towerrat

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Gear

  • Main Canopy Size
    96
  • Reserve Canopy Size
    126

Jump Profile

  • Home DZ
    Z-hills
  • License
    D
  • License Number
    28189
  • Licensing Organization
    USPA
  • Number of Jumps
    6000
  • Years in Sport
    13
  • First Choice Discipline
    Swooping
  • First Choice Discipline Jump Total
    2000
  • Second Choice Discipline
    Formation Skydiving
  • Second Choice Discipline Jump Total
    1200

Ratings and Rigging

  • AFF
    Instructor
  • Tandem
    Instructor
  • USPA Coach
    Yes
  • Pro Rating
    Yes

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  1. towerrat

    Is this canopy okay to jump?

    it depends on the location.Go have it looked at Play stupid games, win stupid prizes!
  2. towerrat

    "Like" button?

    Sorry, it's been a while since I've been on this site. Can someone remind me where I may find the "like" button? I've found several posts that I'd like to "like", but alas, I can't seem to find the button. Help please? Play stupid games, win stupid prizes!
  3. towerrat

    Who is the black sheep in your family?

    I'm the black sheep on both "sides" of my family. My father's side has never understood me. I've always been strong willed (read wild) with no regard to what others think. It's more important for me to live my life as I will than to go to school, get a job and conform. That said, the other side (maternal) tend to be put out as I really want nothing to do with them. Thieves and liars the lot of them, and mostly jealous that I do whatever the fuck I want and still have a great life. I have limited contact with a select few on both sides, but mostly not. Play stupid games, win stupid prizes!
  4. towerrat

    Mark Curto

    Blue skies Mark. The DZ isn't the same without you. Play stupid games, win stupid prizes!
  5. towerrat

    Tipping

    If your instructor was professional, courteous and made you feel comfortable then by all means tip away. However, if not, then no. As a general rule, most of my tips seem to be $20. There is no set standard and we appreciate all tips. I have been tipped as much as $100 and as little as the few singles in the bottom of the guy's pocket. No matter what the amount I consider it a "thank you and job well done", and I'm grateful for it. The point is: if you like the guy, throw him a twenty. If he is a pompous douche (skydivers can be that way) then skip it. He is getting paid for his time regardless, you're just covering his bar tab later. Play stupid games, win stupid prizes!
  6. towerrat

    Hooking up for take off. Good idea? Bad idea?

    Maybe where you're jumping people think differently. I used to ask every student if they wanted to pull the ripcord and open the parachute. The vast majority would say, "absolutely not". In 4,000 or so tandems very few have expressed any real desire to learn. They all want the instant gratification ride to mark it off the list. Out of those who expressed a desire I've had very few that were aware enough during the skydive to actually be altitude aware and open a parachute. You see, it isn't A.F.F. I generally have five to ten minutes to brief passengers before we go jump. In that briefing I need to cover a whole lot of things, but the reality is that these people are mostly looking for a great time and a great video. By no means am I saying that safety should go by the wayside. I am saying that I have to prioritize and my priorities are as follow: 1) My safety- I know this may sound odd to some of you, and you're probably screaming that passenger safety should be foremost. False. If I'm incapacitated in some way how can I take care of my student? 2) Passenger safety- This is obvious, but I see a lot of guys making poor decisions. I've been guilty myself. 3) Video- customers pay a lot of money for a great video and/or stills package. It's my job to make you look good no matter how badly you're fighting against it. 4) Fun- Fuck yeah! It's supposed to be fun! Isn't this why we're all here? My first jump was a blast. I still remember it today like it was yesterday. My instructor was cool, fairly laid back and didn't lay a bunch of crap on me. I just wanted to make one jump, a carnival ride if you will. 5)Instruction- It's hard for me to put this at the bottom, and I'm very aware of the stats on returning jumpers on certain DZ's regarding first time tandem training. However, if the other four things aren't in place then I simply can't be an effective instructor. I want people to have a great time and be aware that skydiving is something that the vast majority of us can do. Hell, I have at least one personal friend that I help carry to the airplane because he can't push his chair through the grass ;-). However, at least for where I jump, it's a bit of a carnival ride. That isn't the DZ. The owner is very good about pushing the training, and even comes outside and does a lot of the student training himself. It just seems like the vast majority of the passengers couldn't care less. They want the ride and that's it. To be honest, I'm cool with that. Play stupid games, win stupid prizes!
  7. towerrat

    Hooking up for take off. Good idea? Bad idea?

    I'm sure I can find an example to support the opposite opinion. I can also find opinions justifying removing RSLs, jumping without an A.A.D, and a host of other things. My point in making the above post wasn't to dissuade teaching students but to get everyone thinking about the repercussions of the things we do in skydiving. The F.A.Rs require you to provide a ripcord for the student and brief them on it, as do most drop zones. One can never tell what a student is going to do in free fall. The stress affects people in wildly different ways, and it's very hard to cover all the bases in a "one size fits all" briefing. Play stupid games, win stupid prizes!
  8. towerrat

    Hooking up for take off. Good idea? Bad idea?

    Since I've also done a tandem or two I'll throw in my two cents: First and foremost, everyone has their own seat belts. I run the loose end through the students harness, make them aware of it and SHOW them how to unbuckle it. I also tell them that I'm wearing the same type of seat belt and ask them if they'll please take me with them if I can't escape myself ( I smile and make light, but I'm serious), and I will do the same for them. As far as briefing students about handles (this is for you Mark)? I avoid it if I can and my reasoning is this: Firstly, less is more. I find if I don't hammer the students with a 20 minute dissertation on the nuances of skydiving they tend to be more relaxed and do much better. I make them aware that skydiving is dangerous and then move on. The reality is that a student pulling on handles that they don't understand scares me far more than a whole lot of other scenarios I can think of. Examples: 1)I brief my student (as I've heard some people do) that if we're not having a conversation by 4,000 to pull the ripcord. I'm unconscious under my drogue. What are the odds that a student recognizes that there is a problem and pulls the ripcord at an appropriate altitude? Slim. A more likely scenario is the he either doesn't recognize there's a problem in which case my Cypres fires or he recognizes there's a problem well beyond 4,000 feet (or at reserve fire) pulls the ripcord and we now have two out and an unconscious pilot. 2) I'm unconscious under no drogue. Student pulls the ripcord, making no difference whatsoever. 3) I'm having some other issue at pull time. Student recognizes his altitude and tries to "help". I now have a squirming, scared student clawing at my gear. No thanks. I typically train students that they should be able to see their hands when they're in the "box" position, which is the position they should be in from exit (or "tap" on the shoulders) until the canopy is open and I tell them to let their hands to their sides. The reality is that a student is very unlikely to improve an emergency situation, and may very well make it much, much worse. I want my students to feel relaxed. If they ask about pulling the ripcord, I'm ok with that, but the reality is that very few people want to. They want to go for a ride, have some fun, do some "flips and shit" then go home and tell their friends they're a skydiver. Take it for what it's worth. Play stupid games, win stupid prizes!
  9. towerrat

    TI's have ever been taken for a ride?

    I'm with Chuck on this one. Going for a ride isn't necessarily a sidespin. Sometimes you just get taken for a ride. I just keep calm, go about my business and pitch the drogue at the appropriate time. Anyone with any number of tandem skydives has had a less than optimal exit and drogue throw. If you haven't, you will or you'll lie about it Play stupid games, win stupid prizes!
  10. towerrat

    Hand slap tradition?

    Exactly like that Play stupid games, win stupid prizes!
  11. towerrat

    Hand slap tradition?

    A word of advice: For the most part, leave the instructors out of it. Whether or not you realize it, we are more than likely busy. I can't count the times I've been hooking up my passenger or giving my student a pre-exit once over only to have some new guy shove his hand in my face for a hand slap. The last few minutes of the airplane ride are of particular importance. I'm preparing to jump from an aircraft with a student. I'm busy. Play stupid games, win stupid prizes!
  12. towerrat

    Brand-X Gear Bag

    I have a Sunshine Factory bag I've been using for about 13 years. It's been well used but has held up phenomenally. I foresee another ten years easy. Play stupid games, win stupid prizes!
  13. towerrat

    What will make me a better Student

    Quote What will make me a better Student? 1,000 skydives Play stupid games, win stupid prizes!
  14. towerrat

    duck tape and a pillow???

    +1 Find a DZ that employs folks that know how to fly their canopies Play stupid games, win stupid prizes!
  15. towerrat

    I'm so old I saw ______ in the theater.

    Return of the Jedi ET Indiana Jones Jaws 3D Neverending Story Clash of the Titans Purple Rain Play stupid games, win stupid prizes!