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Everything posted by MJH

  1. The attached article discusses why risky activities, such as skydiving, are part of a life well lived. http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2006/12/avoid_danger_prolong_life_at_w.html Although the author is not a skydiver, he provides a thoughful rejoinder to those who say the risks of skydiving, mountain climbing, etc. necessarily outweigh the rewards. Enjoy.
  2. I posted Miss Kinney's opinion on this forum but, before that, she published her column on the World Wide Web. Having shared her views with an international audience, Miss Kinney can hardly complain when people from far-off places share their reactions with her. I do agree, however, that people who write to Miss Kinney or the Inquirer should be polite. The woman wrote a half-baked opinion piece. For that, she deserves honest criticism, but no more.
  3. After acknowledging that skydiving at Cross Keys began when the area was rural, and that there have been 27 fatalities in the last three million jumps nationwide, Monica Yant Kinney calls skydivers "nuts" and essentially calls for Cross Keys to be shut down -- because it is a threat to the people who decided to live near a dropzone. http://www.philly.com/mld/philly/news/15495852.htm But at least that was an opinion piece. Here is what passes for news: http://www.philly.com/mld/philly/news/15495868.htm The headline in the print edition is "Deaths of 2 men are brief interruption at skydiving school." The editors of the on-line version wisely toned down that headline, but the subtext of the article is the same: skydivers at Cross Keys are callous to the deaths of their own. The reporter did not quote one experienced skydiver who criticized the decision to jump on Sunday after the fatalities, probably because few would do so. As John Eddowes said, the ethics of the sport dictate otherwise. That may be difficult for those who do not jump to grasp (heck, sometimes it's difficult for me to grasp), but I doubt that many drop zones would have made a different decision. Today's Inquirer illustrates how some who have never jumped perceive our sport as the province of the callous and the deranged. One almost gets the sense that these people do not understand that, life being a series of calculated risks, the surest way to waste a life is not to take any of them. For many, the risks of skydiving outweigh the benefits. I respect that. There is no sense in making the gamble that skydiving entails if you don't enjoy it. For others, myself included, there is a beauty and truth in 65 seconds of freefall that justifies taking the chance that something will go horribly wrong. I wish the Inquirer respected that, but it doesn't.
  4. I graduated from the static line course at Great Lakes in 2004. Dennis's steady competence and enthusiasm for the sport made training at Great Lakes a lot of fun and were important factors that led me to make skydiving a part of my life. Blue skies, Dennis, and my condolences to the Great Lakes community.
  5. An understandable response, but perhaps you posted in a moment of anger. The article is, for the most part, correct. The reporter doesn't come across as somebody who has an axe to grind. Yes, she mentions that Cross Keys suffered several other fatalities. That's an unpleasant reminder, but it's something that people considering the sport should consider, in context. I can see where you're coming from, but I don't think it was fair to call the reporter a bitch.
  6. The Philadelphia Inquirer just published an article on Cross Keys: http://www.philly.com/mld/philly/news/12102488.htm
  7. I'm not 100% certain, but it is hard for me to picture myself having done that. Then again, I packed this rig five weeks before jumping it, so my memory is not very good.
  8. Hmmm. So I may not have done anything wrong after all. A thought that is both comforting and disturbing. My rigger is inspecting the rig this week. It may be. Thanks.
  9. QuoteAgain, did you unhook the 3 rings. Quote No, I didn't unhook the 3 rings.
  10. Neither do I. In any event, I separated and walked through the lines, etc.
  11. I can't really understand that part, other than picturing your canopy flying backwards. Can you elaborate? Alas, I can't add much to what I said. At first I though I had line twists (which I did, but which were incidental to my real problem) and spent time trying to kick out. Then I saw the risers in an X through one another in front of me, tried and failed to separate them, determined I could not land the canopy, and cut because I was at my hard deck. I didn't have as much time to study the problem as I would have liked.
  12. No. That canopy had been attached to the harness for about 80 jumps.Quote
  13. I deployed my canopy yesterday from a stable body position. On deployment, my risers were crossed in an x in front of me, and I had minor line twists. The risers, however, were crossed through one another, and were impossible to separate. When I hit my hard deck, I was satisfied that I could not control my main well enough to land it. So I chopped and landed under my reserve. I packed my own main. Some at my DZ think a step-through caused the malfunction; others (including a rigger) say that it could not have been. I don't know what to think. All of which I am certain is that I did something wrong and I'd rather not repeat the error. Does anybody have any thoughts on what might have caused the malfunction? Thanks.
  14. The reason it would be wrong to lie about jump numbers lies in the answer to this question: "If I or somebody else got hurt because I lied my way into a jump for which I wasn't ready, how would I feel?" The reason it would be stupid to lie about jump numbers lies in the answer to this question: "If somebody else got hurt because I lied my way into a jump, how would I satisfy the judgment after I were found liable for negligence or fraudulent concealment?" Honesty is the best policy.
  15. I have about 60 jumps on my Dolphin, and I can't think of one bad thing to say about it. Granted, all of those jumps have been RW, so I can't attest to how the Dolphin does in FF. And this is the only rig I've owned, so it's not as though I have much of a standard of comparison. That said, I can't imagine that I would have been any more satisfied had I bought a more expensive container. I have never regretted buying the Dolphin.
  16. I got my new Tony suit 11 jumps ago, and I noticed two huge differences. First, it solved my fall-rate problems. My old jumpsuit was tight-fitting and without booties, and I tended to fall too fast. No more. Second, I now move forward much faster when I stick my legs out. As to the latter point, I'd like to reiterate what an earlier poster wrote: be cautious on your first few jumps. When swooping toward another skydiver or other skydivers, you may notice that the same bodily adjustments that were effective before now result in an approach that is too aggressive. When you turn and track on breakoff, you may find that you track farther than you used to. The key precaution is to give yourself some leeway while you're getting used to your new jumpsuit.
  17. President Bush is coming to Philly tomorrow for the Army-Navy game. Due to restrictions on airspace, there will be no jumps at Cross Keys from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. There is, however, also good news. I just talked with Kim at the DZ and was told that the Caravan departs X Keys at 8:30, and the Porter departs around 11:15, for Sussex. Return flights are after the sunset load. The forecast is for a beautiful (if not terribly warm) day, so it looks as though Sussex is in my future.
  18. I had the same problems with my new Sabre 2 until an experienced skydiver recommended that, once I got the canopy into a cigar shape, I s-fold only the top half, put it in the bag, and then flip over and shove the bottom half right in the middle of the bag. Almost all of my openings since then have been soft and on-heading, and my pack jobs are infinitely less frustrating. I've had good experiences packing this way for about 30 jumps. Either I'm using a good method, or I've just been lucky.
  19. [Whats everyone think? a 190 or 225 for a first rig?] I'm almost exactly your height and weight (assuming 180 refers to your natural weight, not door weight), and I have been happy with the Sabre 2 190 I bought right off of student status. I could not imagine having bought a 170 or 210. Loaded at about 1:1, my 190 was just right for my skill level. (It still is, for that matter.) As others have said, you should talk with your instructors before you buy. Only they can tailor advice to your precise circumstances. For what it's worth, however, my experience with a 190 has been very positive.
  20. You can get one for $1050 at Rigs and Things: http://marketplace.amazia.com/para-service/prodinfo.asp?cn=266030&affid=&sku=AD1022&page=30&pagenumber=&inverrmsg= I bought one from them last summer and have been satisfied so far (i.e, for about 35 jumps).