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hjumper33

Incident at MOAB

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I was one a two way with another jumper on friday, both of us were wearing S-birds, mine a demo, his was his own suit with quite a few skydives and base jumps on it. At around 11k, the other jumper was burbled and went into a flat spin on his back. For those of you who dont believe in the flat spin, I will post a link to video soon. The jumper spun at approximately 2-3 rotations per second for 5k feet. The G forces were so strong and the pressurization of the large leg wing so strong that he was unable to close the leg wing to stop the spin. He was able to unzip his arm wings, but not reach his main pilot chute. He felt he was about to lose consciousness at 6k and deployed his reserve while spinning very rapidly on his back. The reserve pilot chute deployed but remained attached the the rig for about 4 seconds until the jumper manually pulled the bridle to deploy the reserve. The jumper landing without incident, but was obviously very shaken. He had hemorrhages on the sclera of both eyes and later developed two black eyes. Its great that we can make large easy to fly suits with such strong pressurization, but this is definitely something to think about. Ive seen several flat spins and induced a few myself, and this jumper did everything right to get out of it, and simply couldnt. I thought my friend was going to die in front of my eyes.

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great example of how quickly things can f()k out on bigger suits with air locked wings. cant wait for video to flash to every single student that asks me if he is ready for a big suit after 30 flights ... ill show him that and ask him if he thinks he is ready...

well done on the guy surviving - it must have been a total life and death situation and he pulled through

~ time is ~ time was ~ times past ~

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Just got back from the Moab Boogie (good times). I was the jumper on the load with Charlie. First of all, I love my S-Bird and honestly haven't wanted to jump another suit since I received it. It has so much range in it, and it can really haul ass once you hit the sweet spot. I jumped a phantom 2 for 100+ skydives and 25+ BASE jumps before I ordered the Tonysuit and honestly thought it would be impossible to get into a flatspin ( I even tried on several occasions, but would always end up belly to earth in a good flying position). Once I received the Tonysuit, I jumped the crap out of it. I was setting all kinds of personal records for myself. My goal was to get close to 100 jumps on it before my trip to Switzerland which was a month and a half after I got the suit (which I did). I then made 30+ wingsuit BASE jumps with no incident at all, and was flying further and faster then I had before.
On a couple occasions when I was learning to fly the suit, either a bad exit or a burble had sent me into a flatspin, but I was always able to get out of them quickly. On this particular jump we did gainer exits out of the skyvan and then Charlie and I were to link up and start doing "over unders". Once we docked, we gave each other a fistpump and then he went under me a little closer than I expected and burbled the shit out of me (focker):P. I clipped my right foot on him as I fell out of the sky, and it sent me directly into a fast flatspin. I remained calm, as this has happened before, and tried my hardest to get out of it by shutting down the wings and arching hard until I saw ground. This did nothing, and I was gaining more speed on my back with my legs above me. I then balled up and tried to get out of it as I have in the past, but I just kept gaining speed and kept spinning faster and faster. I was able to get out of my armwings, but by the time I was out of them, the force on my body was so intense, I couldn't move my arms at all outside my spin to reach my pilot chute. At this time I was so dizzy and the gforce was so great that I fealt I had seconds before I was gonna pass out, so I went to my last resort and pulled my reserve on my back in the most extreme flatspin. The pilot chute remained in tow above me for several seconds, until some how I was able to reach the bridle on my side and yank on it. Reserve came out (completely spun up), but another life saved:). There's footage.

Ed, Instead of whining about people who aren't a "Wingsuit GOD" like yourself- who don't have rediculous amounts of skydives like yourself, sit back and realize that this could happen to someone-maybe even one of your students, and address the problem (I'm lucky to have pulled this off before I completely passed out).
I don't want my wingsuit changed in any way functionally, but with suits that have pressurized large leg wings that extend past the feet, realize this can happen. What about making a leg cutaway for these larger suits??? I feel that if I were able to get out of the legwing (which was causing my flatspin), I could have stopped the flatspin and corrected myself. Just a thought.
The rest of my jumps at the Boogie were awesome-such a beautiful place to jump. Had a great time hangin with everyone.

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On most newer wingsuits, both the armwing and legwing extend quite far down. This means that even with collapsed arms, a large armwing and legwing surface area is still exposed. And in an event of a backspin, this means its very dificult to counter the movement with the arms, to fly out of it.

A definate issue on suits with an armwing attachment that runs to (or even lower than) the knee like it does on the ..bird series from tony, and the stealth1/2 and ghost from PF. Not sure about the big flockingsuit from FYB (I think the armwing attachment on that one is higher up). But this is also why they are advertised as suits for more advanced/skilled flyers in general.
Some of the most experienced flyers have gotten into spins on these newer suits. No reason why anyone else should be immume to that.

  • arch/fly out of it
  • ball up
  • pull main

    This standard 3 step recovery thats taught in the FFC still works (as you also proved, be it with a reserve pull instead of main).
    Though seeing as its the legwing that initiates the propellorlike turn, cutting away the armwings can actually be counter-productive, as its taking away more surface area from the arms (the only thing that is able to counter-act what the legwing is doing). But needing arms to reach for a pilotchute and not being in that situation as Im writing this, its hard to say what Id personaly do and try when faced with a spin thats seemingly impossible to get out.

    So definately good work on that one...and though I think for most people the video will probably more of an entertainment thing than a learning experience, it is a good thing to realise it can happen to anyone. Unstable spin, flatspin. The term isnt important, and not worth the discussion. The event happening and way to recover is.

    As to the legwing having a cutaway. Could be an option, though Im not sure a huge flag on one leg would be such a great thing either in the event of an emergency. And a partial release of a cutaway in a stressed situation could potentialy do worse, and actually increase the asymetry or asymetrical movement that initiated the spin in the first place.
    JC
    FlyLikeBrick
    I'm an Athlete?
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    Hello Matt

    No one is whining, nor making the claims to be a wingsuit god. :S From a pm sent to me, I realize who you are now, glad your ok.
    You still haven't posted your skydiving experience level? And your right, this "could" happen to anyone, even one of my students. Maybe we could use you as an example of someone that "thinks" they are ready for a large wing airlocked suit, be they really were not? The problem is not the suit, but instead people that think they are ready to step up to a larger wing when they truely aren't.
    Perhaps you could add the leg cutaway to your suit and see if it really works for getting out of the spin?
    www.WestCoastWingsuits.com
    www.PrecisionSkydiving.com

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    This is an honest question Ed (I know sarcasm can be the rule here):

    How will someone know if they're ready for a bigger suit?

    From Matt's post, he had at least 125 wingsuit jumps (the count from his Phantom) before his S-Bird.

    Currently, the Phoenix-Fly website recommends 50 wingsuit flights minimum for V3 and 75 minimum for the Stealth. I haven't seen jump requirement numbers like that for Tony Suits.

    So by those recommendations for a "large wing" suit, Matt was in the clear. Other PF material recommends confidence in barrel rolls, backflying, backfly exits, "maxing out", and flocking as other pre-requisites for "up sizing". Perhaps Matt you could post whether you met that criteria as well.

    Then he had 130 more wingsuit flights on his S-Bird. So a minimum of 255 wingsuit flights before his ordeal.

    I fully realize that jump number requirements are general recommendations and some people need MORE than the the MINIMUM. If someone has a healthy margin on the recommended jumps, and can perform the other criteria (barrel rolls, etc...), what other factor would you recommend in deciding they were "ready" for a "big" suit?


    Personal anecdote with the S-Bird: My first two jumps with one had me doing a cartwheel out the door. I was first out, so it wasn't a rushed exit and two in a row had me puzzled. My initial thought was that I was doing a weak hop out the door due to my bum ankle while also trying to duck to avoid the low tail on the Beech. But after talking to a friend who had a similar experience with the T-Bird, I wonder if the arm wing on the S-Bird (or any of the '-Birds) presents a unique problem. Due to the wing's cut, you're only in control (at least until you get used to it) of part of the wing. There's the "torso wing" part (arm wing "root") which isn't directly controlled by your arms and wingtip grippers (again, until you "figure it out"). So even though I was exiting with my wings collapsed, it's possible that the "torso wing" caught air and contributed to my instability.

    Was able to figure it out on the 3rd jump and didn't have a continued problem with my exits. But thought it might be worth mentioning in the context of Matt's ordeal since those "torso wings" sometimes feel like they have a mind of their own.
    Brian Drake

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    Glad Matt decided to post as I wouldnt have named him until unless he came forward. Video was left in moab with friends and was flown back yesterday, so probably in the next couple of days. Video is pretty far off and half the spin you cant see, but the reserve pilot chute in tow is there and its in HD.

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    Charley, your camera is at my house with the video on it. A few copies of Matt's flatspin were made at the boogie. Matt's eyes looked a lot like Jeffs in the picture linked above. Virgil was convinced Matt's brain was also scrambled. Also his toes were a little black and blue. Good times. I'll look at it tonight to see if there's also video of Charley's running cliff TARD-over I heard rumors of.

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    I have pictures of his eyes but will wait to post till he gives me the ok., MATT, can I throw a couple of pics up?

    That vid is really scary in terms of the speeds that were generated. Scotty had some pics of another jumper exiting the Van and getting into a nasty but short spin with a nice recovery. Even that one was pretty fast.

    People really should be thinking about recovery on any suit.

    Scott
    "He who Hesitates Shall Inherit the Earth!"

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    First, glad to hear you're ok.

    Quote

    I then balled up and tried to get out of it as I have in the past, but I just kept gaining speed and kept spinning faster and faster. I was able to get out of my armwings, but by the time I was out of them, the force on my body was so intense



    When you balled up the first time, how long did you STAY balled up? The thing is, when you first ball up, you will actually feel an INCREASE in speed. Conservation of angular momentum. The same reason a dancer goes faster when they pull in their arms. However, this temporary increase you feel in the first second or so is completely unrelated to the forces that caused the spin in the first place. If you stay balled up for 5 seconds or more, the spin will slow down because there is nothing left to perpetuate it, and air resistance will slow it down... you will basically "coast" to a stop. What often happens is that after 1-2 seconds (which can seem like much longer in an "oh shit" moment) the person will give up and "unball"... which just starts generating the aero spin forces all over again. If you were unzipping your arms, you definitely unballed, since you can't unzip your arms from a ball position.

    I'm also curious how much tail is still exposed to the wind in one of these new large suits, while completing balled up... maybe somebody can take a photo of themself all fetal on the floor.

    I wasn't there, so my words don't mean shit, but I would be curious to see an outside video which shows you maintaining a tight balled position for 5+ seconds. :)
    EDIT: For clarification, balled up means knees touching chest. Cannonball!
    www.WingsuitPhotos.com

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    Quote

    What happens when the combination of G force and suit pressurization are so strong that you really cant ball up? Seems like a lot of people say they cant shut the legs on normal deployment, let alone while spinning rapidly.



    That's a good question... but in this case he said that he did ball up.
    www.WingsuitPhotos.com

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    Yeah, but Matt, how much did he really ball?
    I'll tell you this, I've had it easy my whole wingsuit career by flying tattered old Birdman gear. Legwing is harder than the arms but nowhere NEAR as hard to totally shut down as every Tony suit I've test flown.
    I tried out a comically oversized screaming yellow SM 1 this summer, and you know, that thing was so balloony and so rigid I'm not all that sure I could have fully shut it down in a pinch. At least not with the emergency-shutdown muscle memory response I'm currently using.

    I put some thought into this since this thread came up, and the best thing I can think of is that radical suits may require radical recovery procedures. My ballup for flying even a hypermodified S-6 is squirrel-style, knees up, arms pulled in, elbows at my sides. Only just enough ballup involved to give me instant snap control of all surfaces. The zipon sailwings I'm flying these days make this less effective, but at worst, I get a few inches of sail loose at the corners. Its nonpressurized, so if its corners aren't pulled tight, it just folds back out of the way and flutters a little. I never have to fight this suit.
    I don't think this would work all that well against a Tony suit. I'm thinking the only way I could have -truly- shut down that SM1 or any suit with similar tail construction would be a much more aggressive and comprehensive ballup than most people are likely to use... I figure two major changes in technique would cover it:
    1, lower bailout threshold. Be willing to resort to the ballup FAST, within one or two rotations.
    2, much fiercer and faster ballup. I mean aggressive. Snap knees up to chest, wrap arms around knees or ankles if you can, and squeeze your legs into the tightest fetal position you can. Probably not easy to do, but might be the only way to truly cut off a chain of events like this one.
    I'm going to have to borrow one of Justin's suits just to test the theory.
    -B
    Live and learn... or die, and teach by example.

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    Quote

    What happens when the combination of G force and suit pressurization are so strong that you really cant ball up? Seems like a lot of people say they cant shut the legs on normal deployment, let alone while spinning rapidly.



    How do you get there for the first place? Are you just observing the changing colors of blue and green?

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    I did have my zippers closed, as I prefer the solid pressurization it allows and no flapping. I personally like it zipped for BASE also, as it inflates and flys almost immediately. It definitely makes the leg harder to shut down, but sure makes it fly nice and rigid. I'm off to Puerto Rico for the week, but I'll get back to this thread in a few days.
    Scott, go ahead and post a couple pics. I definitely have been having fun freaking out all my friends.

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