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  1. bryanburke

    Exhibition or off-dz rig

    Time Left: 4 days and 23 hours

    • FOR SALE
    • USED

    I put this rig together for exhibition jumps and off-dz jumps. It has carried up to 1000 square foot flags with ease, as well as a 40 pound pack of miscellaneous equipment into remote area jumps. The container is a Talon 2, reserve is a Smart 250, and there are two mains. One is a sky blue PD Silhouette 230 with about 300 jumps on it (granted, many at Burning Man!) and the other is a custom 265 s.f. Fury 7-cell from Flight Concepts. It is like-new with very few jumps. Both open very nicely, soft and on-heading. The reserve has one intentional jump on it. The Silhouette has a great glide and the Fury is fast for a 7-cell with microline, collapsible slider, and collapsible pilot chute. It has a much better glide and a lot more speed than a Sharpchuter or similar demo canopy. The rig is in good condition but does not have an AAD. I can add an RSL. Beneath each mud flap is a slink-type loop for mounting packs. (Bottom attachment is done by lateral band to the harness hip ring.) The size is T7 (550/650) so it's a tight pack job for both the reserve and the 265 Fury, but certainly manageable. It can be seen and/or jumped at Skydive Arizona. If you want to jump it give me a couple days to get the reserve re-packed.


    Eloy, Arizona - US

  2. I've been an STA since they were ASOs. For the last dozen years I've been keeping records of all of our reserve rides, injury accidents, and even most incidents that could have resulted in accidents. And, unfortunately, a number of fatalities. I agree with the people who say the amount of data isn't really enough to draw firm conclusions, but I think there is enough to suggest some things. Before I go into some examples, let me mention an area where accident reporting has done some good and I think we can learn from it - skiing, specifically the work of the National Ski Patrol to collect and analyze accident reports. Two examples that really stand out are binding/boot interactions and ski pole design. In the first case, when rigid plastic boots became the norm and bindings were not very good, there were a lot of leg fractures at the boot top. Bindings got better, and then the injury trend (over years, mind you) moved to torn ligaments in the knee. Bindings were releasing in most falls at this point, but not in backwards twisting falls, where the toe piece failed to release because they had only been designed to release sideways, and there was insufficient pressure on the heel piece to release. The answer was to design toe pieces that could release from upward pressure as well as sideways. People still get leg injuries in falls, but the bindings improved dramatically over twenty years in response to information about how legs were being injured. With the case of ski poles, in the early 60s they were still basically cross country poles, with a webbed basket base and a thin handle. Besides the baskets catching on things like branches, there were a lot of eye injuries when people fell against the pole and the handle penetrated the eye. That's why all poles now have a top of the handle that is too big to penetrate the eye, and the baskets are designed not to catch on stuff. How does this apply to skydiving? As an example, my data suggests wingsuits are more likely to have malfunctions. How do I know? If they make about seven percent of all jumps but are more than ten percent of the reserve rides, maybe there is a corrollation. I'll wait a couple of years and see. Does it matter? Maybe. Even if they don't get hurt they are more likely to lose a main. And does the type matter? I don't know yet, but this year we're starting to collect that. I can say that the single highest cause of reserve rides at Skydive Arizona is high wing loadings on elipticals. (Of course, nobody jumps elliptical canopies at low wing loadings.) The second biggest cause is toggle problems. Premature releases, mostly, but also knots or similar problems from the loose lower section getting caught on the toggle, guide ring, or around the riser. This was a virtually unheard of malfunction when we still used velcro to secure the toggle and steering line loop. So if you don't want to ride your reserve, jump a seven cell at a moderate wing loading and get an extremely secure toggle system. These are very clear choices that would reduce our reserve ride rate by a lot. But many people weigh the cool factor of the fast canopy over the reserve ride factor. Twice (in a couple million jumps) we've had canopy lines half-hitch around a side container flap during deployment, creating an un-releasable main malfunction. In one case the reserve inflated but was slowly choked by the main, resulting in two badly broken legs. In the second case the free-bag and pilot chute spun up with the streamering main, but somehow the reserve made it out of the bag and opened in time. Frankly I thought I was going to watch the guy streamer in. When I saw the free-bag and pilot chute almost hidden inside the main lines and fabric, it was just a miracle the reserve got out cleanly. Both times, ten years apart, had the same configuration: worn pull-out deployment system AND the same container model where the side flaps are squared off at the bottom rather than angled or rounded. Does this make it a bad system? Not really, in fact it is very popular. But not the one I would chose because this is not how I want to die. Another interesting statistic: women are less than half as likely as men to die in a skydiving accident. Changing attitudes would save a lot more skydivers than changing gear. All that stuff about too small a sample, constant changes in gear... that is true. But we might be able to draw at least some conclusions. However, there's another problem that hasn't been mentioned. I have the data to determine what the main, reserve, and container distribution of Skydive Arizona's boogie population is, over many years. I have their jump numbers, preferred discipline in the sport, gender, and age. I have the accident reports and reserve ride reports. What I don't have is the time to put it altogether, and we can't afford to hire someone to do it. It might never be put to use because of that. But I keep it anyway, in the hope that someday I'll be able to use it, or find an eager student wanting to do a dissertation on skydiving accidents. Bryan Burke S&TA at Skydive Arizona
  3. bryanburke

    When Right is Wrong

    By Bryan Burke, Safety and Training Advisor Image by Serge Shakuto In March of 2017 I posted a review of a canopy collision that took place at Skydive Arizona on December 30, 2016. The post included two videos, one shot by a participant in the collision and one shot by an outside observer. The videos make it pretty clear what happened and I hoped they would spur discussion about traffic management. If you have not read the thread in the Incidents Forum and watched the videos it might be helpful to do so before reading on. Before going on, though, let me caution the readers about a few things. One, some of the comments to my post are stated in a way that suggests the commentator knew what was actually going on in the heads of the two who collided. We don't know, and this kind of baseless assertion seriously diminishes the usefulness of the Forum. Two, if you watch closely there was traffic to both right and left of the overtaking canopy. Lens distortion makes it hard to know just where it was in the final seconds before the collision, but it may have affected the decision making of the top canopy pilot. We could argue endlessly about whether or not the top pilot could have avoided the collision. The fact is that he did not come up with a solution to the problem fast enough to avoid it. Three, the landing area is tight even without heavy traffic. Nevertheless, this collision could have occurred anywhere because it essentially was caused by one parachute turning into the path of another, which is the ultimate cause of almost every canopy collision. Finally, Skydive Arizona does have a lot of guidelines because we have a lot of visitors from drop zones that apparently don't. Breaking the rules isn't a grounding offense in most situations. In this particular case I doubt if either collision participant was actively thinking about those guidelines. In all likelihood the bottom jumper let established habits override the guidelines, and the other was trying to deal with that. I found it worrisome that several people staunchly defended the concept that "Low Canopy has Right of Way" overrides all other considerations under canopy. In this case the low canopy was almost entirely responsible for the collision and the event never would have occurred if that person had flown in a safe, predictable manner. I want to review the concept of Right of Way and challenge whether it is even a useful or safe idea to teach in skydiving when expressed as an absolute. If we are going to retain the concept we need to understand the origins and the exceptions. Technically the term Right of Way has nothing to do with navigation by boat, car, parachute, or other conveyance. It is a legal term to describe access to property. For example, if my land is surrounded on all sides by someone else's land, I can be granted a legal Right of Way to my land. Similarly, if tradition allows the public to cross private land at a specific place, a Right of Way exists. At some point the phrase was adopted to nautical traffic, although technically the proper phrasing is "give way" as "In situation X, vessel 1 gives way to vessel 2." But to be absolutely clear, the rules about who gives way in traffic have a lot of exceptions, all based on common sense. Ultimately they are intended to minimize confusion and de-conflict traffic problems, but they are not in any way absolute rules. Here are some examples: A powered vessel gives way to a sailing vessel. Unless the powered vessel is actively fishing, or needs a deep channel that the sailboat does not. And any sailor with an iota of experience and common sense knows that sailing a yacht in front of a massive container ship is a sure way to be run down, regardless of your unpowered status. Between two sailboats, the default rule is that a vessel on a port tack gives way to one on a starboard tack. For those who aren't sailors, that means if the wind is coming over your left side, you give way to a boat that has the wind coming over its right side. In fact this is probably where the phrase "right of way" comes from because the boat on the starboard tack is to the right of a line drawn back to front through the boat on the port tack, and vice versa. Eventually this was applied to cars: if two cars were approaching a crossroads, the one to the right had ‘right of way.’ Obviously this didn't work very well with cars, or we would not need four-way stop signs or roundabouts. But for the purposes of this discussion, we're much more like sailboats than we are like cars or powerboats. To further confuse things, if we go back to sailing there are many more exceptions to the rule. A windward vessel gives way to leeward. Shallow draft gives way to deep draft in a narrow channel. An overtaking vessel gives way to the slower vessel, ideally passing to the rear if they are on different courses. But most importantly for applying these guidelines to skydiving, the vessel being overtaken is obliged to maintain course and speed, or if it must maneuver, clearly signal its intention! Parallels in skydiving would be that a canopy over open area should give way to one over obstacles, higher to lower, and so on. But regardless of the guidelines, it is understood that the root rule is all flight in the landing pattern must be predictable! Without predictable flight no set of guidelines or rules can prevent collisions. This collision came down to that: an unnecessary and unpredictable turn into the path of an overtaking canopy. Let's also get over the idea that all parachutes are similar in handling characteristics and therefore a blanket rule can keep them safely separated. For example, USPA asks Group Member Drop Zones to separate "high performance" landings from - presumably - ordinary landings. What does that mean? A Valkyrie at 2.4 on a straight approach is going as fast as a Sabre 2 at 1.2 coming out of a 180. It's too much to ask skydivers to sort themselves by canopy type, wing loading, and flying style other than by a general designation of high performance landing areas. In Skydive Arizona's case, we limit one landing area to turns of 90 or less, and nowhere do we allow turns over 180. (Except when the jumper exits on a pass dedicated to HP landing.) However, we do ask that people refrain from S turns or flying at an angle across the final approach. This is something we should expect of everyone, and if everyone does it, there should be minimal problems with a fast parachute finding a clear lane next to a slow parachute. In the collision in question, the low parachute failed in the most basic of navigation duties: maintain course and speed and make your intentions clear. This is a cultural issue. Older skydivers or those taught by older skydivers may have been taught that right-of-way is absolute, taught without the essential caveat “maintain course and speed, make intentions clear.” It may also involve drop zone culture; wide open DZs without much traffic seem to neglect canopy control skills and DZs where people don't travel much may spend little time teaching their jumpers what to look out for when they visit a big DZ. We used to teach people to fly in deep brakes and perform S turns to fine tune their landing point. Now we know this is dangerous in traffic and we don't teach it any more. There is no reason a big seven cell can't safely land in the same area as a tiny, ultra-high performance canopy, but not when using obsolete rules of the road. The low person does not have the right to turn into the path of an overtaking canopy, period. Finally, low or high, never assume you know where all the traffic is. The assumption you should make is that there is overtaking traffic above and behind, in your blind spot, and you must fly predictably to minimize the chances of them colliding with you.
  4. bryanburke

    4 Smart Questions That Shut Down The Spin Cycle

    Skydive Arizona probably has the largest data base of reserve rides in the world -several years of trying to get details on every reserve ride at the busiest DZ on the planet. Two things stand out. One: spinning line twist malfunctions are the single biggest cause of reserve rides. The probability of this malfunction goes up geometrically with wing loading. SLT malfunctions are very rare below about 1.4. Two: the second biggest cause of malfunctions at SDAZ is brake problems. Stuck toggle, brake fire, brake line tied to toggle, guide ring, hand, etc. These often result in SLT malfunctions. Premature toggle release was virtually unheard of before Velcro-less systems. Get a very solid toggle retention system on your risers. Bryan Burke STA at SDAZ
  5. bryanburke

    How Density Affects Your Destiny

    While it isn't perfect, here's a useful rule of thumb. For every thousand feet above where you are used to jumping, or for every ten degrees F above what you are used to, you are downsizing about 3 to 4 %. So if you normally jump close to sea level in 80 degree temps, and you go to Moab at the same temps, your 150 square foot canopy just downsized itself to a 120. Sea level, 80 degrees, Eloy at 100 degrees, you just lost 15% of your normal wing. (1,500' elevation plus 20* temp change) So be conservative, do everything higher, sooner, and slower.