• Content

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Feedback


Everything posted by ccq

  1. I don't know where he is or what the deal is, but I do remember the last time I saw him. Lost Prairie, about 5 years ago, did a four way with Late Jake and two others. The second point was a right hand donut, and Jake was on my right. We got there about 11,000 feet, no problem, and the next thing I know I hit line stretch and was under my main. Whoops! Why in the hell did Late Jake dump me out?? It was cold up there, but I enjoyed the view and the long canopy ride back to the DZ. I landed and found my group, and politely asked Late Jake what happened. All he said was "I don't know, we were going on to the next point and the next thing I saw was you deploying and I thought "I wonder where he's going?!?!"" All I could do was laugh. Turns out he took my pilot chute hackey as his grip rather than my leg gripper. Oops! But at least I can say I was once dumped out by Late Jake. --Q ----- Chris "Q" Quaintance D-23345
  2. Indefensible. ----- Chris "Q" Quaintance D-23345
  3. Amazon Aussie Matt BarryD9545 Bigsky Bob Moore Bolas ccq DBCOOPER and DEB Dr. Dive freeflir29 grannyinthesky Grimmie Happychick, Sky High Pendants hcsvader iluvtofly k-dubjumps Ladydyver Lastchance Lucky123 madjohn monkycndo NDfallrate NWFlyer Outlaws Pattersd rnicks Shell666 Skootz The Newlyweds (Larry and Laura) Zymurdoo & Mrs. Zymurdoo I'll be there. Duh. Probably solo again this time off for the girlfriend and I need her help if I'm gonna bring the dog!! --Q ----- Chris "Q" Quaintance D-23345
  4. Yeah, we were without power all day today at my place in Palo Alto - from 7:45am until about 6pm. It's a sad accident, although I have to question the judgment of the pilot (I'm a private pilot and instrument rated and own an airplane based at the Palo Alto airport). The weather at the time of the accident was extremely foggy - 1/4 mile visibility with a ceiling that was indefinite/100ft (depending on the report). We NEVER have fog like that that doesn't burn off, so he would have been wise to wait a couple of hours for the blue sky and 65 degree day we had or at least until the ceiling lifted a bit. However, he was IFR and legal to file and fly from all reports (there are no departure weather minimums for Part 91 operations). Doesn't mean it was a good idea, though. Strangely, he ended up crashing into the neighborhood off to the left of the departure end of 31. Every instrument clearance I've received from PAO had an immediate climbing right turn out over the Bay which is away from obstacles and terrain. My assumption is that he lost one or both engines and then clipped the power line while trying to deal with the problem while IMC - failing to maintain altitude or heading. Lots of coulda/woulda/shouldas: Should have not launched in the first place. Could have landed straight ahead or to the right in the open marshland or Bay with a much higher likelihood of a survivable landing. Should not have turned toward the populated area if he was going to try and come around for landing (you can just as easily make right traffic over the Bay for 31). Should have kept flying his IFR clearance. Maybe just had horrendous luck and had an engine failure at the exact wrong time on a low IMC day. I suspect answers may be forthcoming from the NTSB, but that will take a year to bubble up. A sad day, indeed. --Q ----- Chris "Q" Quaintance D-23345
  5. I hate to do this, but: Me, too! Be warned. --Q ----- Chris "Q" Quaintance D-23345
  6. No, I don't think it will be significant. HQ is predicting a slight decrease in both the number of new and renewing members. They are much better than I ever could be at forecasting membership. If we do go with a dues increase, I think the effect will be small on our membership numbers. That is pure conjecture, and I don't have any data to back it up. It may be useful to go back and look at each year we had a dues increase and look at the membership counts. I don't have those data in front of me, so I can't check. Last year, we have budgeted $130k in income from rating holders. A five dollar increase would raise about $30k and a 10 dollar increase would raise about $60k. I haven't the foggiest idea. I suspect there will be some contraction across the board. Interesting thought. Another one of the things we are considering is going to a semi-self insured plan, where the Organization would pick up any claims less than a certain amount. This would drastically reduce our insurance premiums, but expose us to some amount of risk depending on the number of incidents in a given year. Somewhat riskier when we have been drawing down our reserves in the last two years to cover operating losses. --Q ----- Chris "Q" Quaintance D-23345
  7. Do I think the Organization is as efficient as possible? No. But, I don't think it is as bad as you are implying. I like the idea of an across-the-board pay cut, but I'm not sure that's one of the more effective ways out of this mess. Postage is expensive and going up. What do you propose we do about it? Parachutist is currently monthly, and (in response to another post), we budgeted $600k last year for advertising income. By my math, it's a $150k loss as an entity. It has the status of a sacred cow - at my very first meeting four years ago I brought up the possibility of moving to online only publishing and that went over like a fart in church. However, I'm definitely ok with looking at cutting it to semimonthly or quarterly or only online. What is it that you think I'm doing with these posts? I'm soliciting input and gathering ammunition to fight against anything being shoved through in February without proper consideration. By my math, about $27k. The thought occurred to me that we should consider cutting back to just one meeting per year. But my guess is that it would cause more problems then it would solve in terms of BOD oversight of the staff, etc. I'd love to move to more virtual meetings, but so many of the BOD members are luddites that, again, I suspect it would be more trouble than it's worth to get everyone set up. Cheers, --Q ----- Chris "Q" Quaintance D-23345
  8. Yes, this is that Board member. I happen to believe that if people pony up the money to be lifetime members, that it should include rating renewals. Several of my constituents brought it up to me, and I brought it to the Board. The Board said no. Oh, well. Get off your high horse. I checked out a few systems myself and then reviewed and participated in the trial runs that were conducted, including the ones you organized. Your claim that I know nothing about the pitfalls of online voting is both incorrect and laughable. I made my living for many years doing online infrastructure and security at one of the world's largest websites. I'd hazard a guess that I'm far and away the most technically qualified member on the BOD to speak regarding online security. There are other downsides besides the technical challenges, of course. The impact on turnout is up for debate, and I'm willing to have a reasonable discussion. Perhaps not with you, though. I didn't say that was the only PR cost. I stated there was a line item for that in the budget that was up for renewal. And I also stated that it was potentially on the chopping block. So don't admonish me to pay attention to the budget and in the meetings. I concur that the ecommerce module is overpriced. Why is it you think I brought that number to light in public? I think it's a damned shame that the Organization spent huge money on what appears to be a pretty crappy piece of software to run the backend. Were I on the BOD when that vote came up, I'd have opposed it, too. I'm not even sure if I should dignify that with a response, but here you go. I'm disappointed, too, that there was not as much turnover as I had hoped for and anticipated. It would have been nice to see some more fresh faces like Eli and Charles. Far from throwing me under the bus, I had a bunch of great communication with the RB guys and was part of their platform. If Melissa had decided to run earlier, she might have had my slot on the RB platform and she might have won. Bully for her; and if that's what my region wanted, then I would have supported it (and probably been thankful for saving me the trouble of a third term! :). But, the results clearly show that enough people in my region thought I was the guy for the job. So be it. I'd be lying if I said I was disappointed that you missed the cut. But the people have spoken and such is life. I look forward to serving on a Board that actually spends more time getting work done serving the membership than wasting time on superfluous procedural ruts and the egos of the fragile few. I'm guardedly optimistic that things will get better after a string of pretty nasty and demoralizing Board meetings. And I hope you have the time to go and actually make some skydives and contribute to the sport in other avenues. Cheers, --Q ----- Chris "Q" Quaintance D-23345
  9. There's no need to guess that "something is about to happen" with regards to dues and fees. That agenda item is clearly listed in at least one of the public, published agendas for the upcoming BOD meeting. I, too, have been opposed to any dues increases in the past. I think this year they may be unavoidable, but we shall see. A couple of salient points, miscellaneous thoughts, and general ramblings: Last year, the USPA budgeted $200k in income from our investments, and that didn't happen due to market conditions. The actual number turned out to be an $80k loss (pretty good relatively speaking). We need to get away from relying on any investment income to be a bit more responsible. Any investment proceeds should be used for capital projects or other one time things rather than an ongoing backstop to the organization's operating expenses. So, that's $200k we have to find for 2009 right there, and we haven't even adjusted for the costs of doing business going up. What about any new programs? For example, online balloting for the next election is a pet project of mine, but I guarantee it will not be free. Fortunately, there's basically no expenditure in 2009 for the 2010 election. Let's just say we have a $300k shortfall that we need to address. What can be on the chopping block? We've already eliminated one full time position at HQ, so there's a savings of $50-75k. There's probably no more significant cuts to be had in payroll without seriously impacting services. We have a PR consultant on which we spent $60k last year that's up for renewal. Many are certain this was money well spent based on the national exposure the sport has received which has, in turn, increased I am less convinced of the true value of this. There's a proposed $70k expenditure on software to purchase the ecommerce module for the software HQ uses. This would allow true ecommerce (online renewals, etc). The system we have now only kicks a printout to the staff which is then entered by hand. It's very inefficient and costly, but we may not have the money to fix that this year? What else can we chop for significant savings? Competition and Safety & Training are each sacred cows in their own right. Would you rather the Association not support one or the other? Not a good choice! Parachutist is unlikely to go down much. We have to budget less for advertising due to the fall off in the economy, and we don't see any real costs savings by letting members opt out of the magazine unless we were to ensure a large opt out percentage or eliminate it entirely. We may see a decrease in our third party liability insurance premium, but that is currently beyond our control and in the hands of the insurance company. We can always look at reducing the exorbitant salaries paid to our pampered members of the Board of Directors. Oh, wait, that's right, that number is already zero. :) So, how can we increase revenue to cover some or all of the shortfall? Of course, there's a dues increase - that's already on the table. There's also increases in ratings and license fees. How about increasing group membership dues? Bad news is they have all renewed for 2009 already, so it would take an extra year to have any effect. Increasing ad rates in Parachutist would probably have a negative effect on our income there. Although, with Skydiving mag going under (bummer!), there's some potential upside there. So, there are more questions than answers. But this is not a simple problem and solution lies somewhere in the middle, probably with both spending cuts and revenue increases. Just some food for thought... See you in Reno, where we can hash it all out in person. Cheers, --Q ----- Chris "Q" Quaintance D-23345
  10. ................. I'm all up for the no show exit but but how big did you build it? how many on the load got in ???? If I remember correctly, it was something like a 12 way for Mad John's group and we quickly settled on a plan b: Speed Star, two back layouts required on exit! Who knows how many actually got in, but I remember it as a lot of fun with all but one or two in. --Q ----- Chris "Q" Quaintance D-23345
  11. 1998 or so, King Air at Marina, CA. Lost an engine on climbout at around 1,000ft with a full load and full fuel. We were at 600ft by the time everything was sorted out. Quoth Bill Gere, the pilot: "Sit the fuck down, shut the fuck up!" He brought it around and landed on one engine like it was cool. 2005 (I think) Lost Prairie. Sitting in the back of the Otter with Mad John and I looked at the port engine and saw a clear fluid dripping off the trailing edge of the wing. It didn't look right to Mad John, either, so we passed the word up to the pilot to warn him. Well, that word didn't make it all the way to the cockpit. About five minutes later, apparently the idiot lights started flashing and the pilot brought the airplane back towards the DZ, leveling about 8,000 or so. One pass, no show exits and all was ok. After the last jumper exited, he shut the offending engine down and landed it just fine. Larry and the gang had it fixed that night and ready for load one the next day. --Q ----- Chris "Q" Quaintance D-23345
  12. I would say that there is a lot more than luck involved in staying malfunction-free for as long as I managed. However, luck certainly played a part, because (as said before) shit does happen. And, if I had taken all of my own advice/suggestions, I would still be chop-less. I packed for myself for my first 2000 jumps. You get out what you pack in, and the only way to know what's truly coming off your back is to do it yourself. That being said, I mostly used packers for the last 1400 or so due to instructing, laziness, and various other reasons. A trusted, experienced packer is as good as you'll ever be, but they simply do not ultimately bare the responsibility for your pack job. You do. Specifically for packing, don't over think it. Run the lines, shake it out, clear the D's, lightly wrap the tail, and put it on the ground. Everything else is just window dressing. Keep the slider against the stops, make sure you have enough free stow, and you'll be just fine. Gear maintenance is huge. Stay on top of it and it will save you. Untwist your steering lines often or, better yet, don't let them get twisted in the first place. I reline my parachutes on a regular basis. I hang my rigs up and try not to beat them up and I change closing loops before they NEED it. Don't do tandems and don't jump highly loaded cross-braced parachutes. But, what would the fun be in that? I took up both of those in the same year and I was convinced I wouldn't get through the end of the year without a chop. Wrong! I managed to give up tandems batting 1.000, and any parachute that was subjected to the malfunction I had on my Velocity would have been unlandable. You pays your money and you takes your chances. Good luck, and be careful. --Q ----- Chris "Q" Quaintance D-23345
  13. It's possible that the PC had something to do with the slack risers. I don't think we'll ever know. Ah, Belize! Alas, I do not think I can make it down this year; I've got a broken girlfriend and an extremely light wallet. I'm aiming for 2010, assuming it happens. See ya at the Prairie, though. --Q ----- Chris "Q" Quaintance D-23345
  14. I do not have the mod of which you speak. After both my inspection and that of my rigger, I did have Gareth inspect the harness/container, and specifically the main closing flap. He indicated that the mod was not necessary with my rig and wouldn't have caused or helped this. --Q ----- Chris "Q" Quaintance D-23345
  15. Shhhhhh....quiet. There, there. The adults are talking. Yes, this was a packing error. Shit happens. I paid my $5, and I took my chances. Not that I'm pleased about it, mind you, but shit happens. I did have a chat with the packer about the possible causes and how he might avoid that kind of error in the future. --Q ----- Chris "Q" Quaintance D-23345
  16. It's possible. Although, the more I think about it, the less I think it was a step through/around. It wasn't a straight 360 degree flip of the container (easier to miss packing) but rather one line group around the others (much harder to miss). I'm thinking on of the risers got hung up coming out of the container or otherwise had significant slack in it during the opening sequence. This is probably what caused it to catch on the plastic buckle on my helmet and then subsequently break it off. --Q ----- Chris "Q" Quaintance D-23345
  17. Hey Gang- So, I finally had a cutaway a couple of weeks ago after 11 years and 3400 skydives. Yes, I took care of my rigger (thanks, Vic!) and have a full case of cold Lang ready to share with the DZ this weekend. On to more important matters: what happened? We have looked at all of the evidence and have some pretty good theories, but I wanted to share it as a learning exercise. I've attached six photos of the relevant pieces of equipment. Equipment specs: Main - Velocity 111, loaded at 2.2, HMA lines Harness/Container - Wings EXT, 24" risers Reserve - PD143 Helmet - Bonehead, circa 1999 My narrative on the events: a normal freefly skydive with a long spot had us breaking off and pulling high (good news). I waved and threw out the pilot chute, noticed a slight hesitation and then got stood up. I immediately knew something was wrong - it felt like I was about to go into fairly serious line twists. One half of the canopy was opening much more quickly than the other. When you jump a highly loaded cross-braced parachute, you occasionally get the "I'm about to go for a ride" opening sequence - this one was no different or more extreme. At this point, things started to deteriorate fairly rapidly. The snivel took longer than usual, maybe two extra seconds. As I looked up, I could clearly see a line group coming across my field of view from the top right to lower left - uh oh. I decided to look back at the horizon and let things sort themselves out which they did rather quickly when the slider came down. At this point, the parachute started to spin a bit, but not too aggressively. I grabbed some risers to get the thing under control and was able to stop it from taking off completely. However, a quick glance up (here's where I wish I had a photographic memory) revealed what I shall term "all badness" with line groups where they shouldn't be. It was clear I wasn't going to land this parachute and it was clear I wasn't going to fix it. I said out loud: "Ok, here we go!" and started pulling handles. In between the time I let go of my risers and had my cutaway pad peeled from the velcro (probably 1.5 seconds), the beast took off and started spinning at a rapidly accelerating pace. Chink! Normal cutaway, and with altitude in the bank, I elected to get stable via 3/4 of a backflip and had a perfect on-heading opening of my PD143. I'd estimate I threw out the pilot chute at 4,000 feet and was saddled out under my reserve at 2,700, with the sequence taking maybe 12 seconds from start to finish. I'll leave it at that. Now, look at the photos and tell me what happened with the main during the opening sequence! All in all, a very standard cutaway after a moderately unusual malfunction. I did keep my handles and get all of my gear back, but the risers and helmet are grievously wounded. Not a cheap skydive! The photos are of the right risers, FYI. Yes, it was packed by a packer, and it was only his fifth pack job for me. Yes, he is relatively new, but does have a fair amount of experience including packing other cross-braced parachutes. No, he no longer packs for me. Cheers, --Q ----- Chris "Q" Quaintance D-23345
  18. Krisanne- Let me clarify some details for you a bit, without commenting on the issue at hand. The decision to use actual ballots was made at the BOD meeting six months ago in San Francisco after a fair amount of discussion. Jan Meyer brought up at this meeting that there was some confusion about the issue and if BOD members actually understood what was changed. It was discussed in the full board plenary yesterday. There was enough confusion expressed that the N&E committee (of which I am a part) will be reconsidering this at the next meeting in July. We will discuss and make a clarification or whatever motion is required that is consonant with the decision of the BOD. John DeSantis did make a motion to allow photocopies while we were in plenary. It was not accepted by the President (Glenn) because it did not come through committee and would lead to another huge discussion of the same issue that had already been decided six months ago. Jan appealed Glenn's decision and the full BOD voted to uphold his rejection. We, as a BOD, tend to get ourselves in trouble with hastily made motions (as a committee of the whole). I think it is wise to do this one with proper consideration. Sorting through the meeting formalities, the end result is that the N&E committee will reconsider the issue and the full BOD will have it's say in July. We shall see what happens. I hope that helps a bit. Good to see you. --Q ----- Chris "Q" Quaintance D-23345
  19. Well, since they are both in effect, then you can say the strongest reg rules. The idea is to simplify and unify the structure of the ratings. USPA takes over everything it can while leaving the manufacturers with only system-specific stuff. I would like the see all of the manufacturers go to type ratings that do not expire. This still allows the manufacturer some oversight over the TI without the administrative or financial burdens. I think we are headed in that direction. Cheers, --Q ----- Chris "Q" Quaintance D-23345
  20. Hi Gang- I'm responding to an email I got from JP asking for clarification, but I figured I'd just put it straight up here. The intent of the change for tandems is to require every tandem jump to be conducted by someone who has both a USPA I and a manufacturer's type rating. We are talking about the guy on the back who is pulling handles. The language gets tricky because we have to allow for training jumps in the context of a certification course. Regardless, all protein delivery specialists will have to have both ratings if they are USPA members. This change was brought about as a result of the meeting that was held earlier this year with USPA and all of the tandem manufacturers. They want us to take over all of the instructional program with the exception of the equipment-specific stuff. This should make life easier in the long run. The change also provides immediate reciprocity in terms of suspension or revocation of ratings. Basically, if one side pulls a rating, then the jumper in question cannot do tandems (assuming said jumper is a member of USPA). One has to assume that this will be done only in cases of safety concerns rather than any other superfluous reasons. Note that some manufacturer's type ratings may not have an expiration date and thus will be considered current in perpetuity as long as the USPA I rating is maintained. The manufacturer has the choice. Does this clear things up? As a member of S&T, this is my recollection of how things stand. Cheers, --Q ----- Chris "Q" Quaintance D-23345
  21. Well, here I sit after trying to absorb another brutal blow. I still have yet to make any progress. How to begin to remember and pay tribute to larger-than-life JP? What keeps coming back to me is a text message he sent to me a couple of weeks ago. We had been talking about some pretty intense stuff going on in my life and he was being the serious, loving JP that came out on occasion. At the end of the conversation, I told him how much appreciated his friendship, love, and support. He later texted me: "Ah, Chris, you are the best friend any man could hope for in a lifetime." I know it was just a silly text message, but I kept it because it reminded me of how much he cared and how much his support meant to me. I still have it. Now, I am not quite sure what to do with it. JP, you were the kind of friend that I treasure. I am sorry you had to leave the party early. --Q ----- Chris "Q" Quaintance D-23345
  22. Thanks, everyone, for your input. Not surprisingly, there are a lot of differing opinions on what should be done and what should be done by the USPA. I will bring this up at our first BOD meeting in February. I encourage interested people to attend and/or continue to provide input either to this thread or to me personally. Be safe out there. --Q ----- Chris "Q" Quaintance D-23345
  23. Hi Folks- A brief introduction: I'm Q (the other one), newly re-elected Pacific Regional Director. I live and jump in NorCal, primarily Byron. In my last term, I served on the Safety & Training Committee as well as Finance & Budget. I assume I will be serving on at least on S&T in my upcoming term. In the wake of the two Eloy incidents from last weekend, we have all been reeling a bit. I knew Cliff and was pretty close with Tommy D. It has been a crappy week, as you may guess. As one of the many phases of grief, I have definitely had my angry moments. I'm primarily angry that these type of incidents keep happening; especially because they are happening to my friends! The main reason I wanted to be on the BOD was to attack this problem. And I'm mad that I feel we haven't made much progress. So, my question to you: What, if anything, can the USPA realistically do to help stem the tide of open-canopy fatalities? I'm not naive enough to believe there is any single solution, nor do I think the USPA can force the issue with a pile of regulations. I believe the BOD recognizes there is a problem. I certainly recognize there is. However, this a large and complex problem that is difficult to attack. The pessimistic side of me believes that it is impossible to keep people from making stupid decisions and killing themselves. Maybe there is nothing USPA itself can do. It might have to be on the grassroots level within the membership. On the optimistic side, there are a lot of smart people in the sport that care greatly about its future. There must be some actions that will help. We are all tired of burying our friends. Thoughts? --Q ----- Chris "Q" Quaintance D-23345
  24. I've not spoken up for several days hoping to make sense of the weekend's events. I'll still haven't accepted that Tom is gone and don't know how long it will take. I can't seem to convince myself. Tommy...what can I say? The mumbling charmer. From the Byron Boogie to LP to Bon Gustos and back, we have had many adventures. But mostly, it's seeing him every weekend for the past however-many-years. Sure, he wasn't the most punctual video guy, but it was part of that charm thing. Showing up at the crack of 11, but there nonetheless. The memories are too myriad to even begin recounting, so I will not even try right now. Needless to say, I'll miss him terribly. We all will. Sorry about all the Byron Love in the airplane, Tom. You never made good on your threats of nausea, but the shades of green on your face were always impressive. Peace. --Q PS: The canonical version: So these two muffins are sitting in an oven. The first muffin looks over to the second muffin and says "Boy, it's getting hot in here!" The second one looks back to the first and says: "Holy shit, a talking muffin!" ----- Chris "Q" Quaintance D-23345
  25. I'm happy to offer the insight I have. I will tell you that there is reluctance on the part of some Board members to get involved in these forums as things tend to turn nasty and argumentative which is very unproductive. Other Board members simply do not spend that much time online. That is correct. I was elected through the write-in process. There were no other candidates for my region and the incumbent failed to properly submit his intentions to run for re-election. The details of the election process can be found in section 3 of the Governance Manual, which is on the USPA site. Basically, to qualify for the ballot, you must either be an incumbent or get 10% of your region's members to sign your petition. Then, you pay $50 and submit a bio (which gets printed in Parachutist) and you get printed on the ballot. National Director candidates do not need those signatures. Write-in candidates need to do nothing but get an adequate number of votes. For obvious reasons, it is difficult to mount a write-in campaign versus another candidate who is listed on the ballot. Amen to that! Excellent! See ya there. Cheers, --Q ----- Chris "Q" Quaintance D-23345