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  1. Ron: Not trying to ignore your question, I just thought I had pretty much addressed it previously. I'm not saying things that have killed others can't kill me. Unexpected things can potentially kill anybody at all, even the most skilled alive. I'm just saying, I don't need constant re-doing of coach jumps just because its been a few months, that's all. I do say though that many of the mistakes that happened to the people were calling least common denominator would not happen to me. No matter how long its been since a jump, I won't suddenly forget how to do a stable arch, I won't be so confused by figuring out how to use a simple 2 button video camera that I forget gear checks, I won't get distracted filming something and loose track of where I am, I won't suddenly loose the ability to be altitude aware, or be unable to detect something is wrong if my altimeter reads 10,500 the entire jump, I won't suddenly forget how to exit the plane in proper spacing, I won't forget how to get into proper holding position and land, etc, etc, etc. People are putting words in my mouth, implying I'm some guy who feels invincible and perfect, and nothing can happen to me, but that is not the case. I'm simply saying I'm a level headed guy, who retains knowledge well, and just because I may go a little while without a jump, does not mean I need to be bumped back, or babied along by a coach, to have a safe jump. That's all.
  2. Well, I will try to wind this thread down, pretty much everything has been covered. I did learn a lot. I learned the answer to my questions is simply the obvious, everyone has to play by the rules of the least common denominator, similar to many things in life. While I may have great judgement of my abilities, and can make decisions on my own, others aren't capable, and need to be told. I learned a lot about the mentality of the long time skydiver. I was shocked at first, I totally expected everyone to agree with me, and basically say "Yeah, there's a lot of dumb rules, but if you are comfortable with your abilities, here are tips to get around them". A lot of people put words in my mouth though. Saying I think I have mad skills, or am better than everyone else, or a sky god. This is not the case at all, in fact its far from the truth. I know I am new, I know I have much to still learn, there are many who are better than me. All I'm saying is despite being a beginner, I know I am fully capable of carrying a camera, and no longer need my hand held by a coach. That's it. In fact, if there existed a test, to examine a person's brain, and actually determine a person's competence with a helmet cam, I guarantee I would pass that test. Also, I have gone over a year, and then did a solo jump. They were going to make me use a coach, but through some error or something, they ended up booking me solo. I didn't correct them because I was happy, and everything about my jump turned out fine. Just as good as if a coach was there, so I pretty much proved my point, I didn't need one. And no, it wasn't just luck, I followed all gear checks, exit procedures, stable pull at correct altitude, paid attention where I was going, followed landing pattern, etc. Its easy to assume all sorts of things about me, being a stranger, but I guarantee if you saw the level of safety I take with almost every potentially dangerous thing I do, you would think differently. I'm known for taking all the safety steps that most people skip, double checking things most don't, wearing the safety gear that most call uncomfortable, thinking ahead at the multiple possible outcomes of things, and not falling into patterns of complacency. Unfortunately since the DZ, cannot see into people's heads to see their true ability, they just have to follow the broad blanket rules. After seeing and reading so many of the unbelievably dumb things general people do, I realize why the rules are where they are. So even though it sucks I have to deal with some of them, I've come to accept them. I'm going to continue to skydive, but just going to adjust my frequency a little bit, to better fit in with what everyone expects. Rather than my ideal of jump every few months, I'll more likely just pack in little groups of jumps, spaced further apart, like each summer, so I can hopefully just do like 1 coach jump, then 2-3 solos. (Unless I start earning more money, then I'd go more).
  3. Well, I'm curious now. I'm assuming many of you have trained lots of people. What have you witnessed of the "average" person who is not current? Have you seen people who loose the ability to pull at the correct altitude? Have you witnessed people who are unable to check their exit seperation? Who loose the ability to stabilize themselves and have a stable pull? Does the "average" person actually struggle with those things? Those were some examples billvon gave, but they absolutely do not apply to me in relation to solo vs coach jump. I am well aware of altitude, there is no way I'm going to forget to pull at correct altitude, just because nobody is watching. I follow exit separation procedures, why wouldn't I? I like my space. I was able to maintain stability and have a stable pull since my very first jump ever in my life, not going to suddenly loose ability after a few months. Once when I had about 2 years off, I was quizzed on malfunctions and hand signals, and I spouted the answers off as quick, or possibly even quicker than the day I learned years ago, its fresh in my head. Not saying I have mad skills, but I still don't understand the consensus that acts like I'm just some disaster if I take a few months off, or am not babied by a coach, unless your just basing it on the fact that maybe the "average" person is. Which is why I have pretty much come to understand and accept the fact these rules I'm forced to follow, are indeed based on the least common denominator. Which is why I'm just sort of curious how bad the least common denominator is. Afterall, many average people are hardly even capable of driving a car. I've never had a wreck, even when I was young and crazy and would hit 120mph+ on pretty much a daily basis (not like this anymore, rarely even exceed the speed limit by more than 10mph tops). Other people driving the same length of time as me or less, have had 5 accidents. Some people drive their cars straight into stores, or flip them on their roofs just trying to pull into a parking spot. Are these same people up in the air with us?
  4. Well, I appreciate the input, even from those who disagree. I'm really glad at least one person can see my point (or is willing to admit it). I realize now this is a pretty hardcore jumpers forum, with most people having 1000-4000 jumps. I'd imagine if there were more casual jumpers on here with 100 or so jumps, more may agree. I still do not see how being forced to do a coach jump, vs solo jump makes me any more likely to be a "statistic". Its the same exact thing, except one has a guy next to you forcing you to to his routine, and one you can do your own routine. Still going to do a safe jump either way. Still going to do all gear checks, have a stable pull at a safe altitude, etc. It is interesting how many people in this thread have called skydiving a "high skill" sport. I do not think of skydiving as a "high skill" sport. I think of it as a "critical thinking, sharp mindedness, awareness, and smart decision making" sport. Actual skill, very little. I had a stable falling arch going within about 15 seconds of my first skydive ever. In AFF, theres 7 total minutes of freefall, and I learned all the 360's, flips, rolls, tracking with time to spare, most took about 15 seconds to learn. Compare that to something like gymnastics, which I also do. Any idea how long, and how much training it took to get into a handstand on gymnastics rings? Years and tons of conditioning, and thats a relatively basic move on the rings. Doing a standing backflip on the ground, a basic move, is waaaay more difficult than any basic skydiving move. These basic things take months/years/decades to learn, rather than mere seconds in skydiving. So as far as the basic skydiving moves, theres not much "skill" to be lost. Sure, you'll be slightly sloppier, but not to any point of a safety concern, at least not on an ordinary solo jump, where your not doing anything but basic maneuvers. Does anyone agree with this? Now what about that "oh-s" moment nobody wants to happen when you realize your canopy did not deploy correctly, and its a twisted up mess. I think when somebody is presented with this the first time, its not going to matter much if they have jumped 15 days ago, or 6 months ago. Its going to be a brand new, and scary situation, and require "critical thinking", and "ability to react in a stressful situation", rather than "skill", or "currency". Those are things that are much more programmed in one's brain, and do not change very drastically just because its been over 30 days. Also I'll add, my lack of numbers in skydiving, is not due to lack of interest, rather simply its a 100+ mile drive to the dropzone. I work full time and have lots of other responsibilities. Recently I have been very eager to go all summer, but knowing I'll be slapped with renewing USPA membership, coach jumps, and their added cost, and probably looked down upon for not being "current", etc, I haven't wanted to deal with that. If it really was a short drive and $23 jump, like for some people, I would indeed go waaay more often. Also, I do have a respect for the danger of the sport, even the very best can have something happen to them through no fault of their own, and the more you jump, the more chances it can happen. I don't find the need to rack up 5000+ jumps, If I just do maybe 250 solo jumps, spread out through my whole life, I'd be happy. Is that really such a bad thing, or looked down upon?
  5. Just to add one little thing, because I think people are misinterpreting things I said. I am by no means saying I know all there is to know after 15 jumps. I know that even after 1000 jumps there is a lot to learn. I'm just saying, being forced to do a coach jump if I go more than 30 days without jumping is not the best way to learn, and does not make the jump any "safer". Does anyone agree? I'd be better off, and learn more doing another solo jump. The coach IS a distraction. Constantly making eye contact, reading his gestures, doing what he wants, etc. Makes you distracted, and much less aware of the jump as a whole. Whereas doing solo, I'm in the zone, focussed, much more aware of everything as a whole, and learn much more. Surely people have to agree with this, right? Does nothing for safety either. I'm going to get stable and pull at a plenty high altitude whether the coach is there or not. Once I've pulled, the coach is gone, so doing a coach jump basically does nothing for safety, and is counter-productive towards my learning.
  6. Well. I appreciate all the responses. I realize I was simply overlooking the obvious. That like so many other things in life, the rules are set up for the "weakest links" aka biggest morons. Which ruins it for others who do not need such rudimentary treatment. I sort of had it in my head that skydivers in general were smarter than the general public, that the sport attracted sharper minded people, but realistically I realize now they simply are the general public. I read through the long list of small form camera incidents, and can basically sum it up like this. Practically half of them were people who could not even figure out how to use their camera or figure out if it was on, and in the confusion forgot the most basic gear checks like helmet, chest strap. If someone can't even figure out how to use the simplest of cameras, I don't think they can be a competent skydiver. Others somehow were so distracted by the camera, they seemingly lost track of where they even were in relation to the ground. The camera rule SHOULD NOT apply to me. I've been using helmet cams in a wide variety of sports since before these gopros even existed, I know exactly what I'm doing. But the rule is set up to cater to all the morons who cannot handle such a basic task. I know others have "thought" they wouldn't be influenced by the camera, but I can "guarantee" I am not. I have way too many years of videography experience, and way too many hours with a helmet cam. Same with being current. Everybody is different. Everybody keeps or looses skill at different rates. I've seen someone "current" overshoot the landing zone by like 500 feet and land on the asphalt runway, for no reason than she didn't seem to posess good distance judgement skills. There SHOULD be tolerances for the jumper to assess their own abilities, not some one size fits all rule. I guess a lot of people probably can't judge their own abilities well either. So once again, its the weakest links dragging others down. I could name tons of examples how, "currency" is not a measure of competence, but here is one. When I was learning to unicycle, I got on every day, I learned how to be decent, and could go down the street and back. Well a friend came over and said she used to perform on stage on a unicycle as a kid, she hopped on and, even after 10 years off, performed better than I did, even though she was 10 years out of currency, and I was riding every day. I bet in general there may be a lot of skydivers who are "current", simply because they have the time and money to be, yet don't have that great of critical thinking skills or physical coordination, who are not as safe or capable as others who may not be current. You all probably assume by my posts I'm some reckless guy with disregard for safety, but that is not the case at all. In all the sports I'm involved in, I actually take safety even more serious than most. I do a lot of potentially dangerous hobbies, and work a dangerous career, yet have an excellent track record for safety. I'm all about gear checks, jumper etequitte, knowing your limit, and other actual safety rules etc. Its just these dumb rules I don't like. A coach jump does not make me any more safe than a solo jump, if anything I'm less safe, with my focus going on running through his routine, gestures, etc is a distraction, rather than solo where I have much greater overall awareness of everything in the jump. Also, re-demonstrating 360 turns does not make me safer. I did 360 turns perfect the first time I ever tried, I have never not been able to do one, so there is absolutely no point to re-demonstrate them, just a waste of $100 extra dollars on top of the jump fee, and taking the fun out of the jump. Guess I just have to fit in and deal with rudimentary treatment that the few weakest links may need, causing everyone to be subjected to it. Have to do my skydives in small groups, rather than singles. Appreciate the responses, and I can assure you, you are not "feeding a troll", my questions/opinions are all legit.
  7. Well, I am shocked at the responses, that are quite overwhelmingly opposite of my opinions. I do wonder if many of you are a little biased, based on your high frequency jumps, many may not be in touch with the casual skydiver. Nevertheless, still trying to understand why so many disagree, my opinions are simply logical, don't understand how anyone could disagree so strongly. As far as the camera rule. Indeed, I had found that spot in Section 6-8 (E) 1 (C) that says a C license is "recommended". Nowhere does it say any license is required. If anyone thinks this camera rule makes sense, then why does it? I don't understand it. It would be one thing if someone was jumping with a big, bulky DSLR with bite switch, sight ring, etc which could be a distraction. But a tiny little gopro, where you can press record before even getting in the plane, and forget all about it. Why on earth would a DZ make such a big deal and require a license for that? I see wolfriverjoe agrees, but I'd expect 90% would agree. As far as skill dropping after 30 days, I still think that's ridiculous. I'm involved in around 20 skill based hobbies, and challenge/skill wise, skydiving is comparatively quite easy. I'm by no means saying I'm some pro, I'm not saying I'm as good as someone who jumps a lot, but I most definitely posses the skills for a safe jump. Shouldn't have to go back and pay extra to re-demonstrate 90 and 360 turns to a coach. Sure, someone who is elite, and involved in complex maneuvers, and challenging techniques, will loose some of their fine tuned advanced skill. But for a guy like me who just wants to do an occasional jump, and is perfectly happy with a little bit of tracking, couple barrel rolls or flips, then a stable arch before pulling, I'm not going to loose much. Those are simple skills, that do not get lost fast. Do I really stand alone on this? Doesn't anybody even partially agree the level of currency guideline is way overblown? And yes, I do ride dirt bikes / mx, don't race competitively. Sure after a long period of not riding, I'm not as good as before. Won't be hitting as big of jumps, or as gnarly of hill climbs, yet still perfectly capable of a safe ride through the woods or track. I don't need to hire a coach every time I've been off the bike for 3 months. Also, I still don't understand why current USPA membership should be mandatory. I am already insured under an umbrella policy of my homeowners insurance, and I don't want the magazine. So what is there possibly to gain? How it it not a waste of money? Nobody has really been able to explain this? As far as mentions for my own plane, it is not quite feasable at the moment, but something I'd love to do down the road. Me and my buddy are both getting ready for pilots lessons soon. As far as base jumping, I actually do want to base jump, but considering the increased danger, I really would only plan to do it maybe 5-10 times in my life and be done. Want to stick more to skydiving.
  8. Well, I am NOT a troll. This was a serious question. Let me ask this, does anybody "agree" with my point of view, that these rules I mentioned are stupid and excessive? Also, what percentage of DZ's do require USPA membership? Is it common to find ones that don't? I just think its a worthless fee for a magazine that gets tossed, and extremely limited insurance. I already have better coverage under my homeowners insurance umbrella policy. I can agree with concerns of not wanting just anybody jumping with them. However there is a huge difference between un-trained, and un-current. I am trained, I've been through AFF. Whats the big difference if my last jump was 29 days ago, or 6 months ago? My skill, and knowledge does not just suddenly drop from my head after 30 days. I just read the SIM that someone recommended, it was helpful. I didn't see anywhere where it said a b class license is needed for helmet cams, so guessing thats just a dumb rule of my DZ. And the bowling comment, that was hilarious.
  9. I am a man of many many hobbies. Skydiving is one of them. Between my other hobbies and life obligations, I just don't have the time or money to go skydiving constantly like some people do. Ideally I'm more of a once every 6 months type of guy. So far I've been about 15 times over about 5 years, and completed AFF. Anyways, I keep getting slapped with a bunch of stupid rules. Like... 1. My DZ always wants to me to subscribe to this stupid uspa membership, and get this worthless magazine. Waste of money, is this really needed? 2. My DZ does not want me to wear a gopro on my helmet. They claim I need a B license? Really? Is this a requirement, or is my DZ being lame? Its just a set it and forget it camera which does nothing to affect performance. In fact, you learn better when you can review your jump later. 3. When its been awhile since my last jump, they want me to do coach jumps. Another DZ claimed if it even goes 30 days past my last jump I need coach jumps, said some USPA requirement or something. Really? Not trying to sound cocky or anything, but even if its been 6-12 months, I know what I'm doing, I haven't forgotten anything. Whether its been 25 days, or 12 months, its no different. So what's the deal? Are these sort of rules standard all over, or are my DZ's just being lame? Are there ways to get around any of this stuff? Its spoiling the hobby for me. I just want to go for an occasional jump, and wear a gopro to film it, without dealing with a bunch of BS, extra charges, re-doing coach jumps, etc.