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Posts posted by dpreguy

  1. On 3/11/2004 at 2:48 PM, airtwardo said:

    The Phantom Tenth Man
    by Jim Rogers

    Flying Fred had cratered in
    A week ago and now and then
    We saw the spot where he'd been killed
    The hole in the ground had just been filled.

    It made us stop and it made us think
    But we shrugged our shoulders and drank our drinks;
    We knew the score when he got his:
    Jumping from planes is a dangerous biz.

    Fred had given up students and he'd given up style
    And he only saw the target every once in a while.
    Most of the time he walked country roads
    Having just come down from an eight-man load.

    Time and again we'd heard Fred say,
    "Now save a place, 'cause on the day
    That this state sees a ten-man fly
    I'm closing tenth before I die."

    Well, thinking of what we'd heard Fred say
    We decided to hold a memorial day.
    The first ten-man still gleamed in our eyes
    So on this day we'd give it a try.

    With chewing gum and refrigerator tape
    We put our Beech into real good shape.
    The pilot grinned at the dripping oil
    Then strapped on a rig and said, "Let's roll."

    The Federal Man thought otherwise;
    He threw the book and said, "Look you guys,
    You bounced old Fred when you were up last time;
    The tenth man stays, You're going with nine."

    With tears in his eyes someone got off the load,
    Threw his gear in the trunk and drove off down the road.
    With thirty-six jumps he'd have probably done fine
    But Fred would be happy if we got the first nine.

    The Beech took off in a black smoke cloud
    Just under the wires and over the crowd!
    Spectators ducked and faces got white
    And we didn't breathe 'til we were in flight!

    We were two hours late when we hit twelve-five
    And the pilot yelled with fear in his eyes,
    "Get ready you guys, we're going on in
    'Cause we're out of gas! Better check my pins!"

    "Man in the door!" came a muffled shout,
    I was tyin' my shoes when the base fell out;
    The pin was gone, then three, then four,
    And then there was nothing but me and the door!

    I dove head low, someone's boot in my mouth;
    The prop blast hit as I flew out;
    Tumbling plane overhead, falling bodies below,
    Stable at last, but a long way to go.

    I tracked so hard that I couldn't stop,
    My breath was gone and my eyeballs popped!
    Drilled a hole in a cloud and started to flare,
    And when I came out the star was there.

    I got a good grip and the star was round;
    One eye on the needle and one on the ground
    We started to break when we heard a yell
    And across from me was a face from hell!

    Trailing red smoke from an M-18
    A phantom tenth man appeared on the scene!
    We wanted to break but found we could not.
    Our grips froze tight when he hit the slot!

    I'll swear to this day it was Flying Fred,
    He had surplus gear and his eyes were red!
    With a laugh you could hear and a wave of his hand
    He broke off the star just over a grand!

    Nobody waved and nobody tracked,
    The trees got so big we just unpacked!
    Reserves went by! Out flashed my own!
    But that red smoke flew towards the ground.

    Out by the peas was the Federal Man
    Timing low pulls with a watch in his hands.
    Came the lowest pull of all that day
    Because Phantom Fred was heading his way.

    With a grinning laugh and a blast of wind
    In a cloud of smoke Fred brought it on in!
    Lightning flashed and thunder rolled!
    When the smoke cleared away, there was just a hole.

    White reserves started landing there,
    The Beech was down in a field somewhere
    The FAA didn't like all this;
    The man staggered off to file a near miss.

    We all looked at the hole; then we all shook hands.
    It was legal now, our first ten-man.
    Where Fred had gone we couldn't say
    But our witness was the FAA.

    That night over a beer we thought of a way
    To salute Flying Fred's Memorial Day.
    Where that smoke bomb hit, now a marker stands,
    It says, "Boys, I was with you on your first ten-man!"

    ~ If you choke a Smurf, what color does it turn? ~


    • Like 1

  2. Keep in mind that - in general- if you are inside and trying to look outwards, a bright white mosquito netting makes it hard to look through.  Even more so if there is a light source from the inside.  Better to go with a black, dark gray or od (olive drab) netting color. 

  3. Sunpath used to have a retrofit kit.  Size of harness is not a factor, but yoke size is. Must supply info- yoke A - B or C.  (Helps to have a long soft stainless wire /steel "probe" gizmo to get it fed thru. Stainless steel wire is pref because it has lower friction and is very malleable.  I made one and converted a few of them.  Doubt I still have it.).  Just follow instr in the kit info. as Golerk said.          The hard part is the tight fit behind the neck area. Takes a bit of patience.

    I wouldn't use salvaged parts unless Sunpath no longer has kits to sell.

    My recommendation , after you have installed the new cable housings, get a new Sunpath Phat Daddy cutaway handle.  Has a big round wood or plastic hard inner piece in the handle for a superior grip.  Then follow Sunpath trimming instr. for the Lolon cutaway cable ends.  Must be punctilious in this trimming measurement.  Be perfect in trimming.

  4. Besides attempting to solve a problem that doesn't exist, except on  " one in a million"  jumps - Consider: (What Doug H said)  One rips to full length or, at least very unevenly.   The other one doesn't. =  result - dangling by one riser.  Ram air parachute is now in a spiral from 3000+  feet to the ground, spiral tightening and becoming more forceful as time elapses.(as Doug H said).  Jumper probably quickly passes out from the G's  then fatally impacts the ground in a hard spiral..

    No reason to assume each side will rip the same. In fact, in my opinion it would be unlikely to have both risers ever rip the same. 

    My opinion:  Very bad idea..

  5. I am running into a blank wall to try to find  USA authorized loft for reline of a crossfire 3.  Their "Contact us" and "Help center" are endless loop - moebius strip internet frustrations.  None of which actually allow anyone to contact the company or to get help.  One refers to the other.  That's it.   This NZA website is a big nothing if you actually want to ask a question.

    Mark or Mel do you guys do this?  

  6.  I think Patrick DeGuaridon (sp) mde it look  like a fun or desirable thing in videos. I always considered it to be kinda silly.  The board doesn't actually do anything except move you along laterally.  OK - it does that.  But what is the attraction?  Make a video?  Try to look cool?  No RW, no ...well...no nothing.  A fad that never caught on for a good reason.  A comic book (silver Surfer) character made into a discipline?  Danger without a reward.  That is how I view it.  Feel free to think otherwise.

  7. Pretty sure jumped with Henry on the Texas State Record POPS dive at Spaceland.  What year?  Hmnn.  A long time  ago.  I still have the 8x10 photo.  The color photo appeared in some newspaper somewhere.  I have that too.   


    I remember him.  Good guy.

  8. Cosmic.  80 degrees centigrade is 176 degrees Farenheight (sp).  I agree.  Cooking nylon at 176 degrees for a year and a half can't be good for it. Not realistic. 

    You will laugh at this one:  I actually put a pilot on speakerphone with a rep of one company with the 20 year (based upon age alone) service life.  He asked if his parachute would fail if it was over 20 years old.  The rep said that t wouldn't, then went into a (seemed desperate to me) explanation that amounted to nothing.  We hung up and kinda laughed at the baloney throwing we had heard.  (Recall the "Swoop Kerwin" tandem video where he explained the 'rarified air molecules' bs excuse for his passenger-surfing landing?)  

    Even so, I told him to buy a new one, because of the factory policy of putting increased liability on the field rigger.

    • Like 1

  9. Mark.  Yes, I forgot that Precision does that.  

    fca  What you said.

    R rob   Yes, the acid mesh issue is over and done with.

    The day to day problem is that pilots don't want to buy new rigs just because the mfg picks some service life figure out of thin air.  20 years?  19 years? 15 years? Why not 10 years?  I could care less what the year figure is.  What I do care about is the mfgs putting the burden on the rigger in the field to enforce it.   A letter from the mfg regarding these "after Issued" service life declarations is all I am asking for.  If these rigs are not airworthy - or have a presumption of lesser airworthiness based on age alone - not condition -, then say so.  Put it in writing. Then the mfg is the one telling them they can't have them packed anymore, not me.  At this point I am the "bad guy" telling them.  Mfgs are apparently happy with being vague abut these older rigs.


    • Like 1

  10. I was unaware USPA was asking.

    This issue does not have anything to do with the TSO

    Actually, the letter does address this issue.  Para 2 says the FAA considers this to be a "non regulatory requirement" for parachutes sold without a service life at the time of sale.  (As to newer parachutes with a published service life in the manual when sold- yes, this FAA  letter is silent.)  However, I would be surprised if the FAA would-or should- ever view this issue as a regulatory requirement because the service life declared by a mfg is determined arbitrarily.  Each mfg. inventing their own out of thin air. . 

    This whole thing is a dilemma created by the manufacturers.  Wordsmithing their explanations in their manuals, issuing verbal or mfg.- created arbitrary service life lengths based upon whatever.  Etc Etc .Blah Blah...  To my mind -my opinion- the mfgs are creating an issue of a "presumption of questionable airworthiness" when a rig is beyond their self-invented service life.  The effect is an increase of  the rigger's liability risk.  This whole issue could be immediately solved by mfg's simply issuing a service bulletin (SB) saying their product is not airworthy after a certain age.  Or, drop the whole service life thing altogether.  Neither of which is likely.

    As a rigger in the field, to be practical on a day by day basis, I consider the service life stated in the manual when the pilot emergency rig is sold to be a bright line. For rigs that never had a service life stated in their manual when sold... then the rigger is on his own, and could use the 2012 FAA letter as a credible defense if sued.  Or refuse to pack the rig, using the rigger's own wordsmithing to explain to the pilot why he won't pack it.  We field riggers are now affected by a problem we didn't ask for.

    Fortunately - at this time - the sport parachute industry hasn't indulged in this service life issue.  (Except for PD which has the boxes to check and then send the reserve in for inspection)


    • Like 1

  11. News to me - (Nationals, "Will not service ...15 years.")  Good to know.  Thanks for the info.  I was unaware of that.  Thank you for your info.  Can you please paste National's new 15 yr letter here??  I have a lot of pilots with 15 year+ Nationals.  Yikes! 

    So, the rigger in the field is forewarned:  Nationals = 15 years.

    Topic: I&R' ing rigs sold without a Service Life published in the manual when sold.   

    Most riggers who regularly I&R Pilot Emergency Parachutes are keenly  aware of the FAA letter that states - in effect - that if the Service Life wasn't published in the catalog on the date of purchase, any 'after issued' service life declaration does not have effect.  Further saying:  If a mfg. wants to discontinue the use of their product after so many years of age, (on *parachutes that did not have the service life published in the original manual);  the mfg should publish a service bulletin saying these rigs are not airworthy.  I am paraphrasing the letter. Later today, unless someone will do it for me, I will go to my loft and get the letter and paste it here.

    So far, none of the 3 other companies ( One doesn't publish a service life)  have issued any such service bulletin stating their product is NOT airworthy after a certain number of years= *For their parachutes sold without a Service Life published the manual at date of sale.   For those older rigs, they just blithely publish a new, and legally ineffective service life declaration.  My opinion:  I guess their thinking is to hope to effect change in the rigging community; suggesting riggers should refuse to I&R these rigs, or to have pilots purchase new rigs, by inferring their older products beyond the new "after issued" SB lengths have "questioned airworthiness" beyond  their "after issued"  service life  declaration.  (This is just my analysis/opinion.of their thinking.).

    They disregard the obvious solution:  Issue a new SB.(service Bulletin) declaring their product is not safe/airworthy after x number of years.  Apparently none are willing to be the first to issue such a SB. 

    Does the parachute rigger in the field may have an increased  liability risk if he packs *such a rig, because the mfg is inferring their product has "questioned airworthiness" beyond the after issued service bulletin?   Hmmm...maybe... uh..probably.

    Newer Rigs:  For their new/newer rigs the mfgs HAVE published a Service Life in the manual when the rig is sold. This is a "bright line" for riggers in the field.  In those case the rigger can make his/her own informed decision to pack a rig beyond its published service life.