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Everything posted by kkeenan

  1. It’s an old topic and one that plenty of folks feel they don’t need to be lectured about. However a fatality that occurred yesterday at a boogie should remind us that inappropriate reactions can get you killed. All the facts of this accident aren’t in, but it appears that two canopies were close in the landing area and one pilot took evasive action that caused a fatally-hard landing. There may have been contact between the wings and a resultant instability. But here’s my point: Seeing other airborne traffic and constantly analyzing it is absolutely necessary if you are landing with more than a couple other canopies in a field. If you’re landing with a group and you don’t feel that you can do it safely, land farther away. Every DZ I’ve ever seen has extra wide-open area away from the “center-stage glory area” for landing. In a more open area, you have a much less intense workload when it comes to separation. When landing with multiple canopies, you have to start scoping out the others way before turning on final approach. If everyone is competent, the approaches will be very close to parallel - but it’s never exact. People will be slightly diverging or converging. You have to monitor this in real time and make small corrections as needed. You should never be surprised by the appearance of a canopy in your peripheral vision. You should already know where it is. But here’s the important part. If you do get surprised, don’t overreact. You must avoid the instinct to bury a toggle to get away from the threat. The chances are great that a small input of a few degrees will give the separation you need. Making a hard turn at a low altitude will almost always get you hurt. It’s hard to overcome a reflexive reaction like that, but it can come with experience. I don’t know if this latest accident fits the profile of circumstances I’ve described, and it doesn’t matter. Abrupt low altitude turns hurt and kill people. Work your way up to landing in a crowded environment. Don’t endanger yourself and others by getting in over you head. Many people come to boogies from small DZs where there are never more than 4 people landing at a time. Landing with a 20-person Otter load can very easily overtax a person’s capacity. The jump’s not over until you’re safely on the ground. Sorry to be so preachy, but when you get old in this sport it’s hard to see people repeat actions that have killed many in the past. Kevin K.
  2. kkeenan

    Jack Ceman (jceman)

    Blue Skies, Jack.
  3. There was a pretty gnarly story of someone impacting the runway in a track right in front of the packing area. They said that teeth were found imbedded in the runway. I think the beer light was probably on when I heard the story, so the details are somewhat vague. Kevin K.
  4. Sometimes, folks didn’t get by with the “unsafe” acts. Quite often at WFFC, ambulances would be passing each other, coming and going at the DZ. Kevin K.
  5. Having been a skydiver for a lot of years, I’ve seen plenty of friends resume jumping following surgical repair or replacement of hips, knees, etc. I’m wondering if any active dz.com jumpers have had shoulder replacement and resumed skydiving afterward. I’ve had rotator cuff surgery in the past, and resumed both Formation Skydiving and Canopy Formation at a fairly high level. The total shoulder replacement, however, is a whole new level. Kevin K.
  6. Juiciest gossip to appear here in quite a while. Never a dull moment at Lodi. Kevin K. _____________________________________ Dude, you are so awesome... Can I be on your ash jump ?
  7. kkeenan

    Any SAFE full-face helmets out there?

    In Canopy Formation jumping, head protection is frequently needed, due to possibly violent mid-air impacts. Since it's not freefall and speech and hearing are essential, open-face helmets are usually worn. Ski helmets are ideal because of light weight and strength. Most are far better protection than any skydiving helmet. Years ago, the alternative to the flexible leather "frap hat", was a hockey helmet. The aerodynamics of modern full-face are probably better than a hockey or ski helmet. With one of those, the strap would have to be pretty tight to hold it on in a face-to-earth position. Most skydiving helmets have a better tightening system that grips around the back of the head as well as under the chin. To answer your main question - Yes, skydiving helmets are poor protection for major crashes. They mostly help only for a kick or elbow to the head or incidental bump against the airplane door frame. If you want more protection than that, there's nothing wrong with wearing your ski helmet and skydive goggles. Kevin K. _____________________________________ Dude, you are so awesome... Can I be on your ash jump ?
  8. kkeenan

    Night CF with firework

    The purpose of the jump is to produce a dramatic and visually stimulating show. Clearly, it succeeds in this. The folks who planned the jump and designed the equipment are very experienced and highly qualified. Procedures have been developed, discussed and trained and participants are carefully vetted as to their individual suitability for the jump. Having said all that, there is no doubt that it is an extremely hazardous jump. As has been discussed, there are worst-case scenarios that could produce tragic outcomes. All of skydiving contains jumps that are more hazardous than others. We all participate at our own level of comfort. More can go wrong on a big-way than on a solo. More can go wrong on a swoop than on an accuracy jump. As much as we successfully complete even the simplest of jumps, none of us (hopefully) thinks the hazards are zero. Many people allow themselves to be influenced by the WOW value of a particular jump. Flying a wingsuit even closer to a rock wall than the previous YouTube flyby may be one example. The biggest challenge seems to be rationally evaluating the risks without being swayed by the fact that the jump will be so incredibly spectacular that it will be seen and cheered by the whole world. That's a strong influence to try to ignore. People jump from deadly stratospheric altitudes, people jump without parachutes into a net, or land a wingsuit onto a pile of cardboard boxes. All of these folks have made that evaluation and that choice. Back to the night CRW pyro jump. The one in the linked video took place in Qatar. Similar jumps have been done by the same organizers in Florida. I know everyone involved in that jump. They all are cognizant of and accepting of the risks. There is no doubt that there are unsurvivable combinations of events that are possible. Nothing bad has happened on these, yet, but we all (hopefully) recognize that doesn't mean zero risk. There are experienced CRWDogs who choose not to perform these jumps. There are less experienced CRWDogs who want to, but have not been selected. We can't reduce the risk to zero and (even if we don't admit it ) there is always an element of luck in skydiving. Our objective in all of our risky activities is to make the best of what luck brings us, but to hedge our bets with knowledge, planning and awareness. Kevin Keenan _____________________________________ Dude, you are so awesome... Can I be on your ash jump ?
  9. kkeenan

    Aerodyne Changes

    These forums are so educational. Thanks. 😃
  10. kkeenan

    Aerodyne Changes

    On the subject of their website, I noticed something strange. In the "Canopies" section, under "Triathalon", the second two columns of text are in Latin. However, it doesn't really translate to anything. I guess just a placeholder for future text insertion provided by the website-building software. Still, a bit strange looking. Kevin K. _____________________________________ Dude, you are so awesome... Can I be on your ash jump ?
  11. Thanks, Jimmy. I think I found the info I was looking for. Hope you're doing well. Kevin K.
  12. kkeenan

    Magnets, Bitch !

    I won't claim the idea, bit I heard that a name had already been given to a theoretical pilotchute-in-tow mal in which the magnets in riser covers latch onto the magnets in a D-bag and stop the deployment. It would be called a Mag Lock. :-)
  13. kkeenan

    Magnets, Bitch !

    One of my favorite lines from, "Breaking Bad". After 40-something years of skydiving, I still run into odd stuff. Climbing to altitude in the Twin Otter at DeLand yesterday, I pulled out my little tin box of Altoid mints to pass around. That plane has straddle-type seats, so everyone is packed in facing aft in the cabin. As I was holding the mint box, trying to get it open, I felt the box pulling strangely in my hand. Just as I got the lid open, the box jumped out of my hand, spilled all the mints, and stuck to the riser cover of the guy sitting in front of me. I hadn't realized until that moment that I had been holding it directly over the magnetic closure of the riser cover of the guy's Vector container. Those are some strong magnets Mr. Booth puts in those things. Kevin K. _____________________________________ Dude, you are so awesome... Can I be on your ash jump ?
  14. Are there issues of "Skydiving" magazine viewable online ? I'm interested in 1980 issues. Kevin K.
  15. kkeenan

    Rapid Transit System (1980s)

    I've been looking at discussions about the RTS, built in the late '70s - early '80s. The rig had reversed the locations of the cutaway and the reserve handles. This led to some controversy and some accidents. I don't recall that the throw-out pilot chute was made to pull from the left side. I'm sure this could be done as an option, but does anyone remember if this was a standard feature ? Kevin K. _____________________________________ Dude, you are so awesome... Can I be on your ash jump ?
  16. kkeenan

    Mirage Canopy Size Charts

    I've emailed Mirage with this question, and not had a reply. Maybe some here can offer an opinion. I'm not looking to bash Mirage, as I think they make great rigs. The company has published (via Facebook) a new set of sizing compatability charts. The recommended reserve sizes for each container have been dropped down by one size. i.e. The OLD chart for my G4.1 M1 shows the PDR-143 as "Optimal" fit. The NEW chart shows PDR-126 or Optima 143 as the only allowable PD reserves. I've heard speculation as to the reasons for this, and suspect that Mirage is looking to avoid liability issues associated with "over stuffing" reserve containers and associated slowing of freebag extraction. But here's my question. The OLD chart was in effect at the time I got the rig and I have been jumping it with a PDR-143, which was called for in the OLD chart. My question is about the legality of this assembly. If a rigger is obligated to follow the manufacturer's directives, is it now illegal to pack a PDR-143 in this rig ? The text with the NEW chart clearly says not to substitute canopies. Adding to the confusion, both sets of charts are currently available online. Mirage has many, many rigs in use worldwide. I believe that the sizes, i.e., M0, M1, M2, etc. have been consistent for a long time, along with the OLD compatability chart. If the NEW chart carries the authority of Manufacturer's Directive, it would seem that many rigs should be grounded as improper assemblies. Kevin K.
  17. kkeenan

    Mirage Sizing Confusion

    I would like to preface with the fact that I love Mirage gear. I think it's the best-designed and manufactured harness and container system out there. I own multiple Mirage rigs for freefall and CRW, and love everything about them. That said, there's a big difference between designing / building a great product and operating a company in the optimum way to give the best service to its customers. I have some issues with the latter and I hope these can be viewed in the constructive spirit that I offer them. It seems that the sizing guidance for fitting particular models of containers with particular canopy sizes has changed. I'm not sure whether or not this is in response to a perceived "tight fit" issue with reserve containers, which has been talked about for a long time. Mirage seems to have changed all reserve container size recommendations up one size for each reserve size. For example, the M1 size, which always listed the PD143R as "optimal" fit, now recommends the PD126R as the proper canopy with no "tight, loose, or optimal" judgements. Further, they recommend that no deviations be made from the listed canopies. The models in the Mirage line have not changed sizes, indeed there are plenty in use worldwide for many years. New canopies are being built all the time, but some, like the PD-R have been around, unchanged, for equally many years. It's certainly the prerogative of a manufacturer to change things like the philosophy of "tightness" regarding a parachute container. Considering the trend of a few years for many manufacturers to (IMO) push the envelope of reserve tightness, I applaude Mirage's move to loosen their reserve fit and to make their spec.s not quite so vague. The problem comes in the dissemination of their Manufacturer's Specifications to the public. Please pardon my Old Guy point of view, but I don't think that Facebook should be the primary source. (I also don't think that U. S. Government policy should be administered via Twitter, but that's a different subject.) The official Mirage sizing and other data is currently listed on Facebook, while the entire set of original (Outdated?) data is listed on the Mirage Company website. The explanation given to me by the company is that it's taking a long time to fix the site. Apparently, the "Under Construction" graphic on the site is official notification that anything stated there as company policy isn't really to be believed, including many pages of technical data. It also says to check FB for updated data. I'm no Webmaster or HTML wizard, but I've heard of people making changes to websites fairly quickly and this situation has existed for over a year. As riggers, we (at least a lot of us) are trained to research and comply with manufacturers specifications. I think that the manufacturers should also be obliged to present their data in accessable form (preferably not two different sets at the same time). As I said, I am a big fan of Mirage gear. It saddens me that a company of this stature and reputation should have as its public presentation such a bizarrely goofy and confusing set of information. Kevin Keenan Titusville FL _____________________________________ Dude, you are so awesome... Can I be on your ash jump ?
  18. kkeenan

    cutaway or rears?

    On a Sabre 150 with a knotted brake line, I figured that fixing the line later was cheaper than a reserve repack. I cut the knotted line with my hook knife and landed on rears. I agree with the reluctance to leave a (mostly) functional main for an reserve. Yes, they "always" work, but there's still that limited bucket of luck. That being said, if you have any doubt about landing a main, trust your reserve. Kevin K. _____________________________________ Dude, you are so awesome... Can I be on your ash jump ?
  19. kkeenan

    Advice on cutaways

    Not completely on-topic, but it seems that Bob Church and I occupied the same airspace, but at different times. During a CRW boogie at ZHills, the ceiling was very low and we had a bunch of CrwDogs itching to jump. We decided to have a 4-Stack competition from about 2800', each team exiting one after the other on a single pass. It was going to be so low that our friends would judge the fastest stack by timing each one from the ground. For some reason, this all seemed reasonable at the time. We were only doing 4-stacks, so what could go wrong? My CRW flying wasn't so great, and I missed my first approach on my stack. Worrying about the completion time, I rushed like crazy to dock my second approach. I hit my targeted teammate, Frank, but with so much speed that my canopy wrapped completely around his body. Looking up at the wrap, I knew it was never coming loose. I checked my altimeter and saw it reading just below 1000'. I remember thinking, "Jeez, this better be quick", and I chopped it instantly. My left hand hadn't even gotten to the reserve handle by the time my right hand pulled the cutaway. (No RSLs are used in CRW) As I pulled the reserve, I looked down and saw that I was directly over that set of sewage tanks that Bob described. There's pretty much nothing to do on a cutaway following the reserve pull other than stay stable and hang out. I didn't even want to look over my shoulder for fear of getting unstable. I know now that it was a pretty quick deployment, but I had time to think that maybe cutting away wasn't a good idea, because those tanks were getting big very quickly. Just then, the reserve opened. I popped the brakes loose, thinking, "OK, which way was the landing wind ?" At the same time I realized that I was too low to turn and landed straight ahead. The reserve ride was approx. 20 seconds. Frank flew directly toward the sewage tanks for several hundred feet because my main was still covering his head. He eventually got his head out and turned away from the tanks, landing with the main still wrapped around him. This story probably has very little relevance to this thread other than, "Don't ever do this". There are many reasons that a non-RSL cutaway at a low altitude can cause you to arrive at the ground at a fatal speed. Clearly, doing CRW below a safe hard deck should not be attempted. The fact that this one worked out was certainly due more to luck than proper planning. I believe we all spent the rest of that low-ceiling day at the DZ bar. (And for me, a brief talk with the S&TA.) Sorry to hijack John's very instructive thread, but it's a hell of a jump story. Kevin K. _____________________________________ Dude, you are so awesome... Can I be on your ash jump ?
  20. Yes. Transition to a bit of a "head high" attitude from the track by flaring with your hands somewhat forward of your head. Bring the knees forward so that your thighs are about 90 degrees from your chest for a few seconds. This gives a "speed brake" effect to your forward movement. Kevin K. _____________________________________ Dude, you are so awesome... Can I be on your ash jump ?
  21. kkeenan

    Pat Works

    Blue Skies to my fellow Aggie, Pat Works.
  22. kkeenan

    Scotty Carbone

    Blue Skies, Scotty. He was definitely a nutter. I always respected his organizing the WFFC demo into the Veterans Home in Quincy IL each year. Thanks for the memories, Scotty. Kevin K.
  23. kkeenan

    Old Time Kicker Plate

    For anyone looking to own one of these fine pieces of history, there is now an ad in the Misc. category of the Classified section of Dropzone.com. Kevin
  24. kkeenan

    Old Time Kicker Plate

    I have a stack of Kicker Plates from the Olden Days. Does anyone buy them for any reason, or should I just send them to the aluminum recycler ? Kevin K. _____________________________________ Dude, you are so awesome... Can I be on your ash jump ?
  25. kkeenan

    Stinky Canopy

    A Jedi 105 was recently unpacked from storage with some other gear. All of the gear is pretty old and the DOM of the Jedi is sometime in the 90s. The Jedi seems to have very little use and fabric is still crinkley and new-feeling. The problem is a smell that hasn't gone away with airing out and a few jumps. There isn't any apparent mold or dead animals involved, just a rank, puke-like smell that almost cleared out the packing area at the local DZ. It was bad enough to gag some packers, which is a pretty high bar for funky smells. With the great knowledge base connected to this forum, I imagine that every sort of smell that a parachute can possibly acquire has been encountered. I'm hoping that someone can share a good remedy for a canopy that flies great but can't be exposed in polite company. Thanks for any ideas you can share. Kevin K. _____________________________________ Dude, you are so awesome... Can I be on your ash jump ?