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  1. PhreeZone

    Legal to work in US

    TLDR version - expensive to get someone that might only be a short term employment In order for a company to sponsor a non-citizen they have to show that there is a lack of citizens that have the correct skill set to fill the job openings. This is a long drawn out process where they have to establish the need, show that they have tried to get people for the position and that there is no one able to take the job for a certain length of time. This might mean they have to be seeking someone for 9 months and show that no one has been qualified for the position in that length of time. If they then want to sponsor someone they then have to find the person, get a work visa (lottery system with only limited numbers per year) do the paperwork, be able to get them a work permit, pay the fees and then have the person come over to work for them. Most times this involves signing longer term contracts since they have a large investment in the person at that point and the last thing they want is for that person to come over and then leave 2 months in since they don't like it anymore. Most DZ's do not hire employees but instead hire independent contractors - aka freelancers that are not on a contract and can quit/leave at any time and have a lot of other things for taxes that the DZ's do not have to cover. With all this being said a DZ might have to spend 5-10+ thousand dollars to sponsor someone to come from overseas or they can just find a local for free. With most DZ's that need staff are in a seasonal location that means they might be paying a lot of money for someone that might only last 5-7 months before the DZ shuts down for the winter and then that person decides to go somewhere warmer and then will have to get that person to return to them in the spring. If the sponsored person decides not to go back or leaves the country then its potential legal bills to sue over the situation or writing off the costs of it. It has been done for the right people - high level coaches, specialists like videographers with movie level experience and others that have skills and personal relationships with DZ's that make the investment worth it for them. When a Tandem Instructor only makes say 40k USD in a year paying out another 10K for a non resident alien to come over to get the job is usually not an investment that DZ's are willing to make unless its for someone with extraordinary skills or abilities that has the potential to recover those costs and make the DZ more money. Think of a high level coach - DZ's could make their money back and it promotes the DZ with all the teams that the coach will bring to their DZ that they would not have had otherwise. Tandem instructors and AFF instructors are just not lacking enough for the most part to show the need to the US government that they need to allow lots of nonresidents to come over to fill the need.
  2. PhreeZone

    Site Launch Gaffes

    In the old format it was at the top. The great news is that you can hide the entire catagory in the new format and not have it appear at all. Jerry - another thing that was changed since the first launch is that originally if you clicked the link it would take you to the first post of the thread even if the thread had hundreds of replies. The functionality was changed so that now if you click on the link, the link will take you to the first unread reply in the thread (no longer need the blue button to take you there) and an orange box was added to indicate which threads have unread content. If you click a thread that has no new content then it returns to the first entry since there is nothing unread to jump you to. This returns the functionality and usability of the site to a lot closer to the old workflow.
  3. PhreeZone

    Dropzone Site Launch & Bugs Megathread

    Thats correct - its going to need to crawl the site for a few weeks to learn all the new URL's and paths to the data. Think of it this way - the old forums used software that made url's in this format: and the new link to get to that same path is now If this was a book we just went from hardback to paperback, you can't say go to page 233 and the second word from the start will be "spaceballs" in both books. The content is there, it just needs to reindexed by google and with the 1 million plus pages in the old site it will take a while to rebuild that. Google also has a time peroid where it crawls a site - they do not do it in real time. This also means that it might take 2-3 weeks for a search term to appear in google off a spider of this site.
  4. PhreeZone

    New threads ?

    For now the easiest way of doing this is to mark the forum as read and then all the posts will have the blue dot (unread thread) disappear and then only if there are new posts will there be a blue dot.
  5. The majority of the cost of a canopy or wingsuit goes into two different areas - the labor and the materials. The material alone will run you $300-500 for the materials for a wingsuit and that is not getting anything exotic like rubber soles or stiffeners. The amount of labor depends on how skilled the person is and how many times have they done similar work in the past. Ask a rigger to put a simple patch on a canopy and it might be an hours work and $5 of scrap material and they charge you $50. Ask a rigger to replace a rib of a canopy and your bill might be $300 or so despite the material only cost them $50. Riggers rates tend to be about $30-50 an hour depending on the task. Average wingsuit is I am guessing 20-30 hours of time for the first couple and then you might get it down to 15-20 within 10 or so copies. At $50 an hour you are looking at $1000-1500 of labor cost and then add materials on top of it. For me to copy your existing suit would be at least $1500 to 2000 of my effort and materials. The manufacturers are making them using labor at a fraction of the cost of a rigger and can knock out a lot more of them since they know all the little secrets and order of assembly. Plus they can get you the latest designs with all the new updates.
  6. PhreeZone

    Metro Detroit Instructors?

    There is no such thing as an independent instructor - most work for a dropzone indirectly and therefor only jump when a DZ is open. Doing student jumps in the winter sucks for the student. The lack of students means that DZ's don't have work so they shut down. They may stay open a few weeks longer if the weather is good but usually at Thanksgiving everything north of the Ohio River is shut down for most meaningful student operations until March or so. You will find some still doing jumps here and there but its more of on an appointment thing only. If the two DZ's near you are not fitting your needs then you will need to go to the next DZ that works. The AFF course is long, its boring, but they are there to make sure you actually understand the book and to cover them that they actually taught you those parts so that if you screw up and die on your first jump they are covered more on the liability side that since they followed their standard procedures they are better protected. Average ground course when I taught it was 6+ hours and 80% of it was material in the SIM.
  7. I have a customer that has a Racer and uses their cardstock type card, after the opening and folding of it for the last 10 years at only 1-2 repacks per year the card is basically in 2-3 pieces along its fold seams. We extended the life of it by putting clear tape on one side over the rips but its in desperate need of a replacement. The issue is that the card contains all the work done on the container along its life so we can not just transfer the data to a new tyvek card that easy since all the signatures would need replaced. Tyvek offers the option to sew cards together if you need to carry over data for reserve repacks with the canopy from one rig to the next.
  8. I am a big fan of the Ultra Fine sharpie also. It takes a light touch not to get a lot of bleed on it but it will write on ANYTHING.
  9. He is already going to retire at the end of this term. He has a few more chances to file this still this year but the clock is running on his time alrady.0 The larger issue is if he makes a run at the Senate in 2 years.
  10. PhreeZone

    2017-18 Wings

    Nothing has really changed on them for the last few years except the introduction of the Boost. They are still in my lower 1/3rd of containers I like to pack. Racer's still hold the bottom spot after all these years and hundreds of repacks though
  11. I've got some rigs with old canopies that I pack with no issue (My personal reserve is 18 years old with 14 repacks) but I also reject some rigs due to the jumper and their gear choices. I turned down a jumper that has a MicroRaven 135-M that's loaded about 1.7ish. Canopy is in decent condition but its racking up the repacks (guessing 40-50+ since it was from the 120 day repack cycle era and had a few rides but a lost datacard) and its a horrible choice for the jumper so I don't want my name on it. Same with a Phantom 145 that I see every few years - I have got to the point where I am done packing it since its now approaching 30ish years old. The jumper could probably land it but since he's 210+ out the door and not current - its not getting packed by me anymore. Hard limit on age at 20 years? No but I fully will drop clients if they have older designs or their gear is racking up a ton of repacks and I know they are pushing the limits of what the gear is designed to do. I have a Raven II that was dropped off this week that is from April of '91 (27 years old) that I'm packing. Part of that is due to the jumper being about 130 pounds out the door so shes flying it like it was meant to be flown.
  12. There is also the possibility of "employing" instructors that were not really legal to work in the country in the first place. The instructor in the tandem fatality was from South Korea. There are some very specific rules and regulations to hiring someone if they are here on any sort of travel visa. I have never heard of anyone ever being granted a work visa / work permit specifically for skydiving here in the US, it might have happened but its going to be a pretty unusual situation since the DZ has to demonstrate a lot of need and an inability to find enough qualified talent to fill their open positions as is. I've seen a number of DZ's that hire "instructors" from overseas that are technically visiting the US on a tourist visa. That visa is technically ineligible for work of any type. Depending on what is happening this could be an issue also - if I was a contractor that had worked at Lodi for the last 5-7 years I'd be making sure my taxes had been properly filed and that I had the right to actually work at the time I was getting paid.
  13. PhreeZone

    Playing video off a defunked dvr ????

    It helps if you describe exactly what you are trying to do. I don't even know what you are wanting with how generic your question is.
  14. Are you pulling this from the Aviation Weather TAF's or other sources? The TAF's are great since they have the cloud cover and what it's going to be doing at each weather transition.. Just since the forecast with the local news station says cloudy does not mean much if the clouds are going to be at 15k all day. Same if the forecast says partially cloudy but the TAF's call out that it will be Scattered until 10 and then overcast at 2500 feet after 1PM. Info like this is a big help if you are going to look at weather as a determining factor for a trip to other DZ's
  15. PhreeZone

    Any experience with a Firebolt 180?

    The firebolt is pretty dated and is between the Stiletto and Sabre in terms of its performance. The Pilot is close to how the Firebolt flies. Not many really high performance pilots would really be that pleased with how it flies when its compared to any of the current designs out there even when you look at the non-crossbraced models. At a light loading it would be fine but if you load it up there are much better flying canopies out there.