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TrickyMike

New guy here... How dangerous is this stuff?

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So, I'm about as new as they come.. 1 tandem! Does that mean I owe the whole internet beer or something? (Don't answer that) Seems like someone always owes SOMEBODY beer! :D

Anyway, as I was riding up in the Otter it became clear pretty much immediately that I wasn't going to be happy with just crossing this off of the "bucket list." My plan is to get through AFF in the spring. In the meantime I can't stop thinking about it, lurking on the forums, stopping into the local DZ to watch, reading the USPA SIM (and actually understanding some of it), asking tons of questions, doing my best to filter out the BS, trying to figure out all of your acronyms, etc.

I have so much to learn.

So, my question is this, and I KNOW this is potentially a giant can of worms (apologies in advance for any shitshow this creates), but I feel like I have to ask anyway....

For those of you who have been doing this a long time, how have your thoughts about how dangerous skydiving is changed over time, with experience, more jumps, etc? Would anyone care to offer some insight on how your perception of the dangers may have changed over the years? Is there anything you look back on now and think, MAN, I wish I knew this back when I started out.

I can read the statistics, but they just don't do it for me. I can read the statistics for motorcycles too, but they paint a pretty grim picture that I haven't found to be entirely accurate over the years. Of course, motorcycles ARE in fact dangerous as is skydiving. The difference for me is that I know a lot about motorcycles, the inherent risks and how to mitigate them where as with skydiving I know precisely jack. shit.

Thanks in advance from the new guy.

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...I can read the statistics, but they just don't do it for me. I can read the statistics for motorcycles too, but they paint a pretty grim picture that I haven't found to be entirely accurate over the years. Of course, motorcycles ARE in fact dangerous as is skydiving. The difference for me is that I know a lot about motorcycles, the inherent risks and how to mitigate them where as with skydiving I know precisely jack. shit.

Thanks in advance from the new guy.



Bolding mine.
And that's it in a nutshell. Learn what the risks are, learn how to behave in a way that they are less likely to bite you.

On a bike you wear proper gear, ride within your own limits and the limits of the road you are on, and keep your head on a swivel because you know the idiots in the cars won't see you.

When jumping, don't downsize too fast, jump with an AAD, keep your head on a swivel in the landing pattern and make sure you jump at a DZ where they have a good safe pattern and enforce the rules.

Those simple steps will take you out of the majority of the statistics categories.
"There are NO situations which do not call for a French Maid outfit." Lucky McSwervy

"~ya don't GET old by being weak & stupid!" - Airtwardo

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Motorcycles are more dangerous, especially if you're a daily rider like I was.

You have a 2% chance of dying in a motor vehicle accident every time you get on the road.
You have a 0.006% chance of dying in a skydiving accident.

These numbers are based upon the number of licensed drivers in the US vs Fatalities and the licensed skydivers in the world vs fatalities.

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Motorcycles are more dangerous, especially if you're a daily rider like I was.

You have a 2% chance of dying in a motor vehicle accident every time you get on the road.
You have a 0.006% chance of dying in a skydiving accident.

These numbers are based upon the number of licensed drivers in the US vs Fatalities and the licensed skydivers in the world vs fatalities.



I don't think those numbers are entirely accurate.

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The difference for me is that I know a lot about motorcycles, the inherent risks and how to mitigate them where as with skydiving I know precisely jack. shit.



Sounds like you are doing a lot of good things to prepare. Taking the first jump course, know your malfunctions and emergency procedures like your life depended on it (it does) and asking questions to those things you do not understand, making sure your equipment is properly maintained, not getting complacent, be conservative in your choices of canopy size/style, and not trying to do everything "cool" in skydiving as soon as you can are all ways to mitigate the risk.

That being said. "You are never good enough not to die in skydiving". You'll hear that phrase and hopefully not see it in person, but odds are you will unfortunetely. Injuries and death do not discriminate in this sport, student to experienced can both be affected equally.

Skydiving is dangerous, period. We trade that risk for the enjoyment and freedom we feel when we are up there.

If you can deal with that, WELCOME!
We're not fucking flying airplanes are we, no we're flying a glorified kite with no power and it should be flown like one! - Stratostar

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What he said. And understanding each of the things about skydiving that he mentioned, and why they matter, and what they refer to, is the first step.

Wendy P.
There is nothing more dangerous than breaking a basic safety rule and getting away with it. It removes fear of the consequences and builds false confidence. (tbrown)

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"For those searching for something more than just the norm. We lay it all down, including what others call sanity, for just a few moments on waves larger than life. We do this because we know there is still something greater than all of us. Something that inspires us spiritually. We start going downhill, when we stop taking risks." – Laird Hamilton

Something to chew on.
"When you reach your Limits, kick him in the junk and kiss his girlfriend named Fear!"

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Motorcycles are more dangerous, especially if you're a daily rider like I was.

You have a 2% chance of dying in a motor vehicle accident every time you get on the road.
You have a 0.006% chance of dying in a skydiving accident.

These numbers are based upon the number of licensed drivers in the US vs Fatalities and the licensed skydivers in the world vs fatalities.



Where did you get those figures?

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Motorcycles are more dangerous, especially if you're a daily rider like I was.

You have a 2% chance of dying in a motor vehicle accident every time you get on the road.
You have a 0.006% chance of dying in a skydiving accident.

These numbers are based upon the number of licensed drivers in the US vs Fatalities and the licensed skydivers in the world vs fatalities.



Completely out of wack. Check your numbers.
Remster

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Don't obsess about the numbers because, as someone once said, "If you torture numbers long enough they'll confess to anything."

The longer I am in this sport, the more hyper-aware I become of all the ways I could die (or become seriously injured) doing it. In many many ways that's made me a better skydiver, and it's made me a skydiver who makes different choices (often more conservative ones). It means I'm more likely to land farther away from the packing area if it means I have more open space to land in. It means that I am likely to say "no" to a jump if I look at the size/skill level on the jump and think "This is likely to be a shit show." It means I'm likely to sit down when winds start to get wonky. Those are just some examples, but you get the idea.

I don't know about others, but I constantly reassess the risk/reward equation. For now, it still pencils out for me. At some point, it might not pencil out, either because of an increase (either real or perceived) in the risk, or a decrease in the reward.
"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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Don't obsess about the numbers because, as someone once said, "If you torture numbers long enough they'll confess to anything."

The longer I am in this sport, the more hyper-aware I become of all the ways I could die (or become seriously injured) doing it. In many many ways that's made me a better skydiver, and it's made me a skydiver who makes different choices (often more conservative ones). It means I'm more likely to land farther away from the packing area if it means I have more open space to land in. It means that I am likely to say "no" to a jump if I look at the size/skill level on the jump and think "This is likely to be a shit show." It means I'm likely to sit down when winds start to get wonky. Those are just some examples, but you get the idea.

I don't know about others, but I constantly reassess the risk/reward equation. For now, it still pencils out for me. At some point, it might not pencil out, either because of an increase (either real or perceived) in the risk, or a decrease in the reward.




That's exactly what my post was after, thanks for the reply.

I don't really bother with the statistics too much and I try to temper what I read on forums. If I were to believe what I read about motorcycles, be it in the news, on forums or in statistics I'd have a pretty inaccurate picture in my head. I can only assume with skydiving, but I imagine at least some of the same risk perception inaccuracies are in play... from both sides of the fence.

Again, this isn't an attempt to discout the risks involved. In both cases they're very real.

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You have a 2% chance of dying in a motor vehicle accident every time you get on the road.

I've ridden on the road at least 50 times. Shouldn't I be dead?

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You have a 0.006% chance of dying in a skydiving accident.

It that's per jump, then in 200 jumps a year, I have a 1.2% chance of dying, right? That, BTW, is about 10 times higher than my estimate. YMMV.

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For those of you who have been doing this a long time, how have your thoughts about how dangerous skydiving is changed over time, with experience, more jumps, etc? Would anyone care to offer some insight on how your perception of the dangers may have changed over the years? Is there anything you look back on now and think, MAN, I wish I knew this back when I started out.


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Heck ya can go 'almost' your whole Skydiving career without getting killed! ;)


I started jumping at the ripe ole age of 18...that's 38 years ago. I've been hurt a few times but never injured.

As has already been pointed out, minimising the risk is a key factor.

You're doing the right thing ~ learning as much as you can, asking questions, observing...B|

The two things that will get ya to room temperature quick, are complacency & the OTHER guy. . .you always need to be on the look-out for both.

You asked how ones perspective may have changed over time...

I started back when the gear was ratty, the aircraft even worse and there was really only one rule ~Don't do nuthin' stoopid' Other than that ya were a lot more on your own back than compared to now.

Young & bulletproof I did a lot of really 'stoopid' things in retrospect...When I started losing friends who were doing a lotta the same shit I was, it made it real.

Made me reevaluate the risk/reward thing pretty hard.

I became VERY conservative & methodical in my approach...If I have any advice to offer it would be to keep that mind-set foremost ~ but also understand you may still get bitten.

As said above ~ You'll NEVER be too good not to die in this sport.

Some of the BEST the sport has ever seen are gone, 1/4 inch...1/4 second...sometimes that's the difference between makin' your mark in the world figuratively ....or literally ;)











~ If you choke a Smurf, what color does it turn? ~

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You have a 2% chance of dying in a motor vehicle accident every time you get on the road.
You have a 0.006% chance of dying in a skydiving accident.



There are about 30k USPA members in the US. About 30 people die each year.

Using dissimilar numbers can not bring good results.

The "safer than driving" has been beat to death.... I think it is false, personally. But if you want to do a search it will provide my and others opinions on the topic.
"No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms." -- Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Jefferson Papers, 334

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You have a 2% chance of dying in a motor vehicle accident every time you get on the road.



I think you might want to give that one another look?

To the OP: I haven't been jumping as long as some, but I'm in year 7 and looking back I don't really think there's anything I wish I'd known earlier - other than not to buy a brand new complete rig first up B|

But as for the risks... they're pretty well understood and well described, even to new people. Keep your eyes and ears open, don't write checks with your dick that your ass can't cash, and (to paraphrase the single greatest piece of advice given on this forum) "if you get two conflicting opinions from very experienced people, pick the more conservative one".

You'll be fine.
--
"I'll tell you how all skydivers are judged, . They are judged by the laws of physics." - kkeenan

"You jump out, pull the string and either live or die. What's there to be good at?

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You have a 2% chance of dying in a motor vehicle accident every time you get on the road.
You have a 0.006% chance of dying in a skydiving accident.



There are about 30k USPA members in the US. About 30 people die each year.

Using dissimilar numbers can not bring good results.

The "safer than driving" has been beat to death.... I think it is false, personally. But if you want to do a search it will provide my and others opinions on the topic.



Except not everyone that jumps is a USPA member and not every member makes only 1 jump a year.

If you want a rough idea (rough, not taking in any sort of factors other than jump #s) you just take total deaths each year, divide it by total jumps each year, and that's your chance to die per jump -- roughly.
You stop breathing for a few minutes and everyone jumps to conclusions.

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You have a 2% chance of dying in a motor vehicle accident every time you get on the road.
You have a 0.006% chance of dying in a skydiving accident.



There are about 30k USPA members in the US. About 30 people die each year.

Using dissimilar numbers can not bring good results.

The "safer than driving" has been beat to death.... I think it is false, personally. But if you want to do a search it will provide my and others opinions on the topic.



Except not everyone that jumps is a USPA member and not every member makes only 1 jump a year.

If you want a rough idea (rough, not taking in any sort of factors other than jump #s) you just take total deaths each year, divide it by total jumps each year, and that's your chance to die per jump -- roughly.



Hence the 'Using dissimilar numbers can not bring good results.'

Not everyone that rides a motorcycle has the same risk either. Frankly the actions are too dissimilar for any kind of simple comparison.

But skydiving has no breaks, once you start a skydive you go full throttle till you start stopping. When you start stopping, the brakes can malfunction and it happens enough that we train for it.
"No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms." -- Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Jefferson Papers, 334

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Don't obsess about the numbers because, as someone once said, "If you torture numbers long enough they'll confess to anything."

The longer I am in this sport, the more hyper-aware I become of all the ways I could die (or become seriously injured) doing it. In many many ways that's made me a better skydiver, and it's made me a skydiver who makes different choices (often more conservative ones). It means I'm more likely to land farther away from the packing area if it means I have more open space to land in. It means that I am likely to say "no" to a jump if I look at the size/skill level on the jump and think "This is likely to be a shit show." It means I'm likely to sit down when winds start to get wonky. Those are just some examples, but you get the idea.

I don't know about others, but I constantly reassess the risk/reward equation. For now, it still pencils out for me. At some point, it might not pencil out, either because of an increase (either real or perceived) in the risk, or a decrease in the reward.




That's exactly what my post was after, thanks for the reply.

I don't really bother with the statistics too much and I try to temper what I read on forums. If I were to believe what I read about motorcycles, be it in the news, on forums or in statistics I'd have a pretty inaccurate picture in my head. I can only assume with skydiving, but I imagine at least some of the same risk perception inaccuracies are in play... from both sides of the fence.

Again, this isn't an attempt to discout the risks involved. In both cases they're very real.



I'm new myself, but by your avatar pic, we share a common background. As a trackday rider, you'll be much better equipped mentally to learn skydiving safely. Things will slow down for you faster than most and you will relate skills and happenings in jumping to being on a bike esp. on the track. Like others have said, learn something every jump and keep learning in between visits to the DZ!

Welcome to your new addiction!
In every man's life he will be allotted one good woman and one good dog. That's all you get, so appreciate them while the time you have with them lasts.

- RiggerLee

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There's a lot of doom sayers in this sport, much like in the bike community (there's also a reasonably large contingent of motorbike riders here;))
But a lot of this sport is "perceived risk", It's not half as extreme as some would have you believe.:ph34r:
You are not now, nor will you ever be, good enough to not die in this sport (Sparky)
My Life ROCKS!
How's yours doing?

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"There is no such thing as a routine jump!"

Every single time you don a rig and fly in an airplane, be careful.



This right here ^

Each and every jump you make can and will end in a fatality unless you proactively keep that from happening ...beginning with attitude and ongoing training, attention to detail and accepted practices (BSRs), awareness in the air, right down to landing. Even then, it still could end badly. It doesn't matter how many jumps you accumulate, you have to survive each and every one (except maybe the last one.)

Most importantly, Have FUN!:)

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You have a 2% chance of dying in a motor vehicle accident every time you get on the road.



I think you might want to give that one another look?

.



Yes, I mean 2% of licensed drivers will die in a motor vehicle accident each year. That's based of the number of licensed drivers vs fatalities per year.

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Motorcycles are more dangerous, especially if you're a daily rider like I was.

You have a 2% chance of dying in a motor vehicle accident every time you get on the road.
You have a 0.006% chance of dying in a skydiving accident.



Completely out of wack. Check your numbers.

64.7 % of statistics are made up
scissors beat paper, paper beat rock, rock beat wingsuit - KarlM

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