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  1. I like a bunch of these!! I echo the concept that strong legs and a strong core are key in being a fluid sit flyer. We can develop those skills with transitions, which can jeopardize stability in a productive way. If you can stay stable and on heading when moving your arms independently, the rest of your body will start to become versatile as well. The only thing I would add is to be aware of jump run. When people first learn sit, or head down... or even belly I reckon, there's a good chance that they'll backslide. Just something about how we roll, I guess. So... If you face perpendicular to jump run when you do your solo, if you backslide it will likely be in a safer direction (away from others). We may lose the heading briefly during a transition, but if we return to the sit quickly enough, overall the effect of facing perpendicular is maintained. Ok, that's all I gots. Thanks!!! -eli
  2. Ok, let me let my brain catch up. It seems we have an issue. The solution could come in the form of more regulation or more education, or even both. Either way, said solution will then have to be communicated to everyone if there’s a chance of people following it. The problem? Tail strikes are bad. Check. So what makes a tail strike more likely? Exiting when the aircraft is flying faster than normal or climbing is riskier… as is using a large wingsuit, or exiting improperly in any type of suit (birthday included). To manage this risk we communicate with the wingsuiters and the pilots (the two parties directly involved) to make sure we're minimizing said risk. At our drop zone the DZO, S&TAs, Instructors, Pilots, and manifest help work together to keep things running as safe and smooth as possible. Therefore, all of the above would have our dz wingsuit procedures shared with them. Right now the heat has been turned up by the insurance companies. So I would say the first people that realistically would make sure this stuff is being followed would be aircraft owners. They would ultimately be responsible for the training of their pilots, as well. DZOs and S&TAs work with pilots and aircraft owners (if they're not the DZO). I, as an S&TA, am motivated by the huge paycheck and fame.... wait.... something’s not right… start over. Apart from the riches, I am motivated by safety. When in doubt, I consult my elders in the sport in the discipline they excel in. When no elders are present, I use the SIM as a reference. I'm fairly sure I'm not alone, but I may be the only one to admit it. :) I read and follow the BSRs, but also read and follow most of Section 6 of the SIM (Advanced Progression)… to prep for night jumps, brief on jumping cameras, and most recently talk to B License candidates about canopy control. I did not consult the SIM to learn about CRW or tail strikes... that teaching was all done by life. I guess my point is that if no expert is available, we still have a section on Wingsuiting in the SIM, and there is even a part on exiting. If the assumption that only an experienced wingsuit pilot can tell if someone didn’t keep their wings closed, I would not support that statement. However if I am misreading this, please let me know. So... we have aircraft owners that have a huge financial incentive to make sure this is followed, and a couple of simple procedures to be followed, most of which are already in the SIM. My question is… where will this stuff end up? Section 6? As a download on the website? In the mailing for Group Members? Again, the procedures involve more than just wingsuits, so maybe Section 6-9 isn’t the right place for this… Because I believe the tail strike issue goes beyond mere wingsuits, the rest of your questions (“how do we make sure that a person is at least reasonable competent in the air”) pertain to wingsuit training specifically more than tail strikes specifically. I think they are good questions, but might belong in another thread. Let me know if I missed your point, though. Later, all! -eli
  3. DSE - Is that "fight the bite" sign you attached posted on a low-tail aircraft, or are you referencing a policy on all airplanes? Well... all non-tailgate airplanes? Thank you! -eli
  4. Gosh, that wasn't it at all. To clarify, what I'm saying is that a solution at our drop zone will involve not just the jumpers, but also our primary and visiting pilots. We need to make sure we have a policy in place regardless of whether or not our drop zone is offering First Flight Courses. When looking at tail strikes, the configuration of the airplane on jump run can be a contributing factor, regardless of whether any wingsuits are on board. My feeling is that this goes beyond the "do we need wingsuit ratings" debate. Even if there were ratings today, it would still go beyond them. First, as already noted, it's not all about the skydiver (the pilot has a role). Second, not every drop zone will have a wingsuit coach/instructor on site.... so there would need to be a solution independent of any training program. Not every drop zone that allows fun jumpers has an AFF or Static Line Instructor on site, and in those cases a protocol still exists for said jumpers. I'm just trying to find that protocol. I was on site for two of the fatalities you are talking about, so this is very real to me. Both jumpers had just over 100 jumps. I have no problem with regulation per se, and feel the 200 jump BSR was an effective and thoughtful solution to a problem. We can't prove it, but I believe that particular BSR has saved lives. I agree that standards from USPA do have an effect. I don't agree that it proves ALL standards would have a positive effect. When it comes to tail strikes, education is part of the solution, to be sure. I'm not sure a factory or USPA recognized wingsuit instructor is the only person that can be teaching our pilots and jumpers this information, though. I agree, Scotty. Because this is such an important issue, we are looking for a solution that works now, today. So far it looks like that solution is going to be in the form of pilot training, reinforcement with wingsuiters of the known risk of tail strikes, and maybe even an agreement with people who want to wear wingsuits. Thanks for reaching out, and keeping it on track! -eli PS - I received a very cordial PM talking to me about the downsides of mandating rolling exits. Just for ze record, when I quoted the other DZO in an earlier thread talking about teaching people to, "roll out of the door with the wings collapsed," I must admit I wasn't meaning to reference any particular style of perching in the door... just the concept of exiting with the wings closed. Hope this whole thing clarifies my thoughts. Thanks, peoples!!!!
  5. Certainly but they charge premiums based on the associated composite risk score. When our DZO forwarded me (an S&TA) these e-mails, he was looking for a solution today, right now. What we came up with goes beyond the scope of what a wingsuit coach would be able to do when training newbies, as it also involves the pilot. This is what it boiled down to: "My advice - Make sure your pilots (and staff) know the benefit of wingsuiters exiting from a properly trimmed and cut airplane with their wings closed until they clear the airplane." In another internet forum for DZOs I found what I believe to be the same concept... they just used better words: "This is an easily avoidable problem. Make sure the pilots never fly a climbing, power on jump run, and make sure all of the wingsuiters are trained to roll out of the door with the wings collapsed. If this is done, they drop like a stone away from the airplane. If anyone at the drop zone teaching wingsuit flight is teaching anything else for an exit, they should be corrected, or not allowed to teach wingsuit flight." So when mixed together, is the above protocol for pilots mixed with Section 6-9 of the SIM shaping up to be the "procedure manual for wing suit jumps" the insurance company is looking for? http://www.uspa.org/SIM/Read/Section6/tabid/169/Default.aspx#69d Thanks to all for putting our heads together on this one!!! -eli
  6. With regards to using to using toggles or rear risers, I try to simplify it for students and fun jumpers alike with the, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it," approach. That is, your canopies will most likely open with the brakes stowed. If they are playing nice together, there's nothing to fix, so go ahead and simply use the rear risers gently to steer. If they're fighting, it may be time to use the brakes on the dominant canopy, as it wouldn't make sense to try to push a dominant canopy around with a wimpy one. This logical approach seems to... stick better than getting students to memorize a series of procedures. -eli
  7. PD also has a Navigator 300 with a max weight of 350. This canopy would also be more in line with PD's wing loading recommendations (max 289 lbs for students and novices). -eli
  8. We simplify emergency procedures for the First Jump Course. Muscle memory and acting fast are more important than trying to remember subtle details. So we teach students to cutaway first in emergency situations. However, you'll find many more experienced jumpers (myself included) that would go straight to their reserve in a hard pull, low pull, or pilot chute-in-tow. In this case (I've thrown my pilot chute but nothing came out), I'd rather have a two-out than a main entangling in my reserve. I'm not trying to turn this into a debate on which method is better, for there seems to be a fairly even split on how people would react. Just be aware that it's acceptable to not cutaway first in some situations, assuming you are situationally aware enough to act fast and PROPERLY. Thanks! -eli
  9. I'm most certainly interested in the equipment, as well as advice on what to look for in proper training. Thanks so much!! -eli
  10. Apart from the team itself, if a drop zone were to invest in gear, what would be on the shopping list? -eli
  11. Working with 2 students in the air at the same time, I have seen no problem with using the same frequency. We created a chart that we clip pictures of the student canopies next to their name, their AFF level, their instructors, expected exit order, desired input under canopy ("help with flare" versus "only if needed," etc). It's not hard to use student names. If two people share the same name, we notice ahead of time and use their last name. If you forget the person's name, look down to the clipboard, find the picture of their canopy, and you're ready to rock again. The problems I have with multiple radios or frequencies are functional, not financial. I always bring two radios out with me, in case one fails in the field. If there were 2 or 3 or 4 students on the same plane (multiple passes), this would require at LEAST 4 radios in the field, but possibly 6 or 8 depending on the system used. We have that many radios, but I don't see an easy way to have them all laid out in front of you every time.... especially if you have to move from your base to help a student that's not exactly landing where they should. So the logical solution would be multiple frequencies, then, right? If the concern is remembering a student name, is there not the same concern with remembering which frequency each particular student is using? The larger concern with multiple frequencies is that I've had multiple situations where I had to switch commands between students very quickly. We plan to avoid this situation, but shite happens (for example, students start to crowd each other down low): "Johnny, check your altimeter and start your downwind at 1000 feet, Sally, turn left onto base, Johnny, you're flying away from the pattern turn around, Sally, turn LEFT.... Sally, turn LEFT.... Sally, YOUR OTHER LEFT, Johnny, you need to turn around and start the pattern, Sally, keep turning left, left left, Johnny stay away from the runway, Sally....." The thought of doing that, and switching frequencies in between each command (or having two radios with two backups) makes me cringe. Is the above situation ideal? Hell no. We generally plan exit order based on wing loading and always train to NOT crowd the pattern.... but you know those silly students. In addition, multiple frequencies means one more variable to check if the student isn't responding. If I don't get a radio check response ("Ok Bob, now that you've done your control check, please turn right if you can hear me. Bob? Bob? Please turn right, Bob, if you can hear me.") No response. Is the radio muffled? Turned down? Too far away? Now I have to add "wrong frequency" to the list, which means I'd be tempted to start switching channels.... yuck. I'm sure there are ways to use a radio with simple pre-programmed buttons or something similar, though I still don't like it for the above reasons. My bigger question is, why is it difficult to use student's names? If they're truly not responsive due to sensory overload, etc, usually saying their name will cut through the mental block heaps better than repeating "Student #1" over and over. All of the practical aspects aside... I personally think knowing each student's name is.... well... the right thing to do from a human and professional standpoint. But that's largely irrelevant here, I guess. Thoughts? -eli
  12. In 2002 I was first on the scene of an accident. The woman was unconscious and being choked by the strings on her hat (no helmet....). I used HER hook knife to cut the hat and goggles off her head, which allowed her to breathe easier without causing perhaps further unknown injury. Not my use, but used in front of me-- in the middle of a CRW 16-way..... actually, maybe a 25-way, one jumper in the formation to my left got the top skin of another jumper's canopy wrapped around his foot, and the tension was too great to allow his foot to release. He used his hook knife to cut a small slit in the top skin of the lower jumper's main. The cut released the foot, and the lower jumper flew to a safe distance then cut away. Those instances were enough to keep me jumping with at least one knife at all times. Later in the same year, I helped evaluate the video from a CRW wrap that resulted in a fatality. I cannot say for certain, but given the dynamics of the wrap, the 2 places I keep hook knives during CRW would have been completely inaccessible. I decided i needed at least one more knife located on a different quadrant of my body, especially while doing CRW. -eli
  13. Do it to it, this is the year. The lineup of organizers, vendors, and most important a bevy of excited people is gonna make it worth it, to be sure!! The boogie is Wed, Sept 22 - Sun, Sept 26. People have been telling us they're coming in as early as Mon the 20th, though, to enjoy Arches or Canyonlands National Parks, go ATVing, horseback riding, rafting.... etc. Off-site Cessna jumps start on Wednesday, September 22 and continue out of varying aircraft at least through Saturday. A guaranteed Otter, and very likely the Skyvan will be showing up on Thursday the 23rd. The planes go home whenever jumpers wanting to jump leave on Sunday, September 26. Brewery action Thursday. Barbecue and Beer Friday. And disco madness with Sparklemotion (bring your outfit) Saturday. It's right around the corner!! -eli
  14. Flying flatter in the tunnel, or arched but on the net are both very acceptable ways to learn how to fly your body. It's ALL body flight. And it all builds confidence and skills, no matter when you do it. In the sky, we have students arch to a comfortable, stable arch and as instructors match their speed. In the tunnel, we start students with a slower wind speed and then turn it up. Very simply, higher wind speeds can be twitchier and therefore potentially more dangerous. Slower wind speeds require a flatter body and sometimes more extended arm and leg position than AFF students are typically used to, so it can be a little confusing at first if it's not explained that there may be some differences. When we work on the net, it allows us to isolate the vertical component of body flight and just concentrate on horizontal and rotational motion. This approach reduces the enormous amount of information we're trying to process to more digestible baby steps. Plus, the resistance provided by the net forces people to exaggerate certain moves, which when done in a structured manner can be INCREDIBLY useful. I'll utilize both net-work and resistance training when I'm coaching people in the tunnel at any stage, not just newbies. I'll even use it on myself when I'm trying something new or want to make a particular flight orientation more solid. The only time I've seen previous tunnel time detract is when the tunnel instructors didn't pay enough attention to leg awareness with a student and the person spent the next couple of jumps backsliding, but that is very rare. In short (ha!), having worked with people in the tunnel and the air who do their tunnel time after 0 jumps or 20... I echo the sentiment that people who do tunnel time before their first jump are usually more confident in the freefall portion of AFF. This allows them to free their brain up for the technically more demanding job of opening and landing their canopy. Not that freefall isn't demanding, but truly relaxing can solve most freefall problems. You relax too much and your landing... well... you'll land, I reckon. All I know is I've taken an inflatable monkey on a mock AFF jump, and it rocked the freefall portion. The landing on the other hand... Blue ones- eli