Diogenes

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  1. The USPA has a quarter-million dollars in their Airport Access Defense Fund. Have they donated any of that to Mile High to help them out?
  2. Could be San Marcos, Texas, as they are sometimes surrounded by cotton fields.
  3. Congratulations! How long did it take you to complete that goal?
  4. More, from the DZ owner: "Letter: Quote in skydiving article taken out of context" http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/opinion/20170821/letter-quote-in-skydiving-article-taken-out-of-context#disqus_thread
  5. Experienced riggers need to be spending time with these packers as an ongoing program of continuing education. It's as simple as this: on windy or cloudy days when there's no packing going on, sit them down in a classroom with some pizza and go over things with them.
  6. Actually, no new rules were written. The same rules were in effect then as now. The jump was totally illegal under the rules then as now, rules have not changed. My recollection is that a plane was trying to jump inland near Lake Erie. Solid cloud layer was present. They decided to get clever and have ATC guide them in by watching their radar blip, and telling them when they were over the airport. Unfortunately, there was another plane in the vicinity at the same time. ATC thought the other blip was the jump plane, and radioed them to jump. It turned out, the jump plane was actually a different blip on the radar screen, and were still out over the frigid water of Lake Erie. Because of the cloud layer, they couldn't confirm they were in the correct spot, and relied solely upon the radar operator. So they jumped, and they died from water landings and hypothermia. Tragic.
  7. Ditto. I've seen pilots screw up a GPS spot. For example, punching in the coordinates of a nearby airport, instead of the one you're supposed to jump at. He climbs to altitude, turns on the yellow light, and we open the door to spot. And then the quizzical looks start; "What the hell are we doing over here"? Yeah, wrong GPS spot. Pilot then pulled up the actual correct numbers, and flew to the correct spot, jump run repeated correctly. The thing is, the pilot also needs to confirm with his eyeballs that the ground matches what he expects on GPS. So, the moral of this story is, that if you have that solid cloud layer and can't visually confirm a correct spot, you don't really know. You could actually be somewhere else. And then you pop through the cloud layer and realize you're actually over an alligator infested swamp... One more thing. GPS is just a point on the ground. It doesn't factor into account winds. The correct spot incorporating winds requires an experienced pilot and some trial and error. Usually by the 2nd or 3rd load of the day they've got it dialed in pretty accurately. But for load 1, no bets by me. I still like the ability to communicate old fashioned heading corrections to the pilot to get things right. A jumper in the door can see wind drift better than the pilot. I hate calling up for "5 right", only to have the pilot ignore you because he's already on his GPS track and thinks his electronics know better...
  8. Ah, but I had no control over what the tandems do - they make their own decisions. As for the newbie girl, my decision was affected by her inexperience, trying to keep her safe and teach her to make correct safety decisions. I would have done the same thing with a 100-jump male. On the other hand, if my partners had been highly experienced, yeah, we would have jumped.
  9. The PAC 750 had a two-way group; myself, very experienced, and a young lady with only 100 jumps. The remainder of the plane was filled with tandems. Upon reaching jump altitude a thin cloud layer had moved in/developed and covered everything for miles around at about 5,000'. You could not see through it anywhere. There were no holes. It wasn't going away any time soon. Bit it was thin, and you would be opening underneath it, with plenty of time to orient, find the airport, and land there. On jump run, I gave up visually spotting the airport. I trusted the pilot's GPS spot, and the surrounding countryside was mostly open prairie, except for a small town on one side. I wanted to jump, and thought the new gal would be safe. But that would set a bad example for the new girl, and she might not handle those conditions well. I backed off and told her we were riding the plane down. It was a violation of FARs and BSRs. I didn't want to set a bad example for her. I informed the tandems of the clouds, told them the wind was from the south, the sun to the east, so to hold into the wind above the cloud layer to avoid getting pushed miles downwind, just keep the sun off your left. All the tandems then moved to the door one at a time, jumped, and landed safely on the airport landing area. On the ground the tandem masters and passengers gushed and marveled at how beautiful the solid carpet of white cloud "snow" was. What would you have done? Multiple votes allowed; 1 for the two-way, 1 for the tandems.
  10. Yeah, and yet the vote is going the other way. Weird. One of the bad things about giving the team priority is the precedent it sets. Any time any team screws up, they always get precedence over any solo jumpers. Solo jumpers are screwed. And therefore, the teams don't have to worry too much about getting themselves all manifested, because they know they can always kick someone else off during boarding.
  11. Here's the situation. The Otter is boarding, and there are one too many people for the plane. The boarding guy pulls out the manifest list and calls out names. It is discovered that one person of a 4-way team is not on the manifest. Calls go out by some jumpers to kick off a solo jumper to make room for the 4-way guy so the team can make their practice jump. The solo jumper points out that he paid for his slot and is on the manifest, and shouldn't get kicked off and punished for someone else's mistake. The engines are running and burning fuel, the pilot is anxious to taxi out and take-off. Note that without the full 4-way team, their practice jump is worthless. Should the team go ahead with only three people? Or should they get off the plane with their non-manifested team mate? This would leave the plane with three slots empty. Should the 4-way team forfeit their jump tickets for the load? Or should the drop zone refund those tickets and absorb the loss from the empty seats? Or, if you kick off the solo jumper, the 4-way team is happy and can pay for the extra slot when they land. The plane is full, and everyone is happy. Except for the poor solo jumper who feels like excess baggage... What decision should the boarding guy make?
  12. A lot of newer jumpers go through a phase where they brag a lot, and figuratively give the grim reaper their middle finger. It's the cool thing to do to show how brave, daring and cool they are, compared to everyone else. This phase usually ends the first time a skydiving friend dies in the sport. Then they calm down and act more mature. Don't let 'em bother you. Rise above it. After a 1,000 jumps you don't even tell people outside the drop zone that you're a skydiver any more, because you tire of dealing with the ignorance and predictable responses. However, the stories of malfunctions, injuries and deaths done in a mature manner, are indeed instructive, and teach valuable lessons that could keep you from making the same mistakes. That's why USPA publishes accident reports in the magazine. Don't tune those out - learn from them. - Diogenese