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About maximsc

  • Birthday 11/25/1995

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  1. Danielson is a bit farther from me than a couple other dropzones, but every time I visit, the owners, staff and jumpers are all extremely welcoming and friendly, and make sure I have someone to jump with and have a good time. Danielson has given me some of my best jumps, and has a great atmosphere and a beautiful location. Highly recommended for experienced and first-time jumpers alike.
  2. "documentation that the applicant has met all applicable requirements" is not the same as "the fact that the applicant has met all applicable requirements". In the case of wings, just the log entry of the last jump with the jump number is "documentation" that the jumps were made, but, obviously, not proof. I have said before what I think the point of the awards is and is meant to be. Since I have only been a USPA member for a bit over a year and made now 98 jumps in that time, you obviously have much more experience with the organisation and with the sport, but I defer judgment on the value of the GM program to DZOs, most of whom evidently find it valuable (for the advertising or whatever reason). I've said before that I don't see the requirement of individual membership to jump at GM DZs as a "trap". I think it could very well be conducive to the services the provide to DZs – e.g., the fact that all jumpers are licensed members (or supervised students) could very well help the USPA in some cases when they defend a dropzone before a jury. I think I've pretty much covered the reasons why I am fully willing to pay membership dues for the services they provide; you're welcome to hold a different position.
  3. Didn't stop you from defending it. And you said it was not a formal certificate.... That is pretty much exactly what it was. I said it's not "a formal certificate proving that the DZ conforms with all safety standards", something that couldn't possibly be issued without a thorough audit. That it is not. I don't know the details of this particular safety award, or of its presentation to Bill Dause (I think DanG, post # 30, addressed that adequately). But I am familiar with the principle of USPA awards in general. As you wrote in your next post, this award "is to recognize any current USPA member who ... had promoted safe skydiving in a substantive way." Bill Dause could perfectly well have promoted safety in some other (substantive) way regardless of the condition of his airplanes. Nowhere in the description of the criteria and procedure for this award (SIM section 8–1.3D) does it say that someone who failed to uphold safety standards in some area is ineligible. I'm not saying that Bill Dause was the person best suited to receive the award, but since the recipient is chosen by the local S&TA in consultation with the DZO, it doesn't seem reasonable to me to blame the USPA if someone got the award who you think should not have. 1. USPA does not have 'Expert wings'. Wrong, see SIM section 8–2B. The n–thousand jump wings are officially called precisely "Expert Wings". Yes, but the person signing the application still has no way to ensure that the jumps were made in accordance with BSRs, or even that all logged jumps were actually made. And I doubt anyone actually reads through logs of 1000 jumps, let alone any higher multiples of a thousand. The point I wanted to make is that the wings, like other USPA awards, are not a proof that any criteria have been met, but, as I said, just a nice way to recognise people's experience, and are awarded essentially on an honor system.
  4. Never said it was "free" said it was "low cost". You claim I "cut a few words" out of your post... You just flat out made up something I never said. but later in the same post you wrote "... to jump at any DZ that wants the free advertising". I'm sure you know that group membership isn't free, but you did refer to it as such and I simply wanted to point out that the cost is not insignificant for a small (single-turbine) DZ. As I and others have said, for the USPA to audit DZs would require vastly higher dues. That's not something they do, but they do other things that, in my and many others' opinions, are very valuable. I don't know the details about the safety award, but I don't see any serious problem. The award is not a formal certificate proving that the DZ conforms with all safety standards; the people determining the award recipients presumably weren't aware of the failure to maintain aircraft to the required standards, and liked something else that Lodi did well. All jumps counted toward USPA Expert Wings are required to be conducted in accordance with the BSRs; do you expect the USPA to read through every applicant's logbook and question the people they jump with to make sure they never, in their n–thousand jumps, landed a few minutes after sunset without notifying the FAA or pulled at 2400' ? Of course not; the awards are meant to just be a fun way to recognise jumpers' experience and to encourage safe practices, giving back to the sport, etc. If an award is sometimes given to someone who might not have 'deserved' it, there's no crime in that.
  5. GM program is a joke. The only thing it does is provide some low cost advertising and an illusion of safety. Ask when the last time a DZ was audited by the USPA. Ask why Lodi's owner was given a safety award the same year that his DZ was hit with a ~500K dollar fine for not doing required maintenance on his aircraft. And the USPA likes it because it MAKES you be a member of the USPA to jump at any DZ that wants the free advertising. See it ensures that people like you join the USPA. The USPA cares more about the manufacturers than the general membership and has shown that time after time. The manufacturers already have an organization in the PIA. Yes, that they care more about manufacturers than jumpers is the primary "legitimate criticism" that I referred to earlier. Group membership is not quite "free advertising", since it's $750/year for a turbine DZ, but it's also extensive legal help in case of e.g. a lawsuit from an injured tandem student, and legal/financial help from the AADF if it should be necessary. You cut out the first few words of my sentence that you quote, so I will reiterate that the following is purely a hypothetical discussion, since I think the individual benefits fully justify the cost. But if, hypothetically, there were no individual benefits and individual membership only made it possible to jump at GM DZs, I would still not complain about it: essentially, that would mean that USPA chooses to distribute the cost of group membership between DZOs and jumpers – they would get exactly the same amount of money if they made group membership cost $750 + $55 × (the average number of local jumpers per DZ) and didn't require individual membership. But group membership benefits the local jumpers too, even if only through the advertising that brings in more tandem students resulting in more loads (at smaller DZs), more money for the DZ and hence better aircraft and facilities, so I would see nothing sinister or inappropriate in this (hypothetical) pricing scheme.
  6. To quote from the thread I linked earlier: Another benefit that comes to mind is the system of licenses and ratings that gives you a measure of credibility when you go to a new DZ, so that you don't have to find other ways to prove that you know what you're doing. Even if there were no direct benefits to individual members (of which I think there are plenty), the fact that the vast majority of dropzones find group membership to be beneficial and part of that deal is that you have to be a member to jump there would be a perfectly valid and sufficient reason to pay the dues. You seem to complain that they don't provide sufficient oversight, but one of their biggest services is to keep FAA oversight to a minimum. I think most people have, for example, jumped in "slightly hazy" conditions, and there are plenty of videos that "appear to" show people jumping through clouds with easily identifiable dropzones and jumpers. I'm certainly glad the FAA doesn't shut down dropzones and revoke the pilots' licenses over this, and also that the USPA doesn't revoke the DZs' group membership and the jumpers' licenses. As for TI qualifications, I think it should be the responsibility of a DZ manager hiring a new TI to call his previous DZM and make sure he is qualified and didn't leave due to safety issues. For the USPA to directly monitor the operations of every dropzone for safety would require vastly higher membership dues (from jumpers and/or DZs), which is why this job is delegated to local S&TAs, who are responsible for ensuring safe operation at their DZ and can get a jumper's license or ratings revoked if adequate safety standards are not followed. There are legitimate criticisms of the USPA, and there is always room for improvement. Anyone who is dissatisfied and willing to make the least bit of effort about it should make these concerns heard by the membership and the board, and vote for – and encourage others to vote for – directors who would be most able to address these concerns. If necessary, you can even start a new organization, establish the same credibility before the FAA that the USPA has, arrange with the FAI to be able to issue recognised licenses and ratings, and convince dropzones to leave the USPA and join your organization instead. But I see no point in simply blaming the USPA for not doing enough for its members; you're free to not pay the dues and not jump at group member DZs if you don't think it's worth it.
  7. A recent discussion on the same topic, I don't think opinions have changed too much since then: Personally, I think they are worth it.
  8. If I see students tracking parallel to jump run and they tell me someone told them "not to track perpendicular to jump run", I'll know whom to blame :) it seems almost like you're the one who doesn't know what 'perpendicular' means. I've also never seen the word 'empress' used as a verb before, so I can't really respond to this latest insinuation. But if you meant I'm overly confident (or impressed) in my ability, I think I addressed that in the fourth paragraph two posts up ("With 50 jumps ... and canopy flight").
  9. Sorry for the delay; I've been without internet access for a few days - I think Deimian answered both questions quite adequately (post #23), but I will add a few things. I've never made a downwind landing, but I imagine it's pretty much just faster, as Deimian wrote - much like the difference between a no-wind landing and an upwind landing in significant wind. The only major difference that comes to mind is that when landing downwind, you obviously can't reduce your ground speed to less than the wind speed. In upwind / no-wind landings, in contrast, you can adjust the depth of your flare to slow to a near stop in no-wind (depending, of course, on canopy design, wing loading, etc.) but avoid being blown backward in a moderate headwind (something that will probably be discussed in a canopy course). Crosswind landings are among the requirements on the B license canopy card, so you will definitely discuss and practice those. In both downwind and crosswind landings, depending on the wind speed, your canopy and your agility, you may or may not be able to run it out, but even if you aren't, I think the risk of a serious injury is low (unless, of course, the wind is strong enough that you shouldn't have jumped in the first place). By the way, the landing priorities as I was taught are 1. Level Wing, 2. Free of Obstacles, 3. Flare (into the wind). The SIM's version doesn't even mention wind direction (section 4, cat A quiz|2=5|3=23|4=99|page=731 among other places). I've heard that Free of Obstacles used to be #1, but this was changed in response to the increase in low-turn fatalities I mentioned earlier. Regarding what is covered in a canopy course, a decent number of things were mentioned between my first post, Deimian's post and this one - you can look at the complete list of exercises required for the B license on the canopy card itself (linked on the right side here: Flight-1's 101/102 (which I took) go well beyond these requirements, as I expect other 2-day courses would too. You can also look at Flight-1's course descriptions ( but they aren't as useful as they could have been. And sorry also for starting a bit of off-topic drama in your thread...
  10. Did you ever consider how jumping with out an altimeter could kill the people jumping after you? And when you say "don't try it at home" why wouldn't you heed your own advice? I understand after 50 jumps you have the whole sport dialed, but just realize your actions can kill someone else. An altimeter, mechanical or electronic, can malfunction at any time (as we see an example of in the OP) so I think anyone who isn't comfortable with the possibility of jumping without one or of having other people sharing the sky with them without one shouldn't be jumping. I don't mean to say you or anyone else should stop jumping, but I do mean to suggest that you, and a couple others, should reconsider your attitudes toward jumping without altimeters. (If you're really scared of not having an altimeter, you can, of course, wear more than one to make the chance that they all malfunction vastly lower, but you can't expect everyone else to use multiple visual altimeters too.) The USPA pointedly requires altimeters for students but not for licensed jumpers, placing them in the same category as rigid helmets and water gear (if within 1mi of water). All of these are recommended for all jumpers (SIM section 5.3k) but I've never seen a licensed jumper wearing water gear, and there are plenty who sometimes jump without helmets. If there were reason to believe that jumping without an altimeter significantly increased the risk to other jumpers, I'm sure it would be required. I'd also like to note the next section of the SIM, 5.3j Use of Altimeters: This is exactly what I wrote in my previous post: estimate altitude by eye, then check the altimeter. Once you have "verified", using an altimeter, that your "primary [visual] altitude-recognition skills" are reliable to within 500ft (the same SIM section says to expect altimeters to be up to 500ft off), an altimeter is still helpful and can potentially make a jump safer (for the person wearing it), but is not strictly necessary. With 50 jumps, and likewise with the 88 I have now, I'm obviously a beginner and have huge amounts to learn in many aspects of the sport. However, the ability to accurately estimate altitude does not depend on overall skydiving skill or experience. I know, for a fact, that on my 15+ previous jumps, including some earlier that day, I was able to accurately estimate my altitude throughout freefall and canopy flight. Furthermore, I fail to understand how jumping without an altimeter could possibly be a non-negligible danger to anyone but myself (thanks pchapman). You must always expect other jumpers to open slightly lower or higher than you, which is precisely what horizontal separation is for. Apart from that, someone without an altimeter could fly a slightly less accurate pattern, but I've seen countless patterns much worse than a lack of altimeter could ever cause. Finally, one might react poorly to a canopy collision - e.g., cut away too low, leaving the other jumper no time to deal with a worsened entanglement - but this seems like a rather contrived scenario: it assumes a failure by the two jumpers to communicate, and, in the event of a collision in pattern, you know you're probably too low to cutaway with or without the help of an altimeter. Regarding my comment to "not try at home", this was meant as a mostly-ironic disclaimer (the irony should have been clear from the words "at home"). Yes, jumping without an altimeter can increase risk - to the jumper doing it, if he/she cannot accurately estimate altitude by eye, or when jumping in clouds or over water or something. There's a reason the SIM says not to rely on altimeters - see the comment at the top of this post about altimeter malfunctions, which is also addressed in the same section 5.3j: Sorry for continuing this off-topic discussion - I honestly had no idea I would start such a controversy, given that deliberately jumping without altimeters was quite common in the past and I'm sure my jump was very far from being a unique incident in this season either.
  11. Preface/disclaimer - I started jumping in September 2015 and have 85 jumps right now with no cutaways. Something that no one has mentioned so far is that most of the malfunction videos you see are probably with Velocities and Valkyries loaded at 2+ lbs/ft^2, which are vastly more likely to malfunction than what you jump - so the videos might make you much more nervous than you need to be. Some people would discourage watching a lot of videos, but I see nothing wrong with it - clearly, they aren't dissuading you from jumping, and a bit of nervousness that makes you pay more attention to the possibility of a mal and your plan for dealing with it will only make you a safer jumper. As others have said, it's good to learn to determine your altitude by eye. Both in freefall and in your pattern, try to estimate your altitude before checking it, and adjust your subsequent estimates accordingly. (On my 50-somethingth jump, I forgot my altimeter on the ground (don't try at home) and was first out the door on a solo - by that time, I was confident that I could jump safely without it, and was pleased after estimating my 3.5k' opening to see everyone else open around me at the same altitude a few seconds later. I flew a clear pattern and landed within 10m of target.) (Also on the subject of distance estimation - one unexpected benefit I got from skydiving is that now, when I drive in an area with dense streets and my phone says to 'turn right in .4 mi' or 'in 600 ft', I know exactly how far the turn is; before, those two would have meant almost the same thing to me. Same with an exit from a highway that's behind a curve or otherwise invisible - I can now tell much better looking at the remaining distance whether or not I'll be able to pass those four slow cars in the right lane and not have to cut between them to make the exit.) (Sorry for the long tangents.) Regarding when to cut away, there are differing opinions and only you - with the help of your instructors and other jumpers who know you and whom you trust - can decide what exactly you will chop and what you will commit to landing. How confident are you in your ability to identify a good flare at altitude? In other words, if you have a few broken lines or a small tear but the canopy is perfectly controllable and seems to flare well during your canopy check, are you confident that the flare will feel equally good when you're landing? Are you confident in your ability to land safely, if not gracefully, on rear risers if you have a broken steering line? These questions, among others, you should consider and maybe discuss with people familiar with your skills and experience, and come up with definite answers to before you have to answer them in the air. As others have said, obviously err on the side of caution; no good instructor/rigger/DZM will criticize a decision to cutaway if you say you weren't 100% comfortable with landing your parachute, though they may offer suggestions on how you might try to fix the situation before chopping if the same thing happens again. Finally, regarding low turns - try making flat (braked) turns from base to final while watching your altitude (by eye and/or with a digital altimeter) and see how little altitude you can lose in a 90-degree turn. If I should find myself flying toward power lines, I know I can safely make a 90-degree flat turn at 40 ft and then flare from half-brakes without returning to full flight, and would much rather do that than land in the power lines. Turning into the ground has lately been one of the leading causes of fatalities (which wasn't always the case), so some people may take the extreme position of "categorically no turns on final", especially with students. But landing in high-voltage power lines can be just as deadly as diving into the ground, and landing in trees or into building walls is best avoided too, so the safest way is to get as good an idea as possible of how much you can safely turn at what altitude, and be prepared to apply this knowledge. Also, a great way to improve your confidence under canopy would be to take a canopy course like Flight-1's 101 and 102, which is required for the B license but which you can do as soon as you're cleared to self-supervise. Among other things, in the course you'll discuss and practice the best technique for flaring directly out of a steep turn or dive if you should ever find yourself needing to do that, you'll practice harness turns, which can also be helpful for making small heading corrections near the ground while remaining in full flight and ready to make a full flare at any point, you'll practice full stalls with toggles and with rears, which is critical to being able to land safely on rears alone, and you'll get a much better understanding of the subtleties of how your canopy responds to various inputs and also to turbulence and other atmospheric conditions. Sorry for the length, hopefully there is something useful there...