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Everything posted by billvon

  1. billvon

    Downsizing as a student

    The position of your upper body relative to your lower body, and the position of your legs, provide a far more powerful turning force than your hands do. Thus even minor problems with your body position will lead to an unstoppable spin if you are relying on the hands method.
  2. billvon

    Downsizing as a student

    Agreed. You can likely still find people choosing exit separation using the 45 degree rule with the permission of their DZ's as well, and you can find people turning by using their hands as little rudders. That does not necessarily mean that those things are a good idea.
  3. For the 50th anniversary of the Normandy invasion, we held an event where WWII vets could run through a static line program for next to nothing and make a jump on that day. Most of them did OK, although it was effectively impossible to train them to arch. It's something that almost any DZ can do. You can meet the USPA requirements for a course fairly quickly as long as they come in with basic skills, and it's likely the DZO could find volunteers to teach and/or JM the students - thus reducing the cost tremendously. This is getting pretty far from the topic, though, so maybe better to start a new thread on it.
  4. billvon

    San Diego 9/12-9/18

    If you are trying San Diego try either early in the morning right after they open or late in the day when tandems have thinned out.
  5. billvon

    rantoul lawsuit

    If it was their fault - yes. Note that that doesn't mean they were evil, or that they were bad people. It just means they made a mistake. I've made them - and gotten away with them. I've stopped my students from making fatal mistakes, like walking into the propeller of an Otter. I am sure you've made mistakes, too. If (god forbid) someday you make a mistake and it kills you, it will be your fault. Not because you are bad, but because you made a mistake.
  6. billvon

    Flip Colmer RIP

    That's sad. Flip was a great guy. I ended up sitting next to him on one of the Thailand World Team records. One one attempt, we took off, they opened the door, we stood up and got ready to go . . . and had a hold. After about 15 minutes they closed the door again; we were going to land with the plane. Fortunately we had plenty of oxygen. After a few minutes my altimeter started to unwind. I guessed we were landing. But the deck angle seemed pretty flat. And we were descending at something like 5000 feet per minute, which is a pretty screaming descent in an aircraft. Were we really descending? I looked at Flip, showed him my altimeter and said "are they pressurizing?" (Actually I yelled it as loud as I could; it was pretty loud in that plane.) He looked at his altimeter for a few seconds, then jumped up and waded up to the cockpit before the crew pressurized us right into a bunch of AAD fires. He got them to stop the cabin-altitude descent before we hit 1000 feet. Another aircraft was not so lucky, and there were a bunch of AAD's on those aircraft that either fired or shut down permanently because they detected something that shouldn't be happening.
  7. Complaining and doing nothing is bitching. Going to BOD meetings, proposing alternatives and working to implement them is not. We know what you have chosen so far. Will you change your approach? Time will tell.
  8. I am a sheeple! I love it! I've gone to USPA three times to get something I've wanted. I've created course plans, I've written articles for Parachutist on the topics, I've collected petitions and I've gone to BOD meetings - and organized trips for other supporters of my plans. The actual BOD meetings were important, but even more importantly was the opportunity to talk to BOD people outside the meeting, in the bar or restaurant before/after the meeting. And today we have an ISP and a rule that requires separating landing areas in the group member pledge. Oh, and USPA doesn't have a ban on mentioning BASE in the magazine any more. (And BTW I was far from the only person advocating for any of that. But together we got enough support to get those changes through.) You bitch on the Internet and do nothing else other than obediently mailing your check in, like a good sheep. Which one of us is a "sheeple" again?
  9. They are good stewards of their time, then.
  10. He can ask if he wants. I am hoping the BOD have better things to do than to humor an angry crank - but that's up to them.
  11. It's not being built yet.
  12. A skydiving museum.
  13. billvon

    Optimal flight time for learning

    A few random ones: 1) Get a good coach. (Sound like you already got one.) They will be able to see problems that you can't. Also switch them up occasionally, because everyone will see something different. 2) Spend at least 10x the time outside the tunnel going through the exact same dive before you go in. So if you have 60 seconds, spend 10 minutes on the floor or on a creeper going through the dive. Time outside is free and can make your time in the tunnel more useful. 3) Once you feel you are ready, find someone to fly with. Cuts tunnel costs in half and that's something you'll have to learn anyway.
  14. billvon

    Optimal flight time for learning

    We regularly do 15 minutes a night - 10 sessions, 90 seconds each - for informal 4 way training. But all of us are fairly used to the tunnel. For a "big" camp we might do 30 minute sessions, 4-6 of them over the course of a weekend. Intervals between flights is critical for those. You need at least 2 minutes for walking the next dive, and the more time to recover between flights the better.
  15. yeah, although in this case it's more like a "tail lifter."
  16. Holy cow, a CONVENTIONAL gear aircraft sold to a regional airline? That will see some interesting changes in pilot training . . .
  17. billvon

    wingsuit jumping order

    Agreed. However, keep in mind that S+TA's can be just as selfish as any other skydiver. (I know it shouldn't be that way, but . . . )
  18. billvon

    wingsuit jumping order

    ?? How? Wingsuiters fall much more slowly than everyone else. If they start on top by exiting last, they remain on top, barring a serious problem (premature opening or something.)
  19. billvon

    wingsuit jumping order

    Well, three things there. First, it _should_ be true that seniority does not trump safety. Practically, it is common. Often that very seniority allows the senior jumper to "pull rank" and say "look, I have 80 million jumps and I say it's safe! How many jumps do you have?" Unfortunate but true. It's happened to me more than once. Second, while there is generally an "established" way of doing things, skydiving changes - and what may have been safe 10 years ago may not be safe nowadays. Wingsuits/tracking suits, for example, have changed skydiving significantly, and procedures have adapted accordingly. Finally, while "correct and established" procedures are often the best approach, sometimes local conditions (different jump runs, different winds aloft, air traffic limitations etc) may require transient changes.
  20. billvon

    Fear of Landing

    You are most likely sticking out you right hand to "break your fall." It's instinctual. Practice keeping your hands in tight to the side of your body, or to the center of your body, as you flare and do NOT allow them to move away from it; this will tend to prevent the "break your fall" move. Eventually, when that happens, you will move your left hand down to counter the turn to the right.
  21. billvon


    Right before you climb out take a look (for the airplane you didn't see before.)
  22. some suggestions: Swoop cords are easy to make. You need some binding tape, some spectra and a sewing machine. Should take about an hour. Two loops for thumbs on the end of the cord, three loops inside the jumpsuit to anchor it (usually along the top of the butt seam.) Tie knots to adjust. Sleeves are easy to make/buy as well. And you don't have to put them on until just before exit. Booties, if you don't already have them, help. Webbed gloves help you more than you might think because if you stick them out in front of you, you will have to stick your legs out more - and those booties will add a lot of drag.
  23. billvon

    4-way exit FAIL - skydiver loses shoe

    Sure. The first was Bob Holler, who was both a great guy and the boyfriend of a very close friend of ours. Another jumper, Danny Page, ran into him under canopy. Danny had been talked to previously about high performance turns in the landing area. The second was Pat McGowan, who was our player/coach. Again, another jumper - Chris Stasky - ran into him. Chris had been warned several times about his behavior in the pattern. Afterwards at least one person I talked to said they knew it was coming; they had seen how he landed. But again, these are skydivers we're talking about - and often they don't see their behavior as dangerous, both because many skydivers think they can't get hurt, and because people often get away with doing stupid stuff for a long time (HP turns in the landing area, downwind landings etc.) And if you get away with something 40 times, and some old fart comes up with a boring lecture, are you going to listen to him? Or are you going to ignore what the old fart says and go up and have fun jump #41?
  24. billvon

    4-way exit FAIL - skydiver loses shoe

    I would add that sometimes it's not the person who does something stupid who gets hurt. I've had two good friends killed by other skydivers "just having fun." And in both cases it wasn't something new - these are people that had been talked to several times about the same problem that led to them killing other skydivers, and always answered along the lines of "geez, no one got hurt, what the fuck is your problem?"