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Cloud Clearances

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Yes, it is legal to punch clouds in Australia and the Australian model was discussed at the BOD meeting.

However, Australia has the population of California and the air traffic there is a tiny fraction of the US. I have jumped there and never saw any other aircraft in the sky near the DZ. Not really the same thing.

I would love to see the same rules here in the US but I don't think the FAA would ever approve it.
Onward and Upward!

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I thought of this thread when I watched a video of a S&TA do a jump through a solid cloud layer. There was no magic appearance of cloud between exit and freefall. It was clearly cloudy at boarding (in the video) and the plane certainly climbed through cloud.

The hypocrisy gets me, people in a position to set an example should adhere to the rules and if they think they are stupid, should support getting them changed.
Experienced jumper - someone who has made mistakes more often than I have and lived.

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European countries jump the clouds all the time I don't see why we couldn't just adopt similar methods/standards. I was recently at a dropzone where we were on a weather hold and there was a European world record holder shaking their head and saying that back home the current cloudy conditions would be perfectly acceptable to jump.

I could only imagine MOST of the DZO's would be behind/supportive of jumping through clouds as they would have more fun jumpers constantly around and able to do more loads and tandems all while making more money and making other jumpers happy.(plus tandems love bragging about falling through clouds) Just make sure the GPS is working and accurate with a seasoned jump pilot ;)
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But it's not always about the cash over cloud cover. Pulled this out of history and trivia-Bill Cole wrote it...

On August 27th 1967, Bob Karns, who was a pilot working for Ortner Aviation at Wakeman Ohio, was giving a free jump from 20,000 ft + in a B-25 WW II bomber, to some jumpers who had jumped from that aircraft at an air show, for which Karns had been paid.

There was so many jumpers showed up at Ortner Field, the plane was overloaded to the extent that the nose wheel came up off the ground.

As a result, three or four jumpers were taken from the aircraft, and the rest were to make the jump.

The plane took off and began its long climb, disappearing into 100% cloud cover . Cloud base was about 4000 ft and the tops about 6000 feet.

A local jumper who should have known better, took off a bit later in a Cessna 180, and was planning to take 35mm still photos of the jumpers as they fell towards Ortner field.

Common sense should have made him realize that the jumpers would be passing his Cessna 180 like bullets, and he would not get any usable photos, and if they were far enough away from the Cessna, they would be nothing but tiny specks in his viewfinder.

The plane reached altitude, and the pilot (Bob Karns) received confirmation that the aircraft was directly over Ortner field. The radar screen was showing a blip at that spot ( actually it was the Cessna 180) and Karns turned and waved the jumpers out the bomb bay doors. Jimmy Simmons was first to go, and the others followed like they were tied on a long string.

There was a total of 18 jumpers, and Bob Coy (one of the survivors) told me later they had a real blast getting together and just flying....until they approached the dark clouds at 6K.

As the jumpers came through the clouds, they were faced with a rainstorm and the fact that they were 5 miles out over Lake Erie.

They opened the chutes immediately, hoping to make it closer to shore. I believe everyone had Para-Commanders, and although its a great canopy, it doesnt fly like a square...not even close.

Few made any headway, and prepared to ditch in the lake, which was 72 degrees F.

Norm Allard had two jumpsuits on because of the cold at altitude, but he managed to get them off, except for the altimeter pinning them both to his wrist. Thats how they found him.

Bill Onyska had the only piece of flotation gear, which he inflated, but the CO2 went out a small hole
that had gone unnoticed in the device...and it was useless.

BoB Coy, tried using his packed reserve as floatation, but it soon became waterlogged, and he discarded it, and then he tried to lay on his helmet which had styrofoam inside. That probably saved his life.

A search was quickly started, and over the next 5 days, they collected all the bodies from the lake.

A boat had been brought alongside a jumper named Johnson, and the boat then drove off leaving him in the lake. It is possible the guy was a smuggler or out for a cruise with someone elses wife and didnt want to get involved. A second boat rescued Johnson.

Para Commanders were floating on the lake...with no one in the harness, or near them. Several were cut to pieces by boat propellers and founds later.

My best friend, Joe Malarik was the last to be found. Oddly enough, Joe had been in a bar the night before with his girldfriend Barb and another guy, and he said that when he died, he would prefer to drown. He did so the very next day.

When Joe was a young boy, he drowned in a swimming pool, but was revived. He thought it would be the best way to go.

The B-25 aircraft, made another circuit, and again was told by Oberlin Tower that it was directly over Ortner Field, and Larry Hartman and Al Olmstead jumped, wearinmg oxygen masks and bottles.

The Cessna hand landed by this time, and the B-25 was in fact, over the target area.

Hartman noticed through a small hole in the clouds, one of the airport runways, and he pointed to it for Olmstead. They tracked over, and landed on the airport.

By this time, the accident was known, and everyone got involved in the search.

Dale Gates of the Parkman DZ, flew his Cessna a few feet above the choppy waves of the lake, trying to spot survivors, but none were seen.

In all 16 jumpers died that day.

The following Sunday while at the DZ in Parkman, I was asked to take photos of a young lad in freefall after he would make one more good jump alone. I agreed, and when the young lad jumped ( Paul Camelford) he went right into the ground.

He had concentrated on holding his heading so much, he never attempted to get his main out.

That made 17 dead over the two weekends.

Even now when I think about it, I get quite upset inside.


Two weekends before the B-25 flight, I had been filming many of these guys at Parkman, and I later gave copies of the 16mm film to their families.

They told me it was like having their son back again.....even if only on film.

One thing that came out of this, was I conducted tests that showed a canopy (especially one of 0 porosity) can have a portion of it inflated by scooping air inside it, and it will act like a large beach ball in an emergency, and keep a person afloat for quite awhile. It may be necessary to inflate a portion of the canopy several times before one is rescued...but when you have nothing else, that may be your only hope.

Keep that in mind.

Bill Cole D-41 Canada



PLEASE STAY SAFE !!!

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Yup, I have heard about that tragic story before. There are however a few things though that I would like to point out.

1) 1967....the technology and safety has come a long long way. Skydiving has become ever more safe and controllable.

2) Again its 1967 and they were jumping Para-Commanders (which is a round canopy for those that don't know) Unlike today's modern parachute you can cover miles depending what direction the wind is coming from and where you are aiming towards even just from 4,000 ft!

3) Only 1 out of the many had an actual flotation device which is another reason why so many of those people died. While in today's standards if people are jumping near large bodies of water flotation devices are required as they should be.

4) People have/jump with cell phones nowadays and could make a phone call for help while still under canopy if need be. Some phones are even built rugged and can be called despite being wet! There is also SPOT a GPS device that if activated a search and rescue helicopter/car will come looking for your gps coordinates (not sure if anyone actually jumps with one or not) but just accentuating the technological safety improvement.

5) Water training is standard in order to progress to a higher level license nowadays. Not too sure if it was mandatory back in 1967

My point being, we have come along ways with a plethora amount of knowledge regarding safety and a deeper understanding of our canopies and advanced body positions and flying techniques (wind tunnels). I don't see how we can't safely implement the jumping through clouds ordeal. Europeans manage to do it so why can't we? Perhaps it could even be DZ to DZ allowed to do so depending upon air traffic, location and outs? Or perhaps making jumping through clouds B or C license and above only just like beach landings.
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....the technology... jumping Para-Commanders... People have/jump with cell phones nowadays... Europeans manage to do it so why can't we?



about 6 months ago we were dropped from 9000ft. Cloud base was around 4000ft and cloud top was above our exit level. We were within the cloud during the exit. I was under the canopy @ around 3000ft. Upon opening I realized we were dropped some 3km (1.8mi) far from the desired exit point. Since there was almost no wind even with fast sqare chutes we were not able to get back (not a one of 8 ppl). Non of us jumped with a mobile phone. Fortunately a huge area around our DZ is one BIG landing zone :)

We have very good pilots & ground crew and very good equipment (including GPS) and we are very well trained but s* can happend no matter what and jumping through cloud cover remains a risk.

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We have very good pilots & ground crew and very good equipment (including GPS) and we are very well trained but s* can happend no matter what and jumping through cloud cover remains a risk.


Dude 2 miles off would indicate, BAD GPS use and Lemming exits, neither indicate good training from either the jumpers or the pilot:S
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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We have very good pilots & ground crew and very good equipment (including GPS) and we are very well trained but s* can happend no matter what and jumping through cloud cover remains a risk.


Dude 2 miles off would indicate, BAD GPS use and Lemming exits, neither indicate good training from either the jumpers or the pilot:S



Dude, I jumped because I know that even a 10Km off landing would provide a fare landing area. Weather conditions overhere are so bad that we have regulary to wait weeks to get a chance to jump even through the clouds. That's the skydiving overhere.

I won't comment on GPS thing since I don't know what exactly went wrong. Since this kind of things are done regularly (jumping through/from the clouds) one time it can and will go wrong...simply because nothing beats a physical DZ view and spotting.

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European countries jump the clouds all the time I don't see why we couldn't just adopt similar methods/standards. I was recently at a dropzone where we were on a weather hold and there was a European world record holder shaking their head and saying that back home the current cloudy conditions would be perfectly acceptable to jump.

I could only imagine MOST of the DZO's would be behind/supportive of jumping through clouds as they would have more fun jumpers constantly around and able to do more loads and tandems all while making more money and making other jumpers happy.(plus tandems love bragging about falling through clouds) Just make sure the GPS is working and accurate with a seasoned jump pilot ;)



It's not just the technology to spot the jumpers through clouds that's the issue; that is no issue at all, really.

In the USA we have busy airspace near all population centers where DZs are likely to be located, and an air traffic control system that is simply not set up to provide the necessary IFR separation from entitities falling straight down and not equipped with transponders.
...

The only sure way to survive a canopy collision is not to have one.

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European countries jump the clouds all the time I don't see why we couldn't just adopt similar methods/standards.



As far as I know, cloud clearance regulations are no more relaxed in Europe (at least, in the UK) than they are in the States. It's just that European DZs tend to bend those regulations further and more often. So you need to ask yourself whether it's the rules you're looking to change, or people's attitude towards them.

Trying to change the regs can force the powers that be to acknowledge what people are actually doing (regularly busting clouds), and maybe even clamp down as a result - hence having a negative effect. Note that by 'negative' in this context I mean counter to your intention. I'm not advocating jumping through cloud.

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In the USA we have busy airspace near all population centers where DZs are likely to be located, and an air traffic control system that is simply not set up to provide the necessary IFR separation from entitities falling straight down and not equipped with transponders.



Ding, ding, ding ... we have a winner.
"That looks dangerous." Leopold Stotch

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There is also considerably more GA in the US than Europe. What Europe may or may not do isn't really applicable.

And before anyone suggests the FAA adopt European style regulations, keep in mind that European aviation regulations have all but killed GA over there.

- Dan G

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There is also considerably more GA in the US than Europe. What Europe may or may not do isn't really applicable.

And before anyone suggests the FAA adopt European style regulations, keep in mind that European aviation regulations have all but killed GA over there.



Indeed. This is definitely an area in which the USA does NOT need to copy Europe.
...

The only sure way to survive a canopy collision is not to have one.

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>I don't see how we can't safely implement the jumping through clouds ordeal.

We certainly can't do it as safely as we do jumps without clouds.

At some places/DZ's it may be safe _enough_ depending on outs, air traffic, terrain, typical weather etc but you'd want to approve that on a case by case basis.

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As far as I know, cloud clearance regulations are no more relaxed in Europe (at least, in the UK) than they are in the States. It's just that European DZs tend to bend those regulations further and more often. So you need to ask yourself whether it's the rules you're looking to change, or people's attitude towards them.


This is so true.

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In the USA we have busy airspace near all population centers where DZs are likely to be located, and an air traffic control system that is simply not set up to provide the necessary IFR separation from entitities falling straight down and not equipped with transponders.



Ding, ding, ding ... we have a winner.



which is why at the end I said "Perhaps it could even be DZ to DZ allowed to do so depending upon air traffic, location and outs?" Aka a case by case basis

@Skyper...what country would that be if you don't mind saying
For info regarding lift ticket prices all around the world check out
http://www.jumpticketprices.com/dropzones.asp

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As far as I know, cloud clearance regulations are no more relaxed in Europe (at least, in the UK) than they are in the States. It's just that European DZs tend to bend those regulations further and more often. So you need to ask yourself whether it's the rules you're looking to change, or people's attitude towards them.



I don't know what the regulations are in states, but in Finland if,

- the airspace class is not G or G+
- all the jumpers are licensed jumpers
- the airspace is controlled by an ATC
- and the plane is equipped with GPS or equivalent satellite navigation system intended for aviation use

then you can jump through clouds.

Attached is a picture of what is acceptable to jump in Finland by regulations if the jumper chooses to do so.
Your rights end where my feelings begin.

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