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  1. Best wishes Rich as you move onward. Mike's inheriting a great set up you put together at Oceanside. Thanks also for your many years as a member of the F.S. in my hometown... your service is appreciated. Russ Generally, it is your choice; will your life serve as an example... or a warning?
  2. If she really wants to improve the world, she could make a Gunbarrel a resident of her mouth temporarily. Loopier than a Red Bull Air Race, this one is. Brother, I hope you uttered those words out of and abundance of frustration, coupled with being well into your cups. Regardless, the comment was way out of bounds. I am no supporter of Ms. Gibbs, and have but contempt for those who complain after moving next to an airport or racing circuit... let alone one who apparently lives so far away. Sadly, your transgression exceeds hers, at least in the realm of the things of the soul. How should we deal with our adversaries? I'm not a complete stranger to the perverse sense of satisfaction that comes from prevailing in the arena of armed conflict, and I make no apologies for such satisfaction. Perhaps that is because the opponents were worthy of the result... My very real regrets stem from my own inappropriate responses, be they too much, or too little. Yours are FAR too much. We can rejoice in the current outcome of the conflict with Ms. Gibbs, but your jibe is offensive to all but the most jaded / blinded of souls. I don't intend to insult or beat you up, but I hope you sober up and offer an apology to both Ms. Gibbs, and to the skydiving community. Russ Generally, it is your choice; will your life serve as an example... or a warning?
  3. ...why not buckle them back together? I'm probably missing something simple, but I have been asked to buckle them together when leaving, albeit for other than jump operations. Russ Generally, it is your choice; will your life serve as an example... or a warning?
  4. Actually, most helicopters (including the 206) should be approached from the side, not the front or the back, ...and then only after the pilot motions you in or a ground crew assistant leads you in. The whirling abattoir (main rotor) blade above can dip quite low to the front, and is definitely an area to avoid. A safety briefing is a must for all participants as a protection for them, and the pilots "ticket". I can guarantee the pilot will be less than pleased to have sky trash like us wandering around to either the front or the rear of his aircraft whilst the knives are rotating... Lot of other good advice given above too. Russ Generally, it is your choice; will your life serve as an example... or a warning?
  5. Like most places, weekends are busier... but there are usually plenty of loads during the week as well, especially during the summer. I usually am down there only on weekdays, and I have no trouble getting on a load. The winds are typically light and from the east early in the morning, and then steady from the west from mid morning on ...almost always great jumping conditions! You've been there before, so you already have an idea on the location and conditions. Give them a call prior to making the trip out there if you have doubts. Regards and have a great trip. Russ Generally, it is your choice; will your life serve as an example... or a warning?
  6. Since you're already doing them, you have the mechanics down... but short of an enquiry to USPA, you'll not likely get an official answer. As scottf1887 said, Tactical Air Operations (NAVY) set up for their grads to walk down the line and make the transition at the civilian DZ they share facilities with. Really comes down to the instructor signing off on the card that the "student" is qualified as per the already developed skills the card is seeking to document. Usually, the greatest need of the typical transitioning student is to understand the difference in gear and prove they can safely dock. If they have passed the demanding MFF course, they're usually ready. If you want some piece of mind without contacting USPA, you might try calling TacAir. Regards, Russ Generally, it is your choice; will your life serve as an example... or a warning?
  7. Not trying to be offensive or mean spirited, but according to the published studies of experts in the field, your colleagues are wrong...and I think I'd be inclined to put more confidence in those opinions which have been vetted for publication in the medical journals than your associates. The experts are on record as saying flap dislocation happens far easier, and more often than is commonly thought. They have repeatedly shown that the healing is almost completely confined to the very edges of the incision, and that there is only about 28% strength where it DOES heal. The above post by Sky323 references a few of the many Journal Papers documenting the problems NOT BEING made public. You are free to make all kinds of statements of opinion, as am I, but there are potential patients seeking input here (perhaps foolishly) that may be drawn into a false sense of security regarding the integrity of incision healing. I hope they don't get their information from me, and I certainly hope they don't listen to you. See above You obviously have no idea what the DoD spends on their Spec Ops and Aircrew warfighters. You obviously have no idea who pays for most eye surgeries. You appear to be prone to making statements which are not evidenced in fact...and no, I'm not immune to that either. The DoD are not about to let cheap charlie the eye surgeries be performed on the aforementioned personnel in whom they have so heavily invested. What the commanders and medical staff involved in these commands will do is ignore the pabulum being spoon fed to all who will listen by the LASIK mills cranking out patients by the thousands. Possible complications DO EXIST for both procedures, and every person should be aware of them all...that is the point of these posts. The danger of infection exists for both, but with LASIK, it exists for a much longer time frame, and current treatment regimes with PRK have reduced the incidence of both infection, and scarring or hazing to levels significantly lower. In addition, the rapid healing of the surface in PRK (a few days) means any infection which develops will be found rapidly in the first few follow-ups. Yes, by all accounts, PRK is a less comfortable option pain wise for a couple days...but MOST people describe it as mild discomfort...YMMV. LASIK can be a very effective solution for many people...but I still maintain the evidence overwhelmingly militates against it for those involved in skydiving or similar activities. Caveat emptor... Russ Generally, it is your choice; will your life serve as an example... or a warning?
  8. After you initially asked the question, I was intrigued with what advances may have occurred, and if the relative merits between LASIK and PRK had changed much since I had PRK in the late 90s...especially since there were some comments in this thread claiming that new evidence supposedly refuted the long proclaimed warning that the LASIK flap never fully heals. Whilst I did not do an exhaustive search, it didn't take long to find medical experts in the field who continue to stress that the LASIK flap does NOT completely heal, and in general is a poor choice for those involved in contact sports, or any other activity which could cause physical impingement on the flap. These are the experts who have studied this issue and have published papers on the results and made presentations at medical conferences. Many of these studies have been released in the last year or two, so are very current. I found NO REPORT that supports even adequate healing for the LASIK flap... ALL indicate that the only healing that can show any strength at all (28% of original corneal strength) occurs only at the edge of the flap, and therefore only creates a fairly weak seal around the edges. Though you may be interested to hear our experiences, your decision should not be made based on those of us giving you our anecdotal satisfaction report on the surgery we as individuals chose. I also think it would be very foolish to make a decision based on whether or not you endure a few days of post procedure discomfort (which can be mitigated by following instructions given). In spite of some claims of extreme suffering, I didn't find it that bad. I see there has been NO CHANGE in the relative merits, and should I have vision correction again, there is no question which procedure I will go with. LASIK has no benefit to warrant the additional risks, and every metric proclaims PRK with the possible exceptions of cost and the preference of the clinics pushing LASIK. They are your eyes...CHOOSE WISELY. Russ Generally, it is your choice; will your life serve as an example... or a warning?
  9. With regard to how soon... With PRK, all the significant healing is done within a few short days. There are vision concerns that take longer to present themselves, but the healing and ability for the eye to be protected from infection and incidental injury is VERY short with PRK. With LASIK, those concerns are extended considerably. I went back to high speed activities very shortly thereafter. That was many years ago, so I can't remember exactly, but I'm speaking days, not weeks. PRK is more uncomfortable for a couple days by all report, but once healed, you are good to go. Unless things have changed significantly, I would definitely choose PRK again, so at least I thought it wasn't that bad. As with the all of the opinions here, mine are next to worthless, but this is another great question for your Eye Surgeon. If you give him / her all the info about your activities, they will be able to equip YOU to make an appropriate decision. Best wishes, and Blue Skies, Russ Generally, it is your choice; will your life serve as an example... or a warning?
  10. Do you have a reference for said study showing the "flap" is actually stronger? Eye surgeons have consistently said over the years that it was not difficult to dislodge the flap long after surgery in order to do "touch-ups" if required... ***So PRK pros: They don't actually cut your eyeball open, they just burn off microscopic layers of the cornea. PRK Cons: They burn layers of skin off of your eyeball, leaving it thinner than it was before. Actually, the layer grows back within 3 days... and another "Pro" is that the surgery leaves a much thicker cornea without compromise, which allows greater chance for future work if needed. The PRK procedure for that reason can be performed on individuals with corneas deemed too thin for LASIK. Not saying this info is wrong, but I would definitely get an EXPERTs opinion on this as the healed flap issue is a very important one. Overall correction of vision is similar by most accounts, but the type of side effects differs according to what the experts say... To the OP; PLEASE DO NOT TAKE what I or anyone else says here as truth! This is way too important an issue. Yes, take what we say and use it as you said you would; to form the basis of questions for your Eye Care Professional! Everyone pushes LASIK in the clinics, and it is a GOOD choice in most circumstances. Just don't go with the flow! Ask pointed questions, and don't let them try to smooth over your concerns. Skydiving and other "high speed" activities place unusual conditions on the eye that almost no other patients they have to deal with will face. I had PRK based on MY investigation, and I do not regret it. As was mentioned, PRK has by and large been the ONLY procedure approved for Aircrew and Spec Ops personnel in the US Military, so eye care clinics near facilities with said personnel are more comfortable with PRK... AIUI, many facilities will ONLY do LASIK, so make sure that is not the reason if your provider pushes you toward it. YMMV Regards, Russ Generally, it is your choice; will your life serve as an example... or a warning?
  11. It is good that you are asking, and you have received some very sound arguments for doing a tandem first. I caution you that if you proceed in this sport, your own opinions should continue to take a very distant backseat to input from instructors! You should also be especially wary of taking opinions from those of us on the web... having said all that, your initial decision in the matter of a first jump can only be made appropriately when your own personality, and ability to respond to stress is honestly factored in! There have been thousands who have done a first jump course without a tandem, and done it well, so there is nothing inherently wrong with it. The use of tandems and vertical wind tunnels HAVE brought new and very useful tools to the sport, but that doesn't mean everyone must or should use them. The problem in an endeavor such as skydiving is that "not knowing what you don't know" can kill you...in that regard it is a little different than learning to make Belgian Waffles. I had absolutely no interest in doing a tandem, so for me it was never even a question. If you would be just as happy doing the tandem, then all the suggestions made probably dictate what you should do. Finally go to one of the Dropzones in Alberta, and get some first hand input from the people who will guide you as you learn to skydive. There are 5 DZs listed for Alberta. Two near Edmonton, two near Calgary, and one in between. You can get contact info by clicking on the "Dropzones" tab at the top of this forums web page. Whatever you decide, as one of the posts above says, very few make a jump and come away disappointed, enjoy! Russ Generally, it is your choice; will your life serve as an example... or a warning?
  12. Nicola, Krisanne (NWFlyer) gave you some excellent suggestions for DZ familiarization when you get there, and Rich (Grimmie) is right, they will take excellent care of you, as will almost any large DZ you visit (Rich should know, he has his own DZ at Oceanside). At SD San Diego, you will find a huge landing area, and like Rich's place, the most favourable winds on the West Coast. When you get there. remind them you are a new skydiver, and they will spend a little more time making sure you are well informed, and then your coach will likely cover most of that ground again with you. I was down there Friday, and chose to jump in a t shirt with no gloves...comfortably! You'll have a great time... SDSD is a big DZ with, as they say, a small DZ feel. They have a Twin Otter and a Grand Caravan available, a good mix of tandems, students, and up jumpers, so you should have plenty of opportunities to jump... have a blast! Russ Generally, it is your choice; will your life serve as an example... or a warning?
  13. I don't disagree at all with you Michael... I wasn't focusing on whether we should set brakes, position the slider, or cock the PC for a paid packer, that's why I called it a courtesy to do so. Yes, I freely admit to being stupid...sometimes I work hard at it...sometimes I've been so silly that I even tipped a packer. My intent was to address what I perceived to be actions that might be hazardous to a "young" jumper, and pointed out how he might not realize that in some places non-swoopers landing near the beer line was being inconsiderate, and that just possibly the guy that hit him failed miserably whilst trying to send a message (albeit in an inconsiderate and foolish way). I apologized to him because I was pointing out that his actions appeared inconsiderate, though perhaps not maliciously so. I had hoped, perhaps in error, that latent in my message was the idea that landing a little further out might afford him time to be more situationaly aware, whatever task he might undertake...even...leaving the LZ. Kind regards, Russ Generally, it is your choice; will your life serve as an example... or a warning?
  14. Really?... from pattern flyers?...well you do admit they're not really a problem later in your narrative below... Doesn't your DZ have a separate landing area for swoopers since it sounds like you are not one of them? ...Hmmm... better be careful or you might get hit by one of the rest of the huge crowd who likes to "land by the beer line"... ...sorry, guess my warning was a little too late... Look, I apologize for the tone, but unless your DZ does not in fact have separate landing areas (lanes) for swoopers and straight in approaches, you really ought to reconsider the appropriateness of your landing next to the beer line if that is the designated swooper zone. And no, I am not a swooper...I do land out in the boonies, so I have adequate time and room to watch for incoming canopies, as well as stow toggles, slider, and gear... and yes, packers do appreciate courtesies that seem to have all but disappeared in this self centered world where instead of pondering how they might show some consideration to others, everyone justifies their own actions ... ...you know, like swoopers who hit people standing in their swoop lane, ...and non swoopers who want to land in the swoop lane... YMMV Russ Generally, it is your choice; will your life serve as an example... or a warning?
  15. Skydive San Diego has a huge landing area, and yes, wingsuits are are allowed. They are flying 7 days a week with either an Otter or a Caravan depending on need. They are also a "full service" DZ with a gear store, rigging services, a food concession etc. The DZ has its own runway, so the take off and landing areas are together. Skydive San Diego does require an AAD for jumpers with less than 1000 jumps unless they are doing CReW. I'm not sure Pacific Coast is even catering to experienced jumpers any more, so you should call the number and speak with them direct, as I think they may be doing tandems by appointment only now and I wouldn't want to mislead you. Although I jumped years ago at Brown Field (where Pacific Coast is "based", but long before they were around), I was allowed to land on the airport itself, and have not landed on the Pacific Coast Skydiving DZ which is located in a field a couple miles from the airport...so I don't know how big the field they have is. There used to be a restaurant / bar on Brown Field (near the current Pac Skydiving facilities), but again, it has been years since I've been there. The two locations are only a few miles apart, so weather conditions are usually quite similar...arguably the most consistent wind conditions on the West Coast, and year round jumping is quite comfortable. Russ Generally, it is your choice; will your life serve as an example... or a warning?