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  1. Why don't you go ask the CDC (which is gov't) and then get back to me. They may or may not keep stats but they do report them. There is a difference. In any case, do you have a point? If you have stats that contradict the gov't stats, go ahead and post them. to risk (or participate) in beating this dead horse: your citation did not give CDC stats. The top of it shows the CDC's list for leading causes of death, but the rest came from a variety of sources, some more useful than others. I'd say they spent more time on the snarky graphics than in collecting the information. That skydiving rate of 1 in 101,083 looks to be an estimate for risk of dying in a single jump, measured by dividing the approx number of jumps in a year by the number of deaths. But the risk of an active skydiver dying in a year has routinely been around 1 in 1000. 20 some people per year out of 2x,000 active USPA members. With the average annual jump count around 100, the two figures back each other. Motorcycling as a mode of transportation also sees a death rate around 1 in 1000 per year. Not racing, as indicated in your cite. Scuba diving is probably about half as dangerous per dive as skydiving, though it's very difficult to measure the dive count, and a significant portion of the deaths are cardiac types that were likely to happen anyway. Having already identified 3 suspect numbers, the prudent person dismisses it entirely. Skydiving isn't safe, and you've spent enough time in the sport to know this. Ask a planeload of jumpers for recommendations for a physical therapist or orthopedic surgeon. Do the same on a dive boat and count how many fewer answers you get.
  2. did you make a decision? You're right to look for gear - particularly at small places (and even at larger ones when we're talking about suitable rigs for the 215lbers), relying on rentals means waiting longer between jumps. Students often get precedence since their jumps have to align with their instructors (and they're paying a double hundred bucks a jump!). I was your weight when I got to your situation. It was hard finding a complete package - I ended up buying a new container, but found a Triathlon 220 used, and then later moved to a new Tri 210 ,and finally a Pilot 210. When I stepped away, I had absolutely no trouble selling it at an excellent price. It was a bit remarkable - nearly no depreciation after 5 years. There's a key thing to keep in mind - newish rigs for 'big boys' will always sell easy. So you shouldn't worry too much about multiple downsizes in the same container. If you get to that point, get a new container. Potentially with the thinner fabrics that came out in the last 10 years, you can get get bigger canopies into a smaller space, and then downsize to the regular fabric. to the gear vendors. But again, don't optimize for a future maybe over the current. I found a pretty big difference in difficulty between a WL of 1.1 and 1.2, though I'll say I was a poor flarer. I think the 1.1 target is a more sensible one for the first rig. 1.2 + one other factor (hot day, DZ at altitude, zero wind) can equal a bad tumbling landing, or worse if you misread the wind direction.
  3. Looks like rather obvious agenda driven messaging. Can't blame the reporter for this one - that person relied on USPA as an authority and Ed takes advantage of this. He didn't cite specifics, just put out a vague "don't know" scare message. And given a long history of not really sanctioning USPA DZs for safety violations, is "You don't know what you're getting" even correct? We have a second active thread going about a nearby USPA member DZ.
  4. Getting to the solo jump status would be a good break off point (and you could travel south if really necessary to continue with the cheaper post AFF student jumps). But if your budget doesn't allow for a failed AFF level, you could still fall short of that solo jump. Tough call here, since currency and continuity is a key to success. But if you haven't done any AFF levels yet, how do you know this is what you want to do? You might be a bit annoyed at yourself if you scrape and save all winter and then find at AFF4 or 5 that you're losing interest in the risk/reward balance.
  5. I knew one that did exactly that. You got that pack job when you picked it up, pay for it at the end.
  6. good chance you won't feel the cold until afterwards - your mind will be focused elsewhere. And it will warm up as you descend. But when you book, ask for advice on how much/what to wear. I usually wore running shoes with cotton socks that are appropriate on the ground, and that doesn't cut it up there at speed.
  7. You're watching an event sponsored by an energy drink company... one with a long history of sensationalizing stunts, like motorcycle or snowmobile jumps over rivers and such.
  8. Those canopy shots were examples of great execution - keeping them nice and taut while keeping the model from drowning yet having no bubbles in frame. Underwater models + photographers are a team that generally spend a lot of time getting good together. I don't think any of these guys had very extensive experience doing this.
  9. as experienced by anyone that has tried to organize a tandem outing for their friends or workplace. You start with 10 or 20 enthusiastic sounding folks but as soon as you ask for that $50 deposit for next Saturday, it's crickets.
  10. however, it's on par with buying a not high end motorcycle - say 6-8k to get trained and get a rig, and then a couple thousand per year. If you can swing the first part, the ongoing costs can be very manageable. Of course, you can spend a ton more, going to farflung boogies and jump out of exotic craft, but you don't have to. 1-2 weekend days per month at 4 jumps in a day = 60/year, a reasonable participation rate floor. The USPA averages were in the 70s, iirc, but I'm sure that's bimodal with a lot of people at 100+/yr and less active people in the 30-40 range.
  11. Drew - motorcycling has roughly the same 1 in 1000 annual risk of death as skydiving. Not sure what the injury level is like - I suspect biking has a greater risk of a bad crash like mine, but that's just a gut feel. I do remember being a bit taken back by the number of people in crutches I would see at the DZ. Obviously swooping versus not and other choices (canopy selection) affect the risks substantially.
  12. heh - based on my history with off landings on night jumps (3 of 4) or 24k jumps (1 of 1), I probably would self select out, or open high, or pick an LZ with a big margin for error. In the right place, such a night jump would be neat, but others, missing the gain.
  13. Actually the DZ can lose money if the student buys one of the packages that is all 25 Jumps for an A then fails repeatedly. Instead of doing cheap solo jumps and coach jumps, they are paying those cheaper rates for more expensive AFF jumps. Its a situation where no one wins, the DZ is stuck honoring prices when a student is progressing and putting money into the student and the student is unhappy they are not progressing. Its a rare situation, but it does happen. If those were the terms, yes, that would be true. But is it? My AFF package, and many like it, got me 1 jump at each of 7 AFF levels, plus one repeat (or free jump tickets when cleared for solo). I thought I was committing to 8 AFF jumps, which would tell me if this was something I could do and wanted to do. But really is one jump at L4 (or one + the repeat + $199), followed by one at L5, one at L6.... It is a true cash cow - there is the carrot of the prepaid levels outstanding.
  14. It's not an indictment. It's a belief, a conclusion that the free repeat AFF level or the 10 jump tickets after isn't worth the opportunity cost of paying up front and committing to that DZ. And it was hardly just my experience that lead to this. Pay as you go. When you consider the cost of AFF and the first rig running on the higher end of the 5-10k range, $200 is worth the open choices.
  15. That's sad and unfortunately true and understandable in some cases but not true in most cases I would venture. One major thing is that the student doesn't know what he is getting into and few ask the right questions before they sign up. They don't know what questions to ask. And even if I did, would the DZO have answered: "We're a tandem mill that barely tolerates upjumpers and the typical window of student acceptable conditions is 4 hours per day. But since your AFF-I will immediately get back on the plane for a tandem after your jump (and maybe 2), he won't debrief you for at least an hour, so at best you could do 2 jumps in the day, but sometimes none." I tell you, for a long time after that I couldn't take seriously the weather reports of any DZ I called. When I took my break and then went to the new tunnel at Perris to get the stability issue fixed and did got to one jump short of solo freefall, I go back and my prepurchased AFF levels were only good for the specified level - could not use them as L7s or coach jumps or anything but what they specified.