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Everything posted by Peterkn

  1. A few years ago my wife suffered a stroke, and since then I’ve spent a lot of time around others who have suffered strokes and other brain injuries, including TBIs. The main thing I’d say is that every brain injury is different, and what works and is right for others won’t necessarily be right for you. Just because you find someone who suffered a similar injury and stated jumping again doesn’t mean you can draw any comparisons from their experiences. You should do a bit of tunnel time and see how that feels, and find out if you have any issues with coordination and bodily awareness. You should also think about the type of canopy that you jump, as you’ll want soft openings so that there’s no risk of exacerbating your brain trauma. Good luck, and I hope it works out for you. Pete.
  2. I did a charity static line jump aged 25, thinking it would be a one-off. I had a fear of heights, so wasn't even sure why I'd signed-up to do a jump in the first place (a combination of alcohol and peer pressure was to blame!). Four years later I'd done about 600 jumps and was doing camera work, CRW, coaching and was training to be an instructor. I then had a CRW accident that nearly killed me, so had two and a half years when I didn't jump. During that time I realised that camera work, coaching and instructing were pulling me away from the things I wanted to for my own enjoyment, and that CRW probably wasn't for me, so when I started jumping again I focussed on RW. I didn't do as many jumps per year as in those first few years, but instead went to boogies and big-way events that eventually led to me being on four world records. Eight years ago (about 25 years after my first jump) I somehow managed to get out of the habit of going to the DZ and my jumping fizzled-out. It wasn't a conscious decision to quit, but after a while I realised that I should sell my kit and move-on. Certainly not a planned 'career' as a skydiver, and once it had begun it didn't go the way I would have imagined, but great times non the less. At this stage in your jumping career it's far to early to tell how things will pan-out for you, but the secret is to enjoy what you're doing at the time and accept the opportunities when they present themselves. Pete.
  3. Okay, here are my observations on this video... Your turn starts as you wave-off. Your left arm is straight, causing you to turn to the right as you go in for the pull. Talk to your instructor about going back to basics with your left arm position at pull time. You're kicking your right leg on deployment, which is also adding to the problem. Concentrate on maintaining your body position during deployment to provide a stable platform for the canopy deployment. Keeping your hips back during the pull and deployment will also help with the issue of your legs swinging forward on opening, but don't worry too much about that, it's inevitable given the dynamics of opening. You should slow-down the wave-off process. It's meant to give people above the chance to see that you're about to deploy, and take avoiding action if necessary. The idea is also that you check the airspace above you to ensure that it's clear. It takes time to learn how to do this without putting yourself on your back at pull-time, and very few people really master the technique, but you won't learn to get it right if you don't slow the process down. Your jumpsuit is very baggy on the arms and legs and it's flying you. This makes the out of position left arm more pronounced. You obviously need some bagginess to help with fall rate, but you'd be better losing a bit of weight and adopting a flatter flying position; possibly with a suit that's baggier in the body and upper arms rather than the lower arms. I'd suggest going back to doing a few dummy pulls during a dive, slowing the whole process down a bit. I'd also recommend that you do a bit of tunnel time to improve your flying position and practice your wave-off and pull. Having said all of that, you're doing great for the number of jumps you have! Pete.
  4. First of all, the exit picture - and therefore the angle to the formation - will vary considerably depending on the aircraft. A slow-flying a/c such as a porter will require a steeper dive than an otter. It will also depend if the base is being launched and free-flown. If a base is being chunked off of a skyvan tailgate then you’ll find that there’s more if a horizontal rather than vertical component to the dive. The article at is a pretty good description of how to dive down to a formation. You’ll probably find that you have the back of your head/helmet pushed hard back against the area between your shoulder blades, and you may also need to arch your upper body backwards to maintain eye contact with the formation if it’s a really steep one. Twisting slightly at the shoulders allows you to steer, and altering the amount that you bend forwards at the hips will help control the angle of attack. When you get it right, you will overshoot the formation for the first few attempts. On a long dive to a large formation it’s easy to hit 200mph and decelerating from that speed requires more time and distance than you expect. If the formation is building and slowing anyway then it’s easy to get caught out. It goes without saying that you need to aim off to the side if the formation, but in your correct sector/quadrant, so that you minimise traffic issues and you won’t take anyone out if you do overshoot. Hope this helps.
  5. If you're in the UK then I'd suggest you go for a Symbi suit. Give Rob a call and explain what you're looking for and he'll sort you out. When I was jumping I was around 215lbs plus gear and have worn Symbi suits on the outside of 300 ways without any problems. I'd suggest you go for sleeves with a baggy forearm (bloused) and order spandex over sleeves to kill the baggyness if needed. Pete.
  6. I’ve been on every FAI bigway world record since 1999. What you’ll find with multi aircraft jumps is that the spot will be less consistent than with regular jumps. This will be because of the demands of positioning the aircraft in relation to each other, the increased altitude and therefore increased freefall drift and in some cases a decision by the organisers position the opening point to influence the canopy pattern. It will often be undesirable to land in the regular landing areas and in some cases it will be impossible. As a result, you need to treat every jump like a demo/display jump, as there’s a fairly good chance that you’ll need to make an off landing at some point. In places like Eloy this may just be a landing in the desert dodging the cacti and thorn bushes. In other DZ’s you could find yourself in a residential area trying to find a suitable landing area, along with a few dozen of your fellow jumpers. If you happen to have a reserve ride (and these tend to be more frequent on these events because pack jobs tend to be rushed) then you’ll probably be at a lower altitude and your problems will be multiplied. If you’re on a small, highly loaded F111 reserve that you’ve never landed before then you’ll probably be wishing that you’d made a different choice when placed the order for your kit. If you do have a mal on a high performance canopy then you don’t really want to find yourself spiralling through a crowded sky full of canopies. When we set the 357 way record I had twists on opening and found myself flying straight towards a one of my teammates with very little ability to do anything about it. Fortunately he was able to take avoiding action and in a few seconds I had the situation under control, but on a more radical canopy that could have been a very different outcome. The argument that faster canopies help reduce congestion in the landing area only works if those small highly-loaded canopies can guarantee to be down first. This isn’t always the case due to the nature of the beast and you certainly don’t want to encourage the people flying these canopies to be throwing-in 720s to make this happen. Neither do you want people sitting on deep brakes on finals or doing S-turns. What you look for on bigways is flexibility and consistency. Everyone is familiar with the ‘dress for success’ mantra when it comes to choosing the combination of jumpsuit size and how much lead to wear. We aim for a mid-range position that allows us the range to go faster or slower depending on the circumstances. We should aim to do the same when it comes to canopy choice so that we have a canopy that will get us down safely in whatever situation we’re presented with. If the hardcore canopy pilots find this approach too boring then they should exclude themselves from bigways and focus on swooping events instead.
  7. So, I'm lying on a concrete runway with a shattered left foot, shattered left elbow, pelvis broken in 6 places, broken right arm and my face cut-up to the point where you could see my skull through the area where my nose should be. The first aider who was looking after me until the ambulance arrived (which took 50 minutes) asked me if I knew where I was and what had happened to me. I was a bit dazed, but my response was that I thought I knew what had happened, but that it didn't make sense because I wasn't in any real pain. The first aider's response was to say "don't worry, it'll hurt later". He wasn't wong! I was given a bit of entonox when the ambulance eventually arrived, but I still wasn't in any real pain at that point. It's amazing how the human body can switch off the pain in this way and deal with keeping the vital functions going.
  8. Plucky Raspberry Pi mascot 'Ted Bull' skydives from 39,000m..... Not as elegant as Felix's exit, but still a record!
  9. Concept of the "lowest common denominator" is at work, too. I think that was Pete Stone's (the OP's) main gripe with the whole concept of tracking teams and it's certainly a factor. Skydiving is dangerous and bigway skydiving is even more dangerous. Because of the numbers of people and the angles involved I think it's probably safer overall to go with the tracking team approach and have a more leisurely yet controlled and systematic approach to breakoff rather than having lots of individuals tracking off like they've just been fired out of cannons.
  10. Are you talking about being 250 yards from the center of the formation? If so, what is the est. of altitude needed to move a group out that far? I would expect greater than 2,500 feet....more, less ? I'm talking about being 500+ yards from where you started. Maybe 8-10 seconds of tracking time and -2k of altitude. On the 400 ways we were initiating breakoff at around 7.5k, so if you're in the first wave you'd be fanning-out at around 5.5k and aiming to be in the saddle at around 2k.
  11. Hey Pete, how are you doing? I can see both sides of the argument, but in general I think that tracking teams do work quite well on extremely big formations, or on some smaller formations such as large stars where most people are on the outside of the formation and there isn’t scope for a staged breakoff. If you look at the theory, then it seems to make sense… If you have a circular formation that has 120 people in the first breakoff wave then 360 degrees divided by 120 people is 3 degrees per person. That’s 1.5 degrees either side, and you and your neighbour’s trajectory only have to be off by 0.75 of a degree to cause you to collide or cross paths. If 10 people are grouped together in a tracking team then they have a 30 degree slice of the pie in which to track together. They can then start to fan-out when they are 500+ yards away from the formation and give themselves enough separation from each other to safe deployments. The World Team organisers came-up with another plan to help breakoff, which was to have ‘tracking pull-outs’. These are usually lightweight people who can track better than most and their job is to be a part of the tracking team, but to gain height relative to the other members of the team then to deploy part-way through the breakoff process. This means there are fewer people in the tracking team when they come to fan-out and we’ve used horizontal as well as vertical separation to make the breakoff process as efficient as possible. I never really liked this approach and don’t think many others did either. Once again, I can see the logic in this approach, because the bigger the formation the earlier we have to start breaking off, unless we can come-up with innovative ways of making the breakoff more efficient. Thinking in three dimensions is one approach, but executing this plan safely is another matter, especially when there are cameramen around who have been briefed to film the breakoffs so that they can be critiqued as part of the debrief process. Obviously in practice breakoffs never work quite as well as they do on paper but the biggest issue I have with this type of breakoff plan is that it’s designed for a completed formation that’s flying well. On bigway attempts there will probably be 10 unsuccessful jumps for every completion and that’s when things get messy. I know you were there when Sandy Wamback was killed, and from what I understand that was a classic example of a breakoff getting messy when the formation hadn’t completed. Having a complex breakoff plan with tracking teams and tracking pull-outs also requires fall-back scenarios in case the tacking team leader isn’t in place at breakoff, or something else goes wrong. All of this adds to the complexity and increases the odd of it all going horribly wrong. At the end of the day we have to either put our trust in the organisers and go with the flow, or choose to walk away from those events where we’re not happy with some aspect of the plan. However, even when we’re happy to go with the plan we all know that things can go wrong. I always aimed to be a better tracker than anyone else, so that I had the option to turn things up a notch and get myself out of trouble if I needed to. Most people, even those who are part of the bigway circuit, don’t seem to put nearly enough effort into refining their tacking skills so it’s not difficult to be well above average and have the capacity to track yourself out of a tight spot. Blue skies and safe jumps. Pete.
  12. What you have is part of an alti designed for military night jumps. The battery box is missing on yours. I have one that's very similar - see photos attached. This also says Altimaster II on the back but the dial is slightly different and mine goes to 12/24k. The label on the battery box (photo c) says Altimeter MA2-30 A. I have no idea when these were made, but I bought mine from a British army surplus shop for a few pounds about 15 years ago. Used it on a couple of night jumps and it's certainly better than trying to attach a cylume to a regular alti.
  13. The photo of the data panel shows a name writen on the reverse of the material. Flipping and rotating the photo shows that the writing says "Robert Johns..." Could be that the rest of the surname is Johnson or Johnstone, or it may even be one of Bob Johns old rigs?
  14. Just to clarify the BPA situation a bit more ... Every jumper must have a valid 'Declaration of Fitness to Parachute' certificate. Up to the age of 40 you can self-decalre your fitness, (provided you meet the baic criteria) and you need to re-do this declaration every 10 years. From 40 onwards, or if you don't meet the basic fitness criteria, you need the okay from a doctor. This can be for upto 10 years until age 50, then for upto 3 years. The BPA Operations Manual also states: "No person under the age of 16 years, or aged 55 years or over, will be permitted to carry out initial ‘solo’ parachute training. Exceptions to the higher age limit may be permitted if the person has previous recorded parachute experience (not to include Student Tandem Parachutist descents). Higher age limits for Student Tandem Parachutists may be acceptable (see BPA Form 115 – Student Tandem Parachutist Declaration of Fitness to Parachute/Doctor’s certificate)." There have been odd cases where people aged over 55 have been granted an exemption to this rule by the Safety & Training Committee, but I don't recall very many. Of course, there's nothing to stop someone going abroad and getting the necessary firts jump training, then coming back to the UK and jumping, provided their doctor will stamp their medical decalaration.
  15. AAD’s were made mandatory for tandems in the UK a couple of days after the John Farr tandem fatality at BPS Langar in early August ’93. The Mike Smith/Ronnie O’Brien incident that you saw on the TV happened at Sibson in May ’91. Ronnie was awarded a medal (the QGM I think) for his actions that day, which almost certainly saved the lives of Mike and his student.
  16. It certainly has been done in the UK and the guy that did it was awarded the George Medal. "Staff Sergeant Mick Reeves was awarded the George Medal for saving the life of a student who had static line hang-up at Halfpenny Green in 1966. As jumpmaster, Mick Reeves climbed down the line, cutting it free, free-falling with the student and deploying his reserve. Both landed safely."
  18. This is a picture from Duffy Fainer's website. It's a 114-way at this point, because the 10 way sacrificial base is still in place. I believe this qualified as the biggest 2-point skydive at the time, as well as resulting in a 104-way star.
  19. I remember seeing this on television in the UK before I started jumping - I’d guess around 1983, or ’84. At the time I remember thinking how cool this stuff was and that I really wanted to be able to fly like these guys. It didn’t make me rush out and sign-up for a first jump course, mostly because I’m afraid of heights so the idea of intentionally throwing myself out of a plane seemed like a bit of a non-starter. However, a couple of year later a group of friends signed-up for a static-line course and (after several beers) managed to persuade me to give it a go as well. Looking back I’ve always thought that this and one of the Leo Dickinson films that was shown at about the same time played a big part in me doing my first jump, despite my fear of heights. So Paul I owe you a very big ‘thank you’ for helping get me in to the sport. Pete.
  20. I disagree. If a pilot chute goes out the door then the jumper connected to it is going to manufacture a new door opening, somewhere between the trailing edge of the existing door and the tail of the aircraft. Not only will this severely compromise the structural integrity of the aircraft but it’s very likely that the control mechanisms will also be damaged in the process – not great for anyone still in the aircraft, especially the poor pilot. Don’t be fooled into thinking that the jumper will be able to respond quickly enough by diving out of the door after their pilot chute – if they were that switched-on then they wouldn’t have gotten themselves into this situation in the first place. Hopefully we’ll never get see which one of us is right about this. Pete.
  21. The BPA operations manual says "Where parachutists restraints are fitted, they are to be used during take off and landing."
  23. To be able to attend the TBI course you also need: "A written recommendation by a CCI who has known the candidate for a minimum of six months and has seen him/her regularly parachuting during that period."