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Everything posted by RiggerLee

  1. Right now as it reads there is no answer. As it is writen right now you are in the same boat as the rest of us. They have made no provision for DOM or SN of the rigs affected. There is no way at this time to tell if a rig ever had an RSL. You should contact them your self on this question. Perhaps they could publish a list of SN exempt from this. Lee Lee [email protected] www.velocitysportswear.com
  2. THIS IS A QUESTION FOR LAWYERS. The good news is that a master Rigger at our drop zone has agreed to sign off the removal of RSL's. He has already planed the wording he will use. I can't remember the exact phrase which I herd second hand but he is trying to word it in a maner to limit his liability. First what is the real exposure the a Master Rigger faces in this. Second Can some one, a lawyer fermiller with the cival laws on liability recamend a phraseing that will both meat the requirments of the letter fromm Sunpath and not put them at any more risk then nessasary. Lee Lee [email protected] www.velocitysportswear.com
  3. I have receaved approval for a couple of alterations through the local FSDO. At the time Gene Bland said that it was not necasary to compleat a 337. He alowed me to write up the design and drawing my self. Stanford signed them off as a master rigger and Gene approved them with just a date stamp. This is a alternative to receaving approval through the manufactor. Lee Lee [email protected] www.velocitysportswear.com
  4. In the past that was every ones understanding. The whole story changed when Appelton went in. Their new stand on the issue has no wiggle room in it. Lee Lee [email protected] www.velocitysportswear.com
  5. That's exactly what it means. Find your RSL or get it signed off. Otherwise your fucked. Lee Lee [email protected] www.velocitysportswear.com
  6. Oh, and will any one sign mine off? I jump a Javelin and I'm grounded by this too? Lee Lee [email protected] www.velocitysportswear.com
  7. This is going to be a big issue. Sunpath has taken a firm stand on the RSL issue. This leaves many jumpers in a bind as their RSL was removed and possable discarded lond ago. For some people this happened long before they purchesed thier rig used. There is of course an out. If you can find a Master Rigger willing to sign this off as an alteration then you can continue to jump the rig. Now here's the catch. Sun Path has very clearly stated their position on this. Read there original written responce to here: http://dropzone.com/cgi-bin/forum/gforum.cgi?do=post_view_flat;post=2681081;page=3;sb=post_latest_reply;so=ASC;mh=25; It's about half way down the page. It makes very clear what their responce will be in the event of an accedent. Any one signing off on this alteration does so against their strongest recamendation. When the court case comes up they will leave any one doing so hanging out to dry. So here's the deal. If you are a Master Rigger you can legaly do this but they are forceing you to accept all responceablity and liability. I can't think of another instance where a manufacteror has done any thing like this. We are haveing a hard time finding any one willing to sign off rigs around here. Who out there is willing to do this. Lee Lee [email protected] www.velocitysportswear.com
  8. Another question that has come up. Early javelins that were built without a RSL? Acording to this they are unairworthy. Did Sunpath violate there own TSO when building them? If they are still airworthy how do you identify them? How do you seperate a legal rig from some one bullshiting you trying to tell you that it was never there? This is going to be a pain. I don't know about you but they just grounded 75% of the Javelins on the DZ. It's four days to the weeknd. I only have three RSL's and the DZ manager has had his head in the sand hoping this will all go away. He hasn't told or e-mailed any one. It's going to be a mess Saterday morning. Lee Lee [email protected] www.velocitysportswear.com
  9. The word of God has been delivered down unto us. In other words it's up on the web site now. Please note how they are very specific about useing a terminal reserve pin. The reserve ripcord must be of sunpath manufacter. I guess that's in their line drawing as well. So much for interchangeability of tso'd parts. Isn't it interesting that they use the bent pins for their FXC instalations? Honestly I like my Javelin but they seem to be determind to make it difacult to own one. Lee Sorry I ment to include the link. http://www.sunpath.com/downloads/bulletins/RSL_answers_2-27-07.pdf Lee [email protected] www.velocitysportswear.com
  10. This is to Eather. You can jump with way more then that you woos. Now on to the real subject. What was the weather like? How long was your weather window open? How long did the climb take you from camp? Lee Lee [email protected] www.velocitysportswear.com
  11. Huh? What visible portion are you refering to? The ring goes around the cable. I'm not sure which comment your responding to. Every one does understand that the rings have to be on the flap right? That with out them to directionalize the pull you can just bend the pin 90 deg and break the RSL. You just wait I'll bet in the next six months you'll find a rig where some one just put the RSL on with no rings on the flap. Lee Lee [email protected] www.velocitysportswear.com
  12. I just got back to the shop. We got this in today from SunPath. It came as an e-mail. So it's not a signed document but it's probable good enough. I'm surprised they haven't posted it here them selves. They say that a more formal statement will apear on there web site soon. If nothing else this seems to be a fairly clear statement as to where their position is going to fall. I have no doubt that they've aganised over this and the repocusions of it. There is going to be whining but the pain should be over rather quickly. So... any body got stack of RSL's out there? Lee, I understant that there has been alot of talk recently about this subject. A more formal address and clarification will be made soon on our website. I will answer your questions below: 1. If a RSL has been previously removed is it legal and air worthy to jump? Yes, however the removal of the RSL or any RSL components must be noted on the packing data card by a MASTER RIGGER. This is considered an "alteration" to a TSO'ed system by the FAA. And, only a master rigger can "alter" a TSO'ed component. 2. If a RSL has been previously removed is it legal for a rigger to repack the reserve with out the RSL in place? Yes, as long as the removal of the RSL components has been noted on the packing data card by a MASTER rigger. 3. Is it legal for a master or a senior rigger to A) assemble or B)remove the RSL on a Javelin or Odyssey container? You have 2 questions here: A) assemble: Yes, a senior rigger can assemble, pack and maintain a system WITH an RSL Yes, a Master rigger can assemble, pack and maintain a system WITH an RSL Yes, a Master rigger can assemble, pack and maintain a system WITHOUT an RSL Yes, a Master rigger can assemble, pack and maintain a system WITHOUT an RSL as long as the removal of the components is noted on the packing data card by a MASTER RIGGER. B) Remove: Yes and no. ONLY a Master rigger can remove components of the RSL from the system as long as that MASTER rigger notes it on the packing data card. In these questions I use the word removed to mean not including the RSL in the assembly of rig when the ripcord is installed. If the Velcro or guide rings have been removed from the container how does that affect the legality and airworthiness of the rig? I think the answers above have addressed this question. If the Velcro and guide rings have been removed will you provide instructions and approve the reinstallation by a master rigger? Yes, but we prefer it done here at the factory. Is there a DOM or serial number at which your position on the RSL changes if so please clarify your position on each of these questions. NO The Sun Path policy regarding removal of the RSL components still holds true. The Javelin and Javelin Odyssey harness/container system incorporates the reserve static line as part of the complete system and permanent removal of this part is highly discouraged and NOT recommended. However, the last line in that letter will need to be amended to read, "Our reserve static line is built with a snap shackle for easy disconnect from the main riser, in the event of an emergency situation. Please note: the USER or OWNER cannot legally remove the RSL lanyard unless he/she is a master parachute rigger. UNLESS, the user is in an emergency situation. More to come on the website, I hope this is what you were looking for? DAVE Dave Singer Engineer SunPath Products, Inc Phone (813) 782-9242 FAX (813) 788-3057 [email protected] Lee [email protected] www.velocitysportswear.com
  13. This came in as a pm but it's relative enough that I thought it wouldn't hurt to share. Also I thought it might not hurt to clarify what I was asking. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- In Reply To -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I guess the question is what could be the consequences for these people personaly and the DZ? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The attorneys need look no further than Part 105. The FFA all but spelled out the people that could be held responsible. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- § 105.3____ Definitions. For the purposes of this part— Parachute operation means the performance of all activity for the purpose of, or in support of, a parachute jump or a parachute drop. This parachute operation can involve, but is not limited to, the following persons: parachutist, parachutist in command and passenger in tandem parachute operations, drop zone or owner or operator, jump master, certificated parachute rigger, or pilot. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Michael I responded: Yes, that is where the FAA would begin. I'm not sure where that would leave a private lawyer. They seem to in some ways have a lot more freedom in who they name in a law suit. On the other hand when the waver is signed the signe gives up a lot of rights. One of which is the right to sue some of these people. Now we come to the question of whether the waver covers 1099 employs? Does any of this constatute grose crimanal neglegence? If so how far can the law suit go? I guess it's mostly a question of cival law rather then the FAA. At least those are the questions I was trying to get at. Lee Lee [email protected] www.velocitysportswear.com
  14. I’d like to add a question. We were having a conversation about the possible consequences of all of this. I’m specifically looking for some one with legal insight, i.e. a lawyer. Let’s say a guy goes in in the next six weeks while we wait for a ruling from the FAA. For the sake of argument well say it was a no pull after a cut away. SP is confronted by the lawyer of the vindictive family. They cave and run for cover behind the statement that the rig was illegal with out the RSL. The question we were kicking around is what could this mean? Let’s take the drop zone here as an example. Guy showed up from out of town and filled out a waver. A rigger from the drop zone did a gear check and signed off on the waver that the gear was airworthy and good to jump. A packer on the floor packed his main. He is an employ of the drop zone with a 1099 on file. He is working under the supervision of yet another rigger, employ of the drop zone. The poor guy gets on a plane and goes in. So where are we at. We’ve got the rigger at home, the rigger here that signed off the gear, the packer, the supervising rigger, and the pilot. All but the rigger at home are in one way or another employs of the DZ. Now let me clarify that. There are actually several companies that own different things and the paper work is probably good enough to hold up. The waver is pretty good. So I mean thy are doing the best to defend them selves. Still I know there are limits to all of this. I understand that if they can prove grows negligence that a lot of the protection granted by the wavers and the incorporation goes away. I guess the question is what could be the consequences for these people personaly and the DZ? Could this actually crack the structure of the drop zone and attack some of the real assets? If the DZ was not as well protected or they found a hole in the bookkeeping or the paper work how bad could it really be? Is it limited to the people involved or cold it go higher? Lee Lee [email protected] www.velocitysportswear.com
  15. Yes, rather like a ripcord stop. Maybe we should all put plugs or lead fishing weights on the end of our ripcords so they can't be lost. (for the dumb ass fucking yuppies reading this this is a joke.) Lee Lee [email protected] www.velocitysportswear.com
  16. RiggerLee


    I don't know. I've got mixed feelings on this. In the past I've always been rather privat person. It was only about a year ago that I even started to keep an eye on this forum. I was never much of a geek. It was less then a year ago that I bought my first video camera. Before then I did have a still and a few people have seen my slides. Following my second trip north I did send out some sets of pictures of that trip but for the most part I've never been in the habit of waveing my arms and screaming look at me but even I am guilty of posting vid on youtube. Over the last few months I've been campaining hard to find a playmate for the next trip. It has felt like standing on top of a table in the middle of a crowded party with my pants down and deminutive genetaler hanging out in the breaze. Actually that's a lot less enbarising. So in short I've lost the right to throw stones. For the last few years I've really thought that we had a chance. Moab, BLM, Perrion. It seems like we're going in the right direction.That one day we might not be hunted and have to sneek around like theives in the night. I still think that that could come to pass. Look at some of the big events at the buildings over seas. Look at RG. I've been perfectly happy to stand back and let other people take the lead and stand in front of the cameras for that. God knows I don't make much of a poster boy. You know, none of these things would have become possable with out the "Glory Hounds" that put them selves out there to be seen. They may not be the heart of the sport but they are it's face that we turn towards the public. I mean it all started some place. Ron Silver? The one that took the T-Bow off El Cap. That led directly to the Bond stunt. That was probable the first time so many people saw a base jump. Look at how commen it has become in the movies and even television. Remember the comercial with Barlea? The fact that this guy is putting his video on the climbing forums is probable not a bad thing. Who are you going to ask for help when you get stuck on a wall. Remember the access rights discusion not here but on a climbing forum? We have gone about as far as we can hideing in the dark. We might be able to continue like that for a time but in the end it's a dead end. NY is not the first place to pass a law agenst us. The only hope we have is to find more acceptance. The climbers are a good place to start. They have an ongoing fight for access. If we could get in to bed and join forces with them it would be our best chance one day jump in the parks in daylight. But none of that will happen till base is accepted on a much wider bases. No pun. I think the real question should be about what we should be posting for people to see. Again I'm as guilty as any one. The one video I've put up was pretty herendous. I did try to make it obscure with a booring title and it seems to have worked. There was a rush of views when I posted the link and nothing sence. I don't think it was seen by many people not on this board. If you want to put your self out there then you have an obligation to represent the sport. It's like doing a demo. It's not the time to hook turn. Honestly none of them aprecate your swoop. I've herd the comments about how "Out of control that one looked." Even the most lame and benine base video blows most people away. Jeb scoreing that TV gig is about the biggest cue we've had in years. Good for him. Jeb getting busted is about the worst desaster we've had in years. It's like when Jan Daves went in. That only set the sport back ten years. People need to think a bit more about what they are doing. This brings us to a totaly diffrent subject of some of the things people are doing in base. I'd been rather inactive for a couple of years doing other things. When I finally made it up to Perrion. It was a bit of a shock what I was seeing there. Maybe I'm an old pansy. It was also a rather a bad expereance with trying to run a first jump course. I went up there with a couple of guys and then a bunch of other people showed up. It was my first expereance with dealling with people who were weened on modern video. They thought doing acrobatics like jeb was normal. I'm not sure what part of, "I think your fifth jump is a bit early to be doing aireals." was unclear. But the next thing I know I look over and he's trying to do a front flip. "Do you see how the hill on this side constricts the valley? See how the wind is forming little white caps on the waves. I don't really know this site but I think it might be a little windy even at the bottom." I honestly thought that was fairly clear meteralogical accesment and sence we had already made ten jumps I saw no reason we had to make another that day. I was actualy surprised when I stated that I was not going to jump that they would insest on doing so them selves. More then any thing else I just remember being a lot more afraid as a young jumper. That expereance was followed by Turkey which was an even bigger eye opener. It wasn't just the things that happened or the way they happened. It was the nonevents. The things that should have by all rights been accedents. The guys tripple off jugornot was spectacular. The line twist on opening were great. I loved the way his canopy did a full 180 degree turn inside the canyon while he kicked out of line twist with no way to control the canopy. The stileing pose he hit with his legs as he finaly got his breaks unstowed in time to flare was classic. Every one was chearing. I myself was rolling on the floor laughing so hard I was gasping for breath. Now if you know me you know that when I do that it's not exactly complimentery. It usually meens Darwin eather has or is about to clame one of his own. In short it was a total nonevent but by all rights the guy should have been dead as a door nail. Same thing on the windy roll over video. But there was more. There was the girl that got drug off to the crown for her second cliff. She thought it was much safer becouse it seemed higher then toumb stone. Had no clue that there was no over hang or that it is shorter to impact. I mean these are just the things I was awair of. I don't know where I'm going with this. It's late at night and I'm rambaling. What I'm trying to say is that we're at a cross roads and there is no way to go back the way we came. The box has been opened and we can not recapture what has escaped but perhaps hope still remains. The next five years will determin our fate. Things are accelerating. The only way forward is into the light not back into the darkness. We're in a war of public relations. It's a battle that cannot be won defenceivly. Some times the only hope is to charge. The only trick is to not throw your self on to the pikes. We need to be seen. We need to become a commen and accepted thing. Seen on TV, comerals, the news, movies. Till people take it for granted and think a law like the one in NY seems silly. This requires a number of things. We need to put our best foot forwards. Put on our best face. Any thing we put out there shuld be screened with an eye for the woofo. We need to create a positive public image. The internet can be our greatest allie and Our best weapon but only if we don't shoot our selves in the foot. Would you want your mother and your grand parents to see this video. What would they think of it? Yes, that meens keeping our best stuff to our selves some times. Nothing ileagle should ever be posted but all of you have good footage of what you would call boaring jumps that would be perfect. Worried about the influence of some of the jazzy radical videos that are out there? Maybe the answer is to post one of your own that is more down to earth and shows the reality of what we do. The final issue is we need to quit fucking up. This is not a time to be pushing the limets. If some of the younger generation of jumpers is getting into trouble there are two reasons. One is that you're not there telling them that what your doing is a bad idea. There were probable a dozen people out there at the point that could have said something to Magot. If your not there then you can't make a diffrence. I was there when Jimmy and the others made the decision to end the turkey boogies. I understand why but I still think the answer is to lead not to abdicate. The other issue is whether they will lessen to you. I don't know the answer to that. Those guys flew me out there but then they ignored a lot of what I said. I don't have an answer for that. But if the "younger jumpers" are a problem then it's our fault. And it will be our fault if this sport is out lawed. I'm going to quit typeing and go to sleep before I make my self look even more stupid. Lee [email protected] www.velocitysportswear.com
  17. I ment to get around to posting this yesterday but It's been bussy. Sorry the story is so long. First off I am the rigger or one of them that was involved with the Appleton rig. Let me say at the beginning that he was my friend and that every one at the drop zone liked him. He was one of the few really good people I’ve known and a good skydiver as well. He is still missed here. Now setting all that aside I’ll tell you the whole story. I’ve obviously been in the middle of this from the very beginning and there have been a number of little twists that don’t necessarily show in just a straight rendition of the facts. Now I’m going to try and keep this as factual as I can but I can only tell it as I have seen it from my own point of view. First off I did call Sunpath yesterday to try to get their latest position on this issue. Notice I said latest. Like a number of you that have called since PIA I couldn’t get a real answer out of them. The guy I spoke to seems to be a really nice guy. They are kind of stuck on some technical issues. A lot of the questions seem to revolve around the TSO it self. In the end it comes down to the data package they submitted to the FAA, I suppose to the MIDO, in Atlanta when they originally drop tested the rig. It’s all about how it was written and the line drawing that was submitted. They have submitted several questions and are waiting for them to respond. This could and probable will take six weeks. Until then they will not release any written statement. The only thing I could get out of him was that they had drop tested the container both with and with out the RSL installed. He told me verbally that the rig was airworthy and could be packed and jumped with or with out the RSL installed. I asked him to please send that to me in writing and he refused. Now you’ll notice that this conflicts with earlier statements and since it is not in writing every one is just hanging in the wind when the pendulum swings back the other way. I’m happy that they are working toward a final ruling but this waffling back and forth has been fairly characteristic of them through out this affair. Here is a copy of the e-mail I sent them requesting written clarification. You might see if you have any questions to add. I am requesting written clarification on the following questions in regards to the airworthiness of the system and compliance with the TSO. I would like to avoid any ambiguity in the answers and would like them in a yes or no format if possible. If a RSL has been previously removed is it legal and air worthy to jump? If a RSL has been previously removed is it legal for a rigger to repack the reserve with out the RSL in place? Is it legal for a master or a senior rigger to assemble or remove the RSL on a Javelin or Odyssey container? In these questions I use the word removed to mean not including the RSL in the assembly of rig when the ripcord is installed. If the Velcro or guide rings have been removed from the container how does that affect the legality and airworthiness of the rig? If the Velcro and guide rings have been removed will you provide instructions and approve the reinstallation by a master rigger? Is there a DOM or serial number at which your position on the RSL changes if so please clarify your position on each of these questions. Lee Hardesty Sen. Rigger Velocity Sportswear P.O. Box 312 Whitewright, TX 75491 903 364 1700 [email protected] The story: This actually starts well before the accident. John had just gotten two brand new Javelins. We loved him to death but he was a rich fucker and changed gear like we changed socks. They came packed from the factory ready to jump. He’d had them for a couple of months. He was getting ready to leave for some kind of big way camp, I think it was in AZ. He went to Terry Irving, she was the master rigger that was doing most of the school rigging up in the loft at the time, and asked her to remove his RSL. Lets do an aside here and review the thinking on all of this at the time. Javelins originally came with or with out an RSL. You had to pay x amount extra for one. No one I have ever known even thought twice about taking them on or off. The one thing you had to be careful of was that the handle had a slightly longer cable on the RSL side. That in it self was an item that is often replaced when it is lost in a cut away. I’ll get to that later. When Javelin took some of their options and made them standard and inclusive in the price of the rig as a marketing program no one thought any thing about it. And now since there was no longer the need for an extra chapter on how to hook up the RSL on special RSL equipped rigs the Manual simply glazed over it with a small comment that the RSL that was formerly optional was now standard so people would not become panicked if they saw an older rig with out one. “Yes it’s ok, the rings in the drawing were never there to begin with.” Now, back to Appleton. Terry was busy. She could not get to it. Now I happened to have walked in and she flagged me down and asked if I wanted to do a repack. Well I didn’t have much going on and we all liked John so sure where’s the rig. I take the thing up stairs and start to look it over. I remember all of this not because of his death but because of what we found in side. I’ve done a lot of rigging at times and I deffinently don’t remember them all but we got a good laugh that day and it’s enough for me to recall the pack job. First thing I notice is that he doesn’t need a pack job. He’s still in date. So I go down stairs to see if it’s the wrong rig. Nope this is the one. He wanted the RSL off and was willing to pay for the repack to do it. I did point out to him that all he had to do was unhook the snap shackle and it would do the same thing and that he should just save his money and yank it at the next cycle. Notice that neither I nor the master rigger that gave me this project even thought to mention any type of airworthiness issue. What issue? I was just trying to save John $50 bucks. Well like I said he had dough and probable would not have blinked an eye if it were $500. Ok, far be it from me to turn down cash. Unlike John I’m not rich. So I go back up and pop the rig. This is where it got interesting. This doesn’t have any thing to do with his accident but it is why I and every one else remember the pack job. The spring did not go boing out of the container. The flaps just kind of lifted and the cap with what looked like a little black ball on the bottom of it just kind of fell off to the side. “That’s odd”. This comes under the heading of things that make you go “Hmmm.” I reached down and picked up the “ball” by the 12 in of bridal that came out when it fell over. “That’s nifty”. It was indeed the pilot chute. Some body had gotten very creative when they packed it. They had pulled every bit of fabric and mesh down to the bottom and then proceeded to twist it as tight as they could. They had then coiled this “rope” under the flap. It had been packed up for about three months and had set like that. The pilot chute spring had not been able to unroll it and instead of springing had just bent in half in a u kind of shape. “Well, it would seem there is a new type of packing technique being practiced at the Sunpath factory. I should study this more closely.” I started to swing the PC back and forth trying to get it to inflate. No Joy. Even yanking on it I could only get it to expand to about a 90 deg. Bend in the spring. It still would not catch any air. “The others have got to see this.” So I go down stairs and find Terry and a couple of other riggers, you can’t shoot a rubber band with out hitting one of us, and drug them up stairs to see the newest factory approved technique. Every one got a laugh playing with it. I think John McCollum still has the pictures. Within the next half hour every rigger on the drop zone managed to come up and look at this beauty. Of course Tom goes and grabs Appleton and tells him that he was “Going to fucking die.” And all that and gets him all scared. He didn’t even know how to pack his main. I wouldn’t have done that my self but it did get me a good tip. Not that I did any thing. We found it because he didn’t care about pissing away $50. Now none of this has a damn thing to do with the story but this is why I remember the whole incident. So to conclude I pulled the RSL off, trimmed down a peace of Velcro and stuck it on the hook and repacked the rig. Took it down stairs and dropped the rig off with Terry and got paid. I did in fact mark on the card that I’d removed the RSL so that no one would think that that out of cycle repack had been a ride. That nearly hung me. We skip ahead to the day that I drove over to the DZ. We had our own Loft by then in town. I walk into the gear store and the mood is rather somber. I over heard part of a conversation on the phone. It sounds rather suspicious and I asked if something had happened. That was when I was told that Appleton had gone in. I’ve lost count of how many fatalities I’ve been present during. There is always the same kind of sick empty feeling especially when it was a friend. Some of these things are boring and almost closed cases from the start. This one was odd and left some unanswered questions. You’ll hear fifty different stories from fifty different people but here is what I think we can say. He had a malfunction on his main. He attempted to cut away. One riser for whatever reason failed to release. The reserve deployed. It entangled with the main. The other riser released but the canopies were now entangled. At some point the reserve handle had been pulled. He spun in and did not survive. In the end that’s all that can really be said about the incident. Now let’s talk about the gear. There were several repacks on the rig since I packed it and removed the RSL. One at least was a cut away. The cut away handle had been replaced with one from RWS. He’d specifically requested one with their larger ridged tube inside. It was inspected by Gene Bland from the FSDO, Master rigger from way back, and John Stanford, manufacturer and master rigger from just about the beginning of time. Bland is good but a little out of date. Stanford is just about the sharpest rigger I know. They do not miss things. They inspected the gear down at the morgue. They found no problems with it. The risers seemed it be in spec. When suspended the left side cut away about 1.5 inches of pull after the right. That sounds just about perfect. I don’t like to speak ill of the dead, especially a friend, but I think he just got casual. He pulled until he felt himself drop and punched the reserve. The rig did exactly as it was supposed to do. It chopped the right side first. The reserve went up and the main as it spun above him entangled with the reserve. I have no doubt it happened quickly and by the time he realized what was happening it was too late. He just got sloppy and failed to pull his handle to full arm extension. He failed to fully cut away before he himself fired his own reserve into the streamer above his head. Now that sounds harsh as shit but that’s how I read it. There are plenty of other stories to explain what happened. Every one has their own idea and there have been some doozies put forward. Now lets talk about the aftermath. I’d like to say that the fact that it was Appleton had nothing to do with the treatment of the case. The truth is he was well known. Not as old in the sport as some and he didn’t go around waving his arms screaming “Look at me. I’m so great!” as has become the fashion with people trying to make a living in this sport and aspire to eat stake and living in something more then a run down trailer. He was just always there. He went to all the big ways and record attempts. People saw him. They knew him. He was liked and he was respected even if he couldn’t pack for him self. He kind of set the standard for being a rich yuppie skydiver at our drop zone. Nobody was going to try to blame this on him and no one would say that he fucked up. Well Bland starts to look at this and sees I pulled the RSL off. So he looks in the manual. What does it say? That from such and such a date the rigs came standard with an RSL. Ok, So he calls them to ask what standard means? They immeadeently latch on to this saying that “RSL’s are mandatory on all of their rigs and the removal of it is undoubtedly what killed Appleton”. It’s looking bad for the old Leemister. Removing RSL’s was a common and accepted practice on Javelins across the country but they had no problem throwing me to the wolves and cutting my throat on the alter to appease the FAA. It only took one person pointing out that if that made the javelin unairworthy that they had just grounded 80% or more of their fleet. You could hear the screeching of tires as they back peddled. Then they said, “It was an illegal alteration done by a sen. Rigger.” Wait. That grounds your fleet as well unless you had issued an alteration and each rig was signed off by a master rigger. Panic and confusion. “If the RSL has been removed before now then it’s ok and you can continue to jump it but if you remove a RSL from now on then it’s an illegal alteration and unairworthey.” Wait it’s ether airworthy or not in that configuration right? “Well only if it doesn’t piss off our customers and make us look bad.” Ok, in all honestly they didn’t say the last one. They really just wanted this whole thing to go away. Then they tried to shift the spotlight off their RSL on to other things. They tried to tell every one that it was not a riser release problem but a packing problem. Supposedly they found damage to a side flap and some stitches popped at the corner of the tray? Now I guess it’s possible that Bland and Stanford missed something but let me tell you I’ve watched Bland inspect a rig following a fatality. He used a magnifying glass. He chided me for not keeping one in my rigging kit for that purpose. Between the two of them I don’t buy that they missed any thing. Never the less the next time Jay, now the Sunpath rep, showed up there they had a new theory. He was going around trying to tell every one that would lessen that it was the packer that had killed Appleton. The Packer and the long break lines of his Specter. So Jeff was the next one on the chopping block. They had this elaborate scenario where you laid the break line like this and pulled the flap like that, and passed the flap through the loop and closed the other side with all the line clearly visible on top of the flaps, some one had to help him by the way he needed a third hand to make it work. And then when he when he goes to demonstrate how it turned into a horseshoe all it did was unstow the toggle. I never saw him succeed in making it work. He could not replicate it. Never the less he was still going around telling any one that would lessen that Jeff, a perfectly good packer and rigger, had killed Appleton. And the more you tried to reason with him the louder he would say it as if he could make him self right and win the argument through greater dessable power. So they had no problem feeding Jeff to the lion’s ether to save there own reputation when as far as I’m concerned it was never in doubt. I jump a Javelin always have. And like I said, I think the rig did exactly what it was supposed to. Perfectly. Bland was in the middle of all of this. Now a lot of people don’t like him. He is a Fed and his eyes are rather beady and he can be a pain in the ass but the truth is he’s not a bad guy. We talked about this and he told me straight up that depending on how things turned out he might have to put a letter in my file. I’ve known him for years and he really wasn’t out to get me. If he had been he’d have been picking his teeth with my bones. He wanted to address the issue of RSL’s and there removal. He wanted to do it in a formal way so that there would not be any ambiguity in the future. The truth is that he was probably right. We have been rather blasé over the years about pulling them on and off. There has been a lot of discussion about cable length. We swap out handles all the time, trimming them to fit. Just like some one did to Johns rig. We should probable be more careful about how we do that. I did not retrim his cables when I pulled the RSL. Some might but the next guy to jump his rig, he resold them, might want to put it back on. The difference in length is considered safe with an RSL installed. I’m inclined to leave it rather then risk some one putting the RSL back on and then having a premature release on the wrong side. You could say I should have trimmed it but frankly I don’t trust the next rigger to buy a whole new handle to replace that length and trimming the other side below min. is not a good answer. I stand by that call. And by the way that one worked fine. It was a replacement handle that was on there in the accident. I don’t think that was an issue ether though. The functional test seemed to come out right on the dot and the pull was a comfortable length. Never the less Sunpath seemed to feel that that handle was wildly out of spec. So to conclude, what can I really tell you? Skydivers today know less about their gear then any time in the past. They are afraid of it. Sunpath and other manufacturers fear rumor. A bad rep can bring down a whole company. Not to mention a lawsuit tried before a judge or God help you a jury of woofos that is even more of a disaster. They will say what ever it takes to protect their market share. They will not stand behind you or even what they previously said. They will look for anyone they can find to place the blame on rather then them selves. In this case they were not even willing to place the blame on a well known and liked skydiver and sought to find other people to march in front of the firing squad and had no compunction about throwing peoples reputation or even there ticket or career to the wind. Not to mention the possibility of a lawsuit if the family should come looking for some ones head. Their verbal statements change on a daily bases. They refuse to make any statement in writing. They will tell me verbally to pack a rig and that I am safe and covered but refuse to state the same thing in a written signed letter. Until they will give you a signed instruction every one of you right down to the rigger on the floor with José closing a main beside him. Is swinging in the wind. When your customer goes in with out pulling his reserve on the next main you close… More then just your head is on the chopping block. And his “Oh, your fine packing that.” On the phone will not count for shit. Especially with this company. Hence why I’m spending a lot more time printing T-shirts. Lee Hardesty Sen. Rigger Velocity Sportswear P.O. Box 312 Whitewright, TX 75491 903 364 1700 [email protected] www.velocitysportswear.com Lee [email protected] www.velocitysportswear.com
  18. You are a hero to us all. You are a Goddess an evil satanic Goddess and I kneel humbaly before your glory. You shall be legend and you deeds will live on in our stories for all of time. Lee [email protected] www.velocitysportswear.com
  19. You are just going to have to elaberate on this story. I'm assumeing this refers to a recent event but surely you could not have acheaved all these momentus things in only one encounter with our fine puplic servents that are here to protect and to serve us. Lee [email protected] www.velocitysportswear.com
  20. Now these are my kind of people. Why don't you guys get off your asses and come out east to the big cliffs on Baffin? Why the f#%k are you jerking off on top of some little A when there are 5000ft virgins waiting for you. Lee [email protected] www.velocitysportswear.com
  21. It's being coveredd very well right here in an international forum. The widest respect that he or any state seniter from NY has ever receaved. Lee [email protected] www.velocitysportswear.com
  22. There are two edges to that sword. The more it is seen the more accepted what we do will become. On the other hand there remains the perseption that all this is illeagal. high profile illeagle jumps like this one are the ammo they need to blow us out of the water. Honestly the best thing that could have happened would have been for him to lose his case. God forbid that we should win. Don't ever try to tell a cop that there is nothing he can charge you with. They'll just pass a new law. They will never be satisfied till they can arest any one they want upon there whem. Lee [email protected] www.velocitysportswear.com
  23. Don't even start that. It wont do any good. This whole thing is being fueled by the cameras. That's all he wants. Honestly has any one ever herd of this guy before even in NY? He is just rideing the wave that we our selves created. There is no way to fight this. You can't make any argument agenst him. The law will pass for lack of opesition. We are the only ones that care. If we fight it then it just draws more attention to him. He wins. It's what he wants. The bigger we make this the worse it will be. The only chance we have is that it will not get any atention and will just die out and not spread beyond NY. But once the precedent exest we are fucked and you can exspect to see it sited in every case to come. Lee Lee [email protected] www.velocitysportswear.com
  24. That brings someting to mind. any body still have a copy of the old, think it was Patreak, of them towing an elipticalbehind a speed boat. Was it one of the Traveling videos? Lee Lee [email protected] www.velocitysportswear.com
  25. Not bad but there is more advanced tec out there all ready. You might look into what the para glider people are doing before you reinvent the wheel. Thoughts: Haveing the pig tail on the handle should help but I have had exposed swedges push through the loops before. You really need a week link in there. You need a way to moderate the tension on the rope. Lock Out ocures when you get off the wind line and your body is pulled out from beneath the canopy. You must actively keep your self in line. It can quickly reach the point that you can not correct for it. the only way to stop it is to slack the line alowing you to turn back to the wind line. This can happen from just a small change in wind direction. 60m is not near enough line. At the least you need a cut away at the other end. If things go bad you will be very bussy. Keep the rings in the toggles where you can reach them. Armor and a REAL helmit. Lee [email protected] www.velocitysportswear.com