DougH

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DougH last won the day on July 11 2019

DougH had the most liked content!

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Gear

  • Main Canopy Size
    104
  • Reserve Canopy Size
    110
  • AAD
    Cypres 2

Jump Profile

  • Home DZ
    Skydive Danielson
  • License
    D
  • Licensing Organization
    USPA
  • Number of Jumps
    3000
  • Tunnel Hours
    12
  • Years in Sport
    14
  • First Choice Discipline
    Work Jumps =(
  • Second Choice Discipline
    Formation Skydiving
  • Freefall Photographer
    Yes

Ratings and Rigging

  • Tandem
    Instructor
  • USPA Coach
    Yes
  • Pro Rating
    No
  • Wingsuit Instructor
    No

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  1. The USPA group member affiliation means nothing in terms of safety. It only shows that they paid their annual dues. There are no inspections or other mechanisms to actually evaluate the safety of those operations. They could lose the designation, but that is long after a crash or a student dying because of poor instructing/student gear/etc. Your instructor made a good comment about aircraft maintenance being one of the areas cut back on, but I think that is more of a symptom of a ineffective DZO. Low funds and poor maintenance are both symptoms. A safety focused DZO isn't going to fly the plane when it isn't in the right condition, even if the money is tight and they have to send the tandems home. A smart DZO is setting aside the right reserves for maintenance so that won't happen in the first place. But MX isn't the only area of risk, smaller DZ's may also have green jump pilots that are earning their hours. I think that is of at least equal risk, because a good pilot can get you down safely when the rubber band breaks, and a poor pilot might panic and stall you in at the end of the runway. It isn't uncommon to have relatively new pilots with operations flying smaller single prop planes that aren't turbines. They should meet comercial hour requirments but sometimes just barely. The DZO needs to bridge the gap by getting new jump pilots good training from a more experinced jump pilot, and making sure that emergencies like engine outs are drilled. When you get to bigger more expensive jump planes the insurance companies start demanding more hours and training. Your best way to start evaluating DZ safety is your eyes and ears. - What is the condition of the dropzone on the ground, does everything look well maintained? - How does the student gear look. Is it nice and new, or does it look beat to shit? - Do you get a good safety briefing, or are they super casual about having a new jumper visiting. What about inspecting your log book and your gear, do they give everything a good look, or do they not seem to care. - Ask them about the pilot, how long has he been flying jumpers. If you ask nicely you should get a nice response. - How is the plane loaded. Do the instructors and jumpers communicate well, work out exit order, or does everyone just pile on the plane. - Are there seatbelts in the plane, and are all the jumpers using them? I won't jump at a DZ without seatbelts. And you should really start to question when people don't use the ones in the plane and no one seems to care. - What do they do about the landing pattern. Is it set, is it discussed, or does everyone act like it is their own personal landing area and land however they want, it which ever direction they want. Are people swooping in the middle of the pattern. Safety comes from the deliberate actions and the tone set by the DZO or club governance. If they make safety their key focus everyone else will follow. If fun jumpers and staff aren't being safe what kind of tone is the leadership setting, and what else isn't getting done?
  2. This is a really great post, thank you for sharing. It would be awesome if you could type up as much of this as possible in the history and trivia forum, maybe post pictures too!
  3. Being fully eliptical matters much less than the recovery arc. The older stilleto is a fully eliptical canopy, but it is horrible for HP landings. You want canopies with steeper recovery arcs that allow for higher longer dives that give you time to make adjustments. You don't get that with a Crossfire2 a Safire or a Pilot. I asked about coaching because I am suprised that your previous canopy selections haven't been mentioned by those coaches. Were you just getting general canopy coaching, or was it coaching that was focused on HP landings? I get the feeling that you are learning the swooping part as you go, which isn't the safest or most efficient way to go. My head is sometimes stuck in older gear selections and I forgot to mention the new Fluid Wing canopies. I have been hearing good things about the Gangster as canopy for learning how to swoop, but it isn't first hand experince. Might be worth tracking down a dealer to see if you can get a demo for all of these potential canopies before you make another purchase.
  4. Safires and CF2's are both terrible canopies to learn to swoop on due to their short recovery arcs. I don't know your experince beyond it just being 600 jumps so I don't want to go out of a limb and recommend something smaller or fully eliptical, but I will say that a sabre 2 in the same size as your crossfire is going to be better to learn on. I have seen solid progressions that went from a smaller sabre 2, to a same size katana and then on to a velo. Have you sought out any actual canopy coaching? A canopy coach would be the best place to get some advice on wings.
  5. If there was a club at one point there may be existing bylaws out there? I wonder if the old club was actually registered as an official organization with the secretary of state? Is the school a for profit organization with a DZO?
  6. You could reach out to sucessful active clubs. Jumptown in Orange MA Connecticut Parachutists Inc. in Ellington CT And I thought Orange VA was also a club, but I haven't jumped there in well over a decade. What are you trying to accomplish? Stand-alone club opening at a new airport? DZO looking to sell to a group of fun jumpers?
  7. Congrats Al, well deserved. I know he will do a great job, he represented us well here in New England with his previous position..
  8. Depends on the type of jumper. A slide-in for students is not the better or safer option. Legs are more durable, and telling students to slide is inviting them to land on their less durable tailbone. Bad for the spine when things aren't perfect. Additionally students often have a more vertical aspect to their landing thanks to things like high flares. They aren't aware enough to evaluate when one approach is appropriate versus the other, so they should only be taught the PLF.
  9. I don't mind if students friend request me, especially if they were part of a group that is memorable for one reason or another. Sometimes students wait around for weather, etc, and you get to interact with them longer than usual. Your situation sounds like something the instructor would be stoked to hear about.
  10. If I had to sterotype across gender and race I would say that all of female Indian students I take perform excelently, and much much better on average than the males in their groups. Not that it matters gender or race, doing the opposite of what you competently instruct is just what some tandem students do. We have a reasonable weight limit, so smaller instructors don't end up having to take the 285 couch dwellers to stay under system weight because we don't take them at all. I do think there should be some equity here, all the instructors should be able to take any of the students that walk in the door unless there are special indications, like a disabled passanger who should be paired with the most experienced instructor. I understand having a period for new instructors where you don't pair them with students at the edge of the weight limit, or who have a huge height diferential but eventually the kid gloves should come off and they should manage the same students as everyone else. Just my opinion.
  11. I am 5'6, and I make it work. I have seen smaller instructors. Would it be easier at 6 foot tall and lanky sure, but you can still handle most students. It is harder, you need to plan and fly your exits correctly, compared to the 6'2 bean pole who has much more room to get away with mediocre exits and poor student instruction. But so what, regardless of your height or experince you shouldn't just toss yourself and the student out of the plane with no consideration given to the exit. Also as you get more experience you will have to work harder to shoot handicam footage. I think strength matters very much. If you are short and on the weaker side I would give pause and focus on getting strong. You should be able to fly and flare unassisted with the heaviest student your DZ allows after a long day of jumps. You should be able to deal with the uncoordinated student that is pushing against you as you make your way to the door. If your dz has a slide up door like a caravan or an otter you need to be able to operate the door with a student on the front unassisted. You should be able to get you and a student up off the foor from a seated position if you have a load where there isn't enough room on the seat/bench. Just a few strength criteria that I am making up in my mind. All of the things above can be made easier using smart techniques, but everything is easier when you are stronger. I can squat or deadlift my biggest possible student, that is far from winning any strengh records, but it makes getting through a day way easier.
  12. Good job on trying to sort things out until you got that reserve overhead.
  13. You are able to compose shots better. They allow to you properly aim the helmet regardless of how the helmet might shift on your head, and how you are angled. That is compared to the orange plastic lolipops. Compared to a dot on a visor or goggles they do all of the above, plus it doesn't ever shift which can't be said about goggles. And I agree, you don't need it, especially in the age of people shooting with two super wide gopros, but I think if you give a good flier the option it will bring out the best in their product for tandem videos. For outside still photos of formations it is night and day. It takes you from just pointing at the formation and holding down the tongue switch to being able to precisely compose the shots.
  14. It all depends on your use of the camera helmet. Is it going to be used only for outside video? Leave the ring sight on the ground for inside video. Is it going to be used to film fun jumpers, or are there paying customers? You are a pro if you are getting paid, and my thought processes is professional jumps deserve a professional setup. Video and still? What are you using for video? What size lense on the still camera?
  15. Not if I win the powerball or mega millions. Does this mean I will also need to buy a new fuel truck?