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billvon last won the day on June 13

billvon had the most liked content!

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  1. billvon

    Tall Tales

    Maybe half a dozen. The most fun one was a military student at the old Brown Field DZ, who I ran into at the Argus. He regaled me with his exploits (including freefall in his military static line program) and told me I should learn to freefall, that static line sucked. He worshiped Denny Chalker, an ex-Seal who was also working at Brown at the time - and who had talked all of them into coming out to Brown to do AFF. I nodded along to his stories while I got my turkey sandwich. We got back to the DZ. About a hour later the class was finished and they paired me up with . . . the same student. He saw that I was going to be his instructor and turned a little green. Then Denny Chalker, hero to all young Navy guys, walked up; he was my reserve side. "Uh . . . . you know Master Chief Chalker?" the kid asked me in a low voice. "Yeah, we go way back," I told him. "Hey Bill," Denny asked. "Would it be OK if I do main side on this one?" I pretended to think it over and then said "Sure, Denny, just this once." Denny laughed. I thought the kid was going to pass out.
  2. billvon

    Perris jet

    One of the more memorable flights of my life was taking the jet to Rantoul. On the way back we stopped in Provo, Utah because it had the cheapest fuel prices in the country at that point. Landing at Perris with an almost full load of fuel during thunderstorm season was a once in a lifetime experience. "Wow, we touched down right past the ditch. There goes the memorial! There goes manifest. There goes the parking lot. Hmm, we are still going _really_ fast . . . " Fortunately there was plenty of beer.
  3. billvon

    What happened here? Turbulence? Stall?

    My guess would be broken riser due to poor maintenance or gear incompatibility.
  4. billvon

    BOD Meeting July 2018

    Wow, you must have worked really hard to come out of USPA courses learning nothing. Yep. There are unethical people out there. The right solution is to call them out on it - not to blame a few thousand people for what one person does.
  5. If you are more interested in freeflying, then a suit without booties. If RW, booties. Get the cheapest used suit you can find that fits you - you will destroy it quickly. Then use your experience with that suit to choose one you will like better.
  6. To put some numbers to this: The fatality rate in skydiving is between about .25 and 1 fatality per 100,000 jumps; we'll take .5 as an average. Let's compare the risks of a working skydiver to some common occupations. The most dangerous occupation out there is commercial fishing - 99 fatalities out of 100,000 workers every year. A working skydiver who averages 10 jumps a weekend (which is on the low side for someone at say Eloy, a bit high for Pepperell) will see a 252 out of 100,000 odds of getting killed. Let's say you are twice as safe as your average skydiver because you are so current. Now you are at 126 out of 100,000. So a working skydiver will see a higher risk of being killed than someone in the most dangerous (tracked) profession in the US. "But it's more dangerous to drive to the DZ!" Nope. Driving deaths happen at 1.25 per 100 million miles driven. Let's say your average skydiver drives 100 miles to and from the DZ to make 10 jumps. Odds of dying while driving: .125 out of 100,000. Odds of dying while skydiving: 5 out of 100,000. 40 times more likely to be killed skydiving. "But I don't jump that much" you say. OK, then your risk is a lot lower. But then you have to compare it to other things you do at that low rate - AND you are uncurrent, which increases your odds of getting killed. So skydiving: 1 in 200,000 odds of getting killed per jump. Bungee jumping: 1 in 500,000 per jump. Scuba diving is similar to skydiving; 1 in 200,000 per dive. Now, if you BASE jump or free climb, congratulations; you have found something that is actually more dangerous than skydiving. But for the vast majority of people, skydiving is far more dangerous (using real odds) than anything they normally do.
  7. billvon

    On opening, grab toggles or rear risers?

    Most of my canopies will do the same. However, I still grab the rear risers as the slider starts coming down, because I figure if I open 20 feet from someone, I'd rather deal with line twists than a collision.
  8. Not unless you're an embassy guard in Syria or something. Skydiving is a dangerous sport. It can injure you or kill you. There are very few other sports out there where NOT taking very definitive action will kill you, and where you are so dependent on something you can't see (the atmosphere, traffic above us.) I will give you three examples that disprove that - Pat McGowan, Bob Holler and Roger Nelson. All three were doing everything right. Then someone hit them under canopy and killed them. And that can happen to ANYONE no matter how safe they are trying to be. You can be doing a 20-way with the best in the business and someone forward of you in the exit can have a premature deployment. You can be in the plane, ready to do a solo on your own pass, and lose an engine on takeoff. You can be clearing your airspace every ten seconds, and someone can turn into you from above your canopy where you can't see. You can be flying the pattern all by yourself and get taken out by a dust devil that formed over the grass. You can cut away from a spinner and get reserve lines trapped in your rig. You can have a rogue opening on a perfectly good, well maintained, properly packed parachute that is hard enough to kill you. Current training programs - and modern equipment - do wonders to reduce the risk. They will never be able to make it safe.
  9. billvon

    Commercial Flight

    Nope. In all the air disasters I have looked at, only two that I can think of (TWA 800 and JAL 123) would there even be a slight chance of getting out and making your situation any better. And you'd have to be wearing your rig when the incident occurred (with no warning) and be VERY lucky to be able to exit without getting killed or incapacitated. Keep in mind that for that parachute to do any good you have to have: 1) a situation where everyone is certainly going to die (if not it's always better to stay with the plane, just based on the odds) 2) a way to exit (a big hole or a blown hatch or something) 3) a stable enough aircraft that you can use that exit.
  10. Answers from the other thread: (forum bug prevented moving these) Interstellar_court: Please tell me you are joking. You can have the MOST skill, the MOST training, the BEST critical thinking skills, the BEST equipment, and NONE of that makes it safe. These precautions only make it safer. It is a very much dangerous sport that can be done safely. I think you might have the risks of skydiving and the risks of a sport like bowling confused. I think that failing to acknowledge the risks associated, or becoming complacent, can only increase the risk overall. Dudeman17: You could not be more wrong. Your profile doesn't state your experience, but I'm coming up on 40 years in the sport, 30 of them as an instructor, and I'm not saying that I disagree with you, I'm telling you you're wrong. Dan BC is among the most experienced, respected, and wisest people in our sport, and you, I, and anyone else would do well to heed his advice. So much so that part of his profession is that people in and out of our sport hire him to give it. You should re-read his post and anything else you can find of his about 58 times or whatever it takes to penetrate your skull before you make your next jump. Meat_missile: Compared to what? The only sport I can think of that is more dangerous than skydiving is BASE.
  11. billvon

    USPA rule applicability

    Agreed - but the BSR's don't say that. It's common sense that you would use the rules/advisors of the country you are jumping in when it comes to demos and water jumps, but the BSR says you have to get "the advice of the appropriate USPA S&TA, Instructor Examiner, or Regional Director" before making them, period. My assumption has always been that they apply to US parachute centers (hence the name, USPA.) Mike, however, recently said it doesn't matter what country you are jumping in, you ALWAYS have to follow the BSR's. I worry that an approach like that will lead to less respect for the BSR's. "Well, heck, you can't _not_ break the rules. What's the difference if I break one or two, if I have to anyway?"
  12. Mike Mullins recently made this statement in the Incidents forum: ======================= Any person who is a USPA member must follow the BSRs at a Group Member DZ, at a non-Group Member DZ, in a farmers field, in someones back yard, does not matter where you are jumping. If you are a USPA member you are required to follow the BSR, period. As USPA members were involved in this jump they were definitely required to follow the BSRs. Someone who is not a USPA member, jumping at a non-Group Member DZ, needs only to comply with the FARs. ======================= This is the first I have heard of this. I've jumped in a lot of places throughout the world, and while I use the BSR's as the default, there are cases where they don't seem applicable. One example is while I worked for a military freefall training program; the course instructor was not a USPA rated instructor (although he was certainly rated as such by the military.) Another example were water and demo jumps made in another country - they were made without "the advice of the appropriate USPA S&TA, Instructor Examiner, or Regional Director" (but again, with much advice from the local equivalent.) I've intentionally jumped through clouds while at a foreign DZ after the chief instructor briefed us on how to do it, and told us it was both legal and customary there. Are all those things really considered no different than doing them at a USPA DZ?
  13. billvon

    PD 190 not flying straight

    Could be a lot of things. Misrigging of the canopy. One line length wrong. Gross asymmetrical loading of the harness. Like JR said give PD a call. They will tell you what to do next; most likely it will be to ship the canopy to them and they will test jump it and fix/replace as needed. If you don't want to do that, you could have your rigger check line lengths and/or have a local canopy expert do a test jump on it. But PD is the best way to get a reliable answer.
  14. billvon

    Preventing Hard Openings

    Nope. At most, include the slider in the tail roll (so it is kept under control a bit longer) but do not expose it. Exposing it exposes it to all the manipulations you do to the parachute to get it in the bag - and many of those will try to push the slider away from grommets.
  15. No - but that's the wrong question. Does a reserve repack that goes 181 days instead of 180 affect the rig or the pack job? Not really. Several manufacturers (including PD) have stated that if the repack interval were extended to 360 days they would be OK with it. It's not whether or not the rig is safe; that's a separate question. I can give plenty of examples of 100% legal and hideously dangerous gear vs. a system that is illegal to jump, but is perfectly safe. The question is - are you following the FAR's?