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  1. A complete and total quarantine is not necessary to stop the coronavirus, just look at what other countries have done to successfully bring their infection rates down to near zero. But it is certainly possible to put a moratorium on tandems until we discover and implement a way to do them without risk of transmission. In the meantime, our DZ is having remarkable success in steering people toward the static line or AFF program. This also has the added benefit of introducing more people to the sport itself and has the potential of increasing the number of licensed skydivers in the sport.
  2. I am limiting the scope here to tandem skydiving. I think with the proper precautions and critically, social distancing and barriers such as masks and face shields we can help minimize the risk of transmission doing a lot of the other activities. But even so the virus doesn’t care, until we have a proven safe and effective vaccine, it will continue to find a way to spread as ruthlessly fast as it possibly can. I do think the fastest way and least lethally way to get back to normal is to do a hard stop, but we don’t seem to have the patience or support for that in this country. Evidently we would rather string this along until we or someone we care about is affected, and after the losses reach apocalyptic levels. As of now Canada has 87,000 total confirmed cases, compared to 1,700,000+ in this country. New Zealand and Germany have dealt with their outbreaks much more successfully. We are now averaging over 1000 confirmed Covid deaths a day. FWIW that is the equivalent of two 9/11s every week. In the last three or four months, USA has had more casualties to this pandemic then we have had in all our wars since World War II combined - in just three months! While the trend is declining in some states, it is increasing rapidly in other states and is still on the rise measured nationwide. And those are just the stats on fatalities.
  3. Yes, we monkeys want the sugar so bad, we won’t let go, even to save our lives.
  4. If we are to survive this pandemic in the quickest and least lethal way, we need to stop thinking in terms of YOUR situation and MY situation and realize that it is in fact our situation
  5. I’m not really sure I understand how knowing the statistics on Covid mortality rates would inform a decision to resume Tandem jumping. What number would be acceptable? Or put another way, what odds would convince you that playing Russian roulette was safe or within an acceptable risk range? Besides, the stakes go far beyond mortality. There is also the possibility of a long, protracted illness that may result in lingering, perhaps permanent damage to certain organs and senses. There is also a very real likelihood of spreading a potentially fatal illness to others, including those most close to you, such as your aging parents, grandparents significant others, and close friends, and in turn, their parents, grandparents, friends in an ever growing web. “So I know whatcha thinkin’, and so the question you got t’ask yourself is do you do ya feel lucky? Well do ya, punk?”
  6. One other interesting and relevant factor is the pool of people that choose to buy a tandem jump during the pandemic. After many weeks of answering the DZ phone, I can attest to the cavalier, myopic and rather selfish disregard many of these callers exhibit. Many are wet Egyptians (Dey r deep in de Nile) and some have even expressed their opinion that this is all a hoax. Thus those showing up wanting to spoon with me are highly likely to have already disregarded most if not all of the safety protocols epidemiologists have clearly outlined and come from a much higher risk pool than usual. Also, I am reading reports of people who are symptomatic but do not isolate themselves, and continue to spread the virus without regard to others There is also a report of some who have tested positive, kept the results secret and still didn’t quarantine For me the concern is not for myself as it is for the elderly and already health-compromised I take care of. Any exposure to this coronavirus would be fatal to them.
  7. I would love to hear the reasoning of those tandem instructors who decide to do tandems in the midst of a worldwide pandemic. Are they driven by the economics? Do they think they are bulletproof? Do they believe that they will either not get it, or that if they do get it they will be asymptomatic? Do they have others close to them, or are they loners, or do they simply not care. Have they researched what we know about this virus, or are they acting out of ignorance? Are they being pressured into jumping by DZ management or by peer pressure? Do they believe that the protocols they have in place are effective at blocking transmission for the duration and distance required during a tandem jump? If so, how do they know? Please share your rationale and evidence, I would love to resume hauling meat!
  8. It sounds like you are seeking a canopy optimized for aerobatics, as opposed to swooping. If so, try a Stiletto. It's designed to be fast and extremely responsive. Make sure you fly one that isn't tired or with a shrunken line set. Stilettos are great canopies, still a solid design, and you can still order one brand new.
  9. I have never wanted to be a DZO precisely because I could never figure out a way to do it legally and get rich, or even stay a few points above the poverty line. Imagine if this was your sole income.
  10. A review of the situation: Nothing substantial has changed biologically regarding the coronavirus. It still is happy to infect whenever and wherever it finds a host. There is not yet a proven safe & effective vaccine available, although that will eventually change. The only reason numbers currently are down is due to us starving the virus of new victims. As new hosts become available, the numbers will rise, especially the easier we make it for the virus to find a warm, moist host. We do not yet know everything about this virus, but we do know this one is especially contagious. Masks by themselves are proven not sufficient to stop infection. Good masks, goggles/face shields, 6' distance, frequent hand washing, avoiding eyes/mouth/nose contact with infected media, all together help in greatly reducing risk of infection, but may not be totally effective 100%. One can be infected but asymptomatic and spread the virus unaware to family, friends and co-workers. Symptoms vary, and can take a week or more to manifest, if at all. In some cases, hospitalization may follow about a week later, sedated intubation may follow a week after that. In extreme cases, death may follow quickly, or take weeks, or one may recover completely quickly or slowly, or recovery may result in lingering, perhaps permanent damage to certain organs and/or senses. The elderly and health-compromised are most at risk, but victims can come in any age and health status. Recovering survivors of those sick enough to be hospitalized describe an extremely unpleasent experience. As skydivers, we are used to understanding risks and devising technology, methodology and training to mitigate those risks. Good luck is always welcome, but we know better than to rely on it, because we know just how unreliable luck is. With careful and committed mitigation, we may know just enough to safely resume sport jumping, perhaps even student jumps. I am not at all convinced we yet know enough to safely resume Tandem jumping. For those choosing to Tandem jump at this time, please let us know the mitigation protocols you've implemented and how they are working. Any obvious symptoms should start manifesting some 2 weeks following infection.
  11. Just like a bug is slower and more controllable than the automobile, upon the windshield of which it's remains are splattered.
  12. yes, it is possible. It is rarely done. For most people, getting to your A license is a very intense experience. To cram it all in one week successfully requires good luck, good weather and a very very intense "Type A" personality. Here are a couple of questions to get you thinking: Would you hire/trust/consult a: Lawyer Doctor Accountant Pilot Parachute Rigger (someone who packs your reserve parachute) who got their accreditation in an accelerated program?
  13. The COOLEST simulation was the ParaSim set up with VR goggles, full motion simulated frame etc. ( Whenever I have to train without a hanging harness, I inevitably get questions from FJS about where the toggles are, can they reach them, etc. Also, where else can a student practice kicking out of line twists? HHs also let you see how aggressive the student will be on the toggles, how much they flare, etc.
  14. Is it me, or is it really the case that ever since Tandem really became nearly everyone's first (and usually only) jump, the number of licensed skydivers has continued to decline. Back in the dark ages when my original DZ only offered S/L, there was a motivation to get to free fall. That and a deal they had in place where you could buy a block of 20 (or was it 25?) student jumps for $200. (yeah, that was a while back). Anyway, back in the days before Tandem, most FJS would stick around for a few jumps, since they had already invested so much of their time in learning how to fly and land the canopy. Just sayin.
  15. I agree that doing CRW is great for really getting people to learn how to fly their canopies to the edge of their flight envelopes. So is doing accuracy. But, one thing I miss about the 90s is that we no longer have a single canopy that really can do everything well. I, for one, am not enthusiastic about doing CRW with micro-lined ellipticals. Today, we have different canopies for different disciplines, all at ridiculously high prices. This proposal rests on the assumption that everyone wants to downsize so they can presumably swoop. But it is a much larger sport with other disciples like CRW and accuracy. Ever try using the winds to back up over the target? You can with the right canopy. Should I try these suggested skill sets with a strato-cloud? What if I just want to compete in accuracy? Or CRW? Or are we only interested in promoting swooping, or saying that this proposal is only for those who want to downsize so they can swoop? One idea is to come up with a canopy training curriculum that includes several different tracks; a track for swooping, a track for accuracy, a track for CRW, a track for Demos (Pro Rating) etc. But I wonder, if the goal is really not so much to train people for a certain discipline, but rather to fly and land safely under canopy, we should do that in the FJC and thoughout the ISP. I think we are guilty, during student training, of focusing much more on the free fall, and not as much on canopy control. I think we should have a designated ground coach watching and critiquing every student jump from the moment they deploy until touch down. There is no way the JMs can do that as effectively because they have to fly and land themselves, watching for traffic, and can't watch the student the whole time. If we spent as much or more time following the ISP canopy dive flows and critiquing their canopy skills as we do their free fall skills we would see a measurable improvement in safety. And if we can't even do that, or do it more consistently, then what good will implementing yet another training track do?