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Everything posted by Para5-0

  1. Just a friendly suggestion to all. The dialogue has been very helpful all the way around. Like I have said before it is important to get all views on the topic because it is considered a monumental move or non move. My suggestion is to all: lets keep specific incidents and causes out of the conversation. Especially when it comes to speculative blame. Everyone has an opinion but lets remember it involves people and their feelings and emotions. I just dont want to see this thread derailed and turned into a spear chucking game. This is not directed at anyone specific, just please dont let this go down a dark road, I see it is on the verge of going a direction I did not intend it to go. I respect experience and knowledge of all parties that goes without saying but make a point and give resons for or against, stay away from the blame game. or tell me to go pound salt. I am just mentioning because this thread is very useful for me personally and I know other BOD members are following it as well, although from silent keyboards. Rich
  2. Lou, Great post, I agree. I am just adding this as an example given in one of the responses I received, so as not to plagarize I am paraphrasing; We need a drivers license to drive a car. If we want to ride a motorcycle we need to take another test road and written. Why? It is the same road rules as driving a car, same traffic laws, that person who has been driving a car for years has a good grasp on the whole how to operate on the roads safely concept. I think mainly because it is different equipment and there are completely different safety concerns. For example pointing out that riding a motorcycle in the center of the lane is dangerous due to oily, sandy, greasy build up, the road becomes increasingly slippery especially when wet. Only because you mentioned motorcycles by the way. I see your point and trust me I have received feedback that parrallels your sentiments. I am just throwing out the other side. Rich Winstock
  3. I could do it in ten seconds. "Keep your wings closed until you are clear of the tail" Problem is that needs to be reinforced with practice on the ground to attempt to build muscle memory. It requires actually doing it and having someone qualified to observe it then debrief it so you know exactly that the muscle memory you are building is correct. It also should require that the methods being taught are standardized throughout the community. Followed up by a method to check that the particular skydiver did receive the proper training before allowing them to jump a wingsuit, rent a wingsuit, or buy a larger wingsuit. Now add the sleith of other things that are important to teach new wingsuitters (instability recovery, patterns, emergency procedures, deployment procedures) and you have yourself a first flight course Just typing out loud to mself..
  4. One problem I have with this statement is a comparison to canopy education. People are screaming at the top of the lungs to address the canopy fatalitys, downsizing, wingloading, and severe injuries. If I apply your logic to canopy education then based on the total number of safe landings which far far exceeds safe wingsuit jumps we really have no issue because people make stupid mistakes. By your logic we would need no more regulation in the canopy realm. Just a thought if the rating did in fact prevent one fatality what exactly would the harm be of regulation or standardization? Unfortunately if the rating is implemented there will be no way to accumulate that data at all, unless we could see into the future of what would have happen.
  5. Just to clarify, I am not argueing the point just passing on information. If I were to define a near tail strike it would be a wingsuit exit that the pilot inflated to early and almost hit the tail. Maybe one that if you were in the door watching you would say OH SHIT that was a close one. Not rocket science. There were a few pictures to explain this further. Am I really defining a near tail strike here? If there is a confirmed tail strike which would be defined as a skydiver wearing a wingsuit that physically hits the tail causing death or severe injury to himself and then the plane crashes specifically due to said tail strike, I am willing to bet there will be many out there screaming that USPA did nothing to protect those aboard or the wingsuitter himself. If such a tragedy occurs you think you are regulated now?
  6. Okay, First off, I will not ignore you at all. In fact I have responded to every single inquirry and questionnaire that was put in. I can only answer to the best of my knowledge though so bare with me. I will gladly chat on the phone if you give me a ring. A sub committee was formed because a member came to the BOD and requested it. He based it on his data and research. The presentation was very thorough and covered several serious concerns. First and foremost was tail strikes or near tail strikes. If my memory serves me correct the number was one every 27 days, documented. Second was off field unintentional landings. Third, was concerns over standardization regarding first flight courses,exits, patterns, instability recovery,...and a few others. I do not have it right in front of me but I can ellaborate if you want. I have read a great deal of responses that represent the no need to over-regulate. I have also read a shit ton of you saying why worry about this when canopies are killing more people. I can say that we are actively pursueing canopy education, look at the newly implemented B license proficiency card. That just didnt happen over night it took hundereds of hours of work on many peoples parts. Again, this was brought to us as a concern and we felt it important enough to take a look at. Just because there are many different issues doesnt mean we only concentrate on number one. We must work hard at all and any issue that involves safety. With that being said, we decided we did not have enough experience, knowledge, or even data to vote on anything. Or more importantly we werent even sure it should fall under our jurisdiction. Hence the formation of the committee. The committee decided to reach out to general members, wingsuit'ers, winguit community, DZO's, STA's. I/E's, and also the top dogs in winguitting to try to educate ourselves. Isnt this the complaint we have heard so many times that the BOD insulates themselves and fails to represent members. Well in this case the arguement cannot be made we did not try to incorporate everyone and their opinnions. Ultimately, we will make a recommendation, either way. I am sure some will be happy and I am positive some will not. Looking at canopy incidents and the trend imagine if ten years ago we got ahead of the curve and started to do everything in our power to regulate it. Maybe unfortunate injuries and fatalities could have been avoided. In this case it may not seem like a major issue to some but if we are ahead of the curve now then maybe we are doing exactly what we should have done with canopies ten years ago or longer. I think debate is a good thing, I have my own opinnions on the topic as all of us do. But I did make a promise to remain objective until I heard as much as humanly possible from anyone who would talk to me. I can confidently say that all points of view are represented and have been conveyed to the committee. I am not sure what else we can do, if you have suggestions like I mentioned above I will listen to you or anyone else for that matter. PM me or better yet call me. I am available. I hope that answered the question. As for agendas, I personally have none, nor does any other Sub Committee member I can promise you that. If there was any agenda as suggested, we are well aware of what comments came from who and usually can put two and two together. Many have explained potential ulterior motives for attempting to tackle this issue. I can only speak for myself and safely for the other BOD members when I say they will do what they feel is in the best interest of the sport and the members. That is what they were elected for, or at least it should be why they were elected. Rich Winstock USPA National Director
  7. Hello WS'ers, Just a bit of an update. It seems that the questionnaires have slowed down. So we are compiling all of the data to see where everyone stands. I have read every single one and learned a great deal in the process. I appreciate those that took the time to educate and assist us. Recently, an email went out to all DZO's, STA's, and I/E's asking similar questions. They have been pouring in filling my inbox. As soon as I get them all in we will look at the data from that group as well. So the goal was to get input from as many members as possible before making a recommendation to the Safety and Training committee regarding a Wingsuit Instructor rating and First Flight Course. I think we tried. If you know of anyone else who would like to give a point of view for or against it please just send it to me before the meeting in August. I am running out of time though, so please dont wait til the 23rd hour and then say I didnt listen to you. As always, i am still looking for any feedback in this area, It is a big decision either way. Regards, Rich Winstock USPA National Director
  8. I want to thank whoever made the video it made me sad, happy, and this loss a bit easier to deal with. I first met Alex at SDLI at 7am on a sunny morning when he showed up first at the DZ. He tracked me down and explained he was the video guy for a four way team that would be practicing there all day. He said he never jumped here before and wanted the full run down. He was very interested in landing patterns, landing area seperation and overall general rules. I was impressed with his thoroughness. We went on to talk about video, four way, his camera setup, and basic skydiving chitchat. Fast forward, Alex called me up and asked me to be his Tandem Examminer and explained he wanted to start doing tandems. I agreed and he came to my house for three days and went through the course. He did exceptionally well, always asking questions and rearfirming he was doing things properly. I rode on the front with him three times and must say I was impressed with his skill. Not a small guy at the time he handled himself very well and was obviously a skilled skydiver. Since, I saw him sporadically and in Alex fashion he was always smiling and joking around. It is hard to explain but I am very sad for the skydiving community, his friends, his family, and all family and friends of his passenger. I do know that if he could have done anything at all to prevent this he would have. He had a enormous heart and a zest for life. BSBD my friend I will always remember you, Rich
  9. I have spread the word and reached out to all instructors in the area. Still trying to help you guys out.
  10. Unfortunately, I have been away for a few days and just caught up on the thread. It was actually pretty on point whether or not you are for or against this. I did notice many many misguided statements of fact with regards to what may or may not happen. I wanted to give a brief update and I promise to share the complete end results in terms of stats not names or opinions. For now, I can thank those of you that have stepped up and truly helped. I have read every questionnaire thus far (approx. 50) and I will publically admit I have learned from all of you, to include the best wingsuitters in the country if not the world to the brand new guy who just made his first ws jump. I never claimed to be a wingsuitter with mad skills but I feel I am fairly logical and intelligent enough to objectively see each persons point of view and reasons why they have that view. I may not agree completely or may have a different pov, but that is exactly what healthy debate is all about, or so I was told. A questionnaire is in the process of being delivered to all DZO's and S&TA's to acquire their point of view as well. Their questionnaire is more geared towards their roles in the skydiving community. All in the attempt to try to get as many different vantage points. The meeting is in August and we hope to be able to make a sound recomendation to the S&T committee. I do understand whatever comes out not everyone will be completely happy and say "We got it right" but I can say we have tried to make this decision as a group that represents a community. I also appreciate the emails and phone calls. It has been a pleasure chatting with many of you. Rich Winstock
  11. In a recent incident, a great guy showed up at the DZ, he was 69 and full of life. He showed up on his Harley Road King and advised he made 30 or so jumps back in the 70's and wanted to get certified. He had his log book and pictures of him with a rig and belly mount on. (pretty cool). Well a few training tandems later and he was in my FJC. I had some concern as he wasnt very limber, and he didnt respond as quickly as most. I explained it to him and he put in the time to memorize the dive flows and study on his down time, and really train hard on the ground. (persistent guy) Well he made it to Cat C and repeated a few times before really nailing it. At that moment I thought I might have made the right decision to go forward with him. Great video and a smile ear to ear made us go back up for a Cat D. The dive went okay better than some, it was landing that went a bit haywire. He flew a nice patern into the wind and at flare time only went to his shoulders and in his words. "froze". He did PLF but hit rather hard. He and I knew he injured himself. A week later now he has pins in his pelvis from 4 fractures. Again, he didnt hit all that hard but his age probably was a severe factor. I have seen him several times now and he is still motivated but it looks like a long recovery for him. Question is, How old is too old? I know it depends on each individual. I have seen some pretty fit older people. But is there a pressure on Instructors to try? Then you see the sos, and Joes and get motivated to help even if it takes longer but is it worth the risk? I have beaten myself up over this one and lost sleep but he assured me he would have done it regardless. Do some DZ's have an age restriction of AFF? I would love to see stats of when most of the JOES started and see if they are mostly jumpers from days of old or if any of them started later in life. Tandems is a totally different picture, as every weekend we are taking 70,80, and even a 92 year old last year. Not a issue as we are introducing them to a great sport and giving them a memory. Thoughts on how old is too old and if we should have age restrictions to starting? Or maybe have some sort of approval before starting. I dont know.
  12. Hey, I see where you are going with this but I couldnt answer the poll. I will tell you that every single passenger I took this whole weekend was talking about it. I will tell you that I had to reassure every single passenger I would not let them fall out, I will tell you it was a serious blow to our sport. The numbers were probably close but I also spoke to spectators who said after that video they will never go. Not good. I also received an email from a group cancelling over half because they backed out, directly because of that video. I received another email wanting us to disclose our safety record before they will book with us as a direct result of the video. That video was the main topic of conversation on every flight instead of how to come back and make a training tandem or even better how to get certified. In my time in this sport I have rarely seen something effect us so fast and so wide spread.
  13. Hey Miss, If I understand you correctly, that would raise the standard to 500 jump min for AFFI. If that is correct you will not get any arguement from me. I have advocated for raising the requirements for many years long before I was on the BOD. I would have to think about it but not too long ago I advocated for much strictler requirements. To add a AFFI probabtionary period. I was and still am in the minority by the way. Pm me to explain your suggetion better. I will most definately bring it up at the meeting. Thanks, Rich
  14. If I may just throw something into the mix. I personally do not support this effort in any capacity. With that said, before we lynch the BOD members unfairly,lets take a step back for one moment. A complaint I have heard is the BOD is out of touch and doesnt listent to membership. That there is a hidden agenda of some sort. Keep in mind the fact a poll went out just suggests that the BOD wants feedback. It doesnt suggest anything else. If a motion was made and passed in S&T, then the full BOD supported it without any input from membership I would say okay you have a valid point and if you want to hold any member responsible for his vote you have that right. If it does not pass then I would hope those so willing to publically bash the directors would reverse and say, "Hey good job you asked and then you listened" Give us a chance before throwing the first stone. I sat through the meeting where this was discussed and the committee decided to get some general membership input. The BOD is very approachable and more than willing to listen to logic. That is why I read this thread to educate myself, as does many other BOD members. We are trying to get it right.
  15. To add: I have typed dozens of responses about how I feel the AFF I/C should implement more canopy assessment. To include a canopy ground evaluation and an in air canopy evaluation or at minimim a air evaluation/debrief of a student. I posed this as an answer for better canopy instructors. I think a wind tunnel is a great tool to hone some skills, no dought, but as it is 6 hours if you include wingsuits can still be a very young skydiver. We have all worked too hard to increase canopy skills acoss the board, I do not see how reducing the time under canopy requirement can be a good thing. That is exactly what this will do by the way. It will give us a candidate who is eligible quicker and who has less time under a canopy.
  16. It is probably common knowledge just based on the position I took during this discussion at the meeting but I will go on the record and say I am not in favor of tunnel time being used in any capacity to count towards your freefall 6 hours. I can get into all of the reasons but between this thread and the other one I think they have all been covered. Rich Winstock
  17. Reference the fees. It has no bearing on the outcome. All coaches or instructors pay one fee to USPA to keep them. If they are a coach or instructor it is exactly the same fee. No change at all. This is really boiling down to a question of safety and whether the intervention by USPA is warranted or if in fact needed. I am not saying either way, we are just trying to get as much input as possible. I have over 50 responses in so far.
  18. To those that have taken the time to give your thoughts, thank you.
  19. Hello, My name is Rich Winstock and I am a National Director with the United States Parachute Association. At the last board meeting I was charged with chairing a sub-committee to determine whether or not our sport is in need of a Wingsuit Instructors rating and a standardized First Flight Course and if so who should be responsible for overseeing it. The committee consists of Sherry Butcher (USPA Secretary & National Director), Randy Allison (USPA Vice President & Mid Eastern Regional Director), Tony Thacker (USPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Director), and Merriah Eakins (USPA North Central Regional Director). It is the responsibility of the committee to reach out to the wingsuit community, DZO's, S&TA's, USPA Staff, Manufacturers, and General Membership to get as much input as possible, allowing us to make an informed educated recommendation. We the committee are attempting to perform our due diligence on this topic and include as many authorities as possible before we make an official recommendation back to Safety & Training. Albeit the ultimate decision will rest with the entire USPA BOD. If you feel you have the knowledge, experience, and professionalism required to assist us, we would love to hear from you. The committee has come up with a short questionnaire that asks specifically designed questions to get detailed information on the topic. We know we are not experts on this topic, that is why we are reaching out to the wingsuit community for help. We are well aware that each person will have their own personal feelings on this issue and we welcome those thoughts, but please answer the questions as objectively and honestly as possible. Attached please find a short questionnaire that shouldn’t take you too long to complete. If you can please answer all of the questions based on your current experience, knowledge, and skydiving education we would greatly appreciate it. I promise that all questionnaires that are received will be read in their entirety by each member of the committee. If you know someone who has not received this questionnaire and you feel their qualifications dictate their opinions would benefit the committee, by all means, please forward it to them. Once you are done with the questionnaire please forward it back to me at [email protected] with the questionnaire as an attachment. I would like to take a moment and thank you in advance for your help and time. If you have any questions, feedback, or would like to discuss any particulars feel free to reach out to me. One note- Please only respond if you are serious, sifting through spam will only hurt the process. Kind Regards and Blue Skys, Rich Winstock
  20. I agree with you on the post but I want to point out that this could also lead to a ton of pencil whipping. and thus counterproductive. I know we have it now as well.
  21. Hey Doug, What I have to say some may not want to hear. Does something need to be done? The statistics indicate yes. What we do is the question. No matter what USPA does or doesnt do most will be unhappy because that is where they enjoy living life. It doesnt matter if a step is taken in the right direction it will never be good enough for some because the BOD has failed them for the last twenty years. So, most sit back and bitch rather than let by gones be by gones and get involved. IMO getting involved doesnt mean typing on and bitching and moaning how they would do everything differently. Getting involved means do like Bill did and compose a draft letter, compose a full idea, put down on paper the exact answer that you feel will work. Dot your I's and cross your T's. You know the questions that will be asked, just have answers for them. Then send it to me. I will give you my two cents and then I will request it get put on the agenda for consideration. Sorry fellas that is how it works. It seems that the majority of membership is in favor of a BSR for wingloading. So come together and make it happen. I will help bring it forward. But quite frankly I have gotten bored and discouraged reading threads and threads of complaints. We spent more hours than you can imagine on the B proficiency card, with the hopes it would be accepted. Then once Vetted in the field then maybe we can come forward with a C or D license card or a higher wingloading card. I was just like most and I felt I had all the answers, the problem is the system is designed to slow down those that want change yesterday. Maybe a good thing, it stops or at least slows down knee jerk reactions. Anyhow, to sum it up, I am not in disagreement, I would just need to see it all laid out in front of me so I can take it in. Until someone takes the lead on it we can just keep on reading the nay sayers go on and on about how if they were king. A good example whether you agree or not is the Wing Suit Instructor rating. It doesnt matter, did you hear me? it doesnt matter if you agree or not. What DSE did was he felt there was a need for a WS Instructor rating. He developed a syllabus, he developed full presentation, he had answers for all questions that were thrown at him, he had statistics, he had videos to back up his statistics. Once he compiled it all he came forward and had it placed on the agenda. At the BOD meeting he gave a very impressive presentation. That is how you get involved if you want something to change or you feel you have a better way to do something. I respect that far more than the guy who sends me a PM saying how bad we screwed the pooch on said topic. Now a sub-committee has been formed to gather as much input from the membership as possible and try to make a sound decision. Oh and let me add he brought this forward once before and it failed but he believes in it so strongly he gathered more information, statistics, and input from experienced ws'ers and brought it forward again. Kudoos to him. There is your example of how to make change happen. It might fail but you know what, you have to respect the dedication and commitment to a cause that is strongly believed in. If you want a wing loading BSR, bring it forward. If you want a C or D license proficiency card bring it forward. If you want a high performance card bring it forward. I promise to help you out the best I can. My job is to represent the members and if that is what they want I will do just that. Rich Winstock
  22. Dave, I cant say I dont agree with what you are saying, in fact it is the reason I ran for the BOD in the first place amongst other issues. Anyhow, The card was implemented on my personal second meeting. The first meeting was basically useless because we were sworn in and had to get to know the other members and be assinged committees. So, the first real meeting I personally was involved in yielded a new canopy requirement. Jay Stokes mentioned that he was impressed with how fast we got this through. Myself along with other members pushed as hard as possible. Merriah Eakins, Tony Thacker, and myself were first time directors. We each put 100% all of our effort into this. I do understand that opinions of the BOD will not change immediately or may not change as long as some are still there from years past. I do promise you that we are trying our hardest but at some point I want to stop answering for BODs of past. You can imagine how frustrating it is getting blasted online, in person, email, phone calls with complaints. I cant make any excuses or even throw daggers at those that may have been responsible for inaction and I wont. With that said, if the time and effort spent online bashing how bad it is or how bad it has been was spent on helping, I thinkwe can make progress. Call me naive but I do want to change the instructor curriculm do include much more canopy education and evaluation. The problem is the elections are now around the corner and the BOD may change dramatically. That is why the 3 year term will help out a bit, giving BOD members time to start and FINISH projects. I will run again for National Director but nothing is guaranteed. I will promise you that if I continue that canopy continueing education, advanced canopy education, standardized canopy trianing, will continue to be my main focus. Currently, we are working on the wingsuit instructor proposal and gathering as much intel as possible to see if this is the direction we need to go with WS's. If so then like you said in ten years we can say we were ahead of the curve and all of the canopy critisisms will not apply to the current BOD. Just throwing some thoughts out. Rich
  23. What about the new B license proficiency card. That was implemented soley based on the need to continue canopy education past the A license. It was also implemented in an effort to require a canopy course prior to B license application. So every new jumper from this point forth, in theory should have taken a basic course that uses the syllabus in the SIM. Section 6-10 and 6-11. It is a first step to get all of the canopy courses teaching similar stuff or at least they all should encorporate what is written in the syllabus. The card is basic, I agree but it is a great starting point to maybe adding an advanced one for C or D license or maybe even a high performance proficiency card. This whole initiative came out of Safety and Training and in no way had PIA or any one manufacturer in mind. Although, we did reach out to many different danopy coaches and some did infact have connections through sponsorship but that would be one hell of a reach. Or How about the new wingsuit instructor rating being looked at. Although if that is implemented at anytime I guess you could say it is for the DZO's because they will be less likely to have a tail strike.
  24. There is no dought that we are behind the curve with canopy education. That is what we are trying to catch up with. I have personally spoken to dozens and dozens of canopy experts, all of the top guys. That is the model I used in presenting the canopy card as a starting point on the canopy front. My next order of business is to implememt canopy education to our new instructors. I want to implement canopy evaluations for knowledge and ability within the instructor curriculium. I am working on it. With regard to canopy it is on the top of my list. With regard to wingsuits, I see this as ten years ago with canopy and I see an oportunity to get ahead of the curve. That is why I am getting involved with the wing suit instructor proposals. I see this as the opportunity to look back in ten years and say we did it correct. I think we are on the same page, I just wish it was easier to work with the community in a positive fashion. It seems that most are so discouraged based on inaction or improper action of the BOD in the past, that they have lost all faith.
  25. Dave, I would like to give you some insight on something that is starting to shape up in the wingsuit community, and let me know if the steps being taking are what you are referring to. I was made the Chair of a Sub-Committee to look into the Wing Suit Instructor Rating. The proposal was put on the agenda and brought forward by DSE. Prior to the meeting I made it a point to go to Elsinore and see his school, look at the material, and speak to him one on one. I wanted to be as educated as possible mainly because I am not an expert in the WS arena. The Safety and Training Committee went round and round ultimately not wanting to make a knee jerk vote we formed a committee to look into it further. NOTE: I think it may have gone through based on my personal opinions. Since the meeting the following BOD members are on the committee (Randy Allison, Tony Thacker, Meriah Eakins, Sherry Buthcer, and myself) as of now DSE and Taya Weiss (who were at the meeting) are advisors. I felt it important to reach out to the whole comunity and as you say get the experts to chime in. Currently, I have a list of 20 Plus recommended advisors who are supposedly the most knowledgable and experienced in the WS community. We are in the process of notifying the advisors and explaining we will be asking for their advice. Unfortunately, that is as far as we have gotten. We are still defining our goals, I am NOT looking for any input on this topic here as I will ask at the right time in the WS threads. All I am pointing out is that we are trying to do what you are referring to. The problem is so many members are upset with past actions that they are painting every BOD member as being an entrenched, out for themself, asshole. So if anyone new gets on there with good intentions they are hung out to defend themselves from a discouraged, disappointed, and feedup membership. If you were elected tomorrow, you couldnt solve all the problems that exist. You would be one voice, and trust me it is very bothersome at times. All I can say is I hear the frustration from membership and I get it.