bet that you will not be the one to decide that, (or whether it is safe or not) when you are standing in a courtroom attempting to defend what you did, or good luck finding anyone, including the manufacturers to back you up on that.

100lb people do not play pro football. 300lb people do not skydive. The answer is 'no' sometimes and the few dollars will not pay your defense bill.

just my $0.02 worth.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
That's okay TK.
I have covered my ass - legally - with random posts on dz.com. Several times, I have posted "lawyers are free to quote me, just pay me a thousand dollars per word!"
Hah!
Hah!
The alternative is a game of smash-mouth involving a pair of lawyers!
Even more hilarious.
Hah!
Hah!

Seriously folks, please stop posting stuff about doing things that are not quite legal (e.g. smuggling year across borders) because lawyers, police and major corporations can read everything we write on the Internet.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

Seriously folks, please stop posting stuff about doing things that are not quite legal (e.g. smuggling year across borders) because lawyers, police and major corporations can read everything we write on the Internet.



Come on now you know it's really ok as long as they post the video for us to watch, everyone does it on YouTube and Vimeo, why not dz.com.
you can't pay for kids schoolin' with love of skydiving! ~ Airtwardo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
kawisixer01

Anyone know what the design safety margin is? In lifting and rigging equipment it's pretty typical to have things actually break at 150% of rated load. I assume human life equipment goes to a higher margin?



In fire rescue it's 15x 9000lb rope for 600lb 2 man load., static load. Skydiving gear is no where near this.[:/] Look at TSO standards for structural load test requirements
Pia.com public documents for the latest standard.
I'm old for my age.
Terry Urban
D-8631
FAA DPRE

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
councilman24

***Anyone know what the design safety margin is? In lifting and rigging equipment it's pretty typical to have things actually break at 150% of rated load. I assume human life equipment goes to a higher margin?



In fire rescue it's 15x 9000lb rope for 600lb 2 man load., static load. Skydiving gear is no where near this.[:/] Look at TSO standards for structural load test requirements
Pia.com public documents for the latest standard.

Yeah, you're probably not going to be able to equate one industry safety margin to another's because much of it is about the wear and tear unique to that field.
"I encourage all awesome dangerous behavior." - Jeffro Fincher

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
DJL

******Anyone know what the design safety margin is? In lifting and rigging equipment it's pretty typical to have things actually break at 150% of rated load. I assume human life equipment goes to a higher margin?



In fire rescue it's 15x 9000lb rope for 600lb 2 man load., static load. Skydiving gear is no where near this.[:/] Look at TSO standards for structural load test requirements
Pia.com public documents for the latest standard.

Yeah, you're probably not going to be able to equate one industry safety margin to another's because much of it is about the wear and tear unique to that field.

In looking at some of the tandem equipment some DZ's keep putting back in the air... which industry were you thinking of when you mentioned "wear and tear unique to that field"?? Just curious...

JW
Always remember that some clouds are harder than others...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
douwanto

The manufacture does not condone it or allow it so you are on your own when you do it.



Unfortunatley this is still not true...
Yea, you will have no backing from the mfg (or anyone else) when you go outside the published proceedures and/or limits. But that does NOT mean your choice doesn't affect the mfg or our industry.

Sit and talk with someone who worked at Strong after a TI lost a student for not tightening the straps as he was taught. 100% instructor error on video. And yet it almost put Strong out of business before it was all settled... simply because they had (perception) money and the TI/DZ/DZO didn't.

That doesn't include the negative press for the rest of us.

Now, are we busting tandem gear, not yet... but even if we don't manage to bust the worn out POS some of you still jump, an incident with a passenger often has very bad reprocussions on use all. Several mfg's have already pulled out of the sport industry, choosing to focus on the military work as the liability is much lower. How much have we already lost in the sport over that? We'll never know.

The 'its all on me' attitude before hand doesn't dismiss the rest of the industry from court after you f-up.

Want to pound in yourself, OK (but please not at my DZ).
But what you do with the 'innocent, paying passenger/student/wuffo' is something completely different.

But wait you say, they signed a waiver... and (in the situation we're discussing) YOU busted your training, TSO limits, manufacturer requirements, industry best-practice and common sense. Now explain that to the judge, jury and widow.

[/rant]

JW
Always remember that some clouds are harder than others...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just generally how margins are determined based upon their usage. For example you'll see tree cutters using safety lines that'll handle an errant chainsaw swipe. They'll much stronger not because they hold more weight but because of how they can get damaged. The quoted fire equipment is obviously in danger of damage in a fire. Skydiving equipment, besides some dirt and sun doesn't see much atmospheric damage and is still safe for a long time. As I understand it climbing ropes have a recommended end of life, much like parachute suspension lines.
"I encourage all awesome dangerous behavior." - Jeffro Fincher

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account. It's free!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
0