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Everything posted by brettski74

  1. It might help, but whenever I've had a security screener raise questions about my rig, it's always about the control unit at the base of the reserve container and always because it's an opaque object large enough to conceal a small weapon such as a knife. I had one guy run it through a few more times to try to get a "better look" before letting me pass, but I've twice had the screener say unless he/she can personally see what that is, he/she didn't care what pictures or documentation I was carrying. I've found you're much better off if you can refer them to their own internal knowledge base and have them find their answers from there. If you think about it, he/she has no way of knowing whether I really am trying to smuggle something past security and if I am, no way of trusting any image or documentation I show him/her for reassurance. I never use such words, but that's something that never comes up. As I said, the usual question I get from security screeners is that they want to see the opaque object at the base of my reserve container to make sure it's not concealing a weapon such as a knife. What would be more handy for such scenarios would be if the main control unit casing was made of an x-ray transparent material.
  2. My understanding is that both Vigil and CYPRES use lithium cells. The guy at Air Canada actually quoted the battery brand and types to me on the phone, so he had obviously done his homework. The Tadrian AA cells for Vigil that someone else mention sound very familiar from that conversation yesterday. The CYPRES batteries are C-sized cells from what I recall of the conversation, but I don't recall the brand. I've seen them before though and C cell sounds about right, size-wise.
  3. I'm a little surprised to be able to post this follow-up so quickly. I was very surprised to receive a phone call from the guy at Air Canada responsible for their dangerous goods policy, today. He understood our collective position and said that actually, this should have been resolved long ago with Natural Resources Canada having issue a not dangerous authorisation for CYPRES and Vigil AADs many years ago, but because the paperwork never reached him, it got forgotten about and the policy never updated. He assured me that he was fixing this. It may take about a month for all the pieces to be put in place, such as updates to the website, their internal knowledge base for staff, policy information to be shared with security screeners such as CATSA, but it should be fixed as soon as possible and AAD-equipped rigs should be permitted on Air Canada aircraft as soon as possible - probably within about a month by the time everything is updated and the new policies disseminated throughout the organization. One caveat to all this that he mentioned, though, was new regulations regarding batteries. Due to some issues in recent years with various types of lithium batteries short circuiting, getting hot and in some cases, causing fires, there are new regulations soon coming into force that will require all batteries to be removed from checked baggage and carried on into the cabin. This will affect all kind of battery powered devices, including laptops, phones, tablets, cameras, etc, not just AADs. That's something that may need some thought in the near future for people traveling with multiple rigs, or larger rigs that don't meet carry-on baggage restrictions.
  4. It seems that Canadian airlines have some issue with AAD equipped rigs on their aircraft. Many of us have experienced the questions from curious security screeners and baggage agents when carrying on or checking our gear for travel on commercial airlines. We're probably all aware of the TSA policy on skydiving rigs which states that CATSA, the rough equivalent of the TSA up here in Canada is slightly less explicit, but lists parachutes as Having discussed and answered questions about my rig with CATSA staff while they check their knowledge base, those restrictions from CATSA seem to always be about the presence of gas cylinders in the rig. The Air Canada website actually has quite detailed lists on what items may be restricted from carriage. As of this writing, nowhere is any kind of skydiving equipment. Given that it's not included in such a detailed list and is explicitly as permitted by both CATSA and the TSA, most reasonable people would conclude that skydiving rigs are permitted for carriage. Not so. Air Canada has an explicit policy that prohibits carriage of skydiving rigs that are equipped with an AAD. In my experience from about a year ago, I actually saw the wording of the policy as the baggage agent showed me on her screen and at that time, the policy explicitly stated that CYPRES equipped rigs were prohibited as both carry-on and checked baggage. At the time, they let my rig on board because I have a Vigil. More recently, I hear of another Canadian skydiver travelling with a Vigl equipped rig who passed through CATSA's inspection with full knowledge of the rig and it's contents, but was then told by Air Canada staff that the rig would not be permitted on board and would have to stay behind, so it appears that in the past year, the policy has been updated to include other AAD brands. To add insult to injury, when Air Canada made this decision, they basically told the guy to leave his rig behind and board the airplane or his ticket would be simply considered unused and forfeit. He'd have to buy a new ticket for a later flight. Curiously enough, Air Canada's restricted baggage pages explicitly permit avalanche rescue gear containing both pyrotechnic triggers and compressed gas cylinders to be carried on board, so I'm unsure of why they should have a problem with a pyrotechnic cutter. For those thinking that WestJet is the answer, the official response from WestJet Guest Relations is I've advised Airtec of my experiences with Air Canada and CSPA is already pursuing the issue with Air Canada directly, but in the meantime, I would caution travelling skydivers in and around Canada to bear this in mind when making travel purchasing decisions and spend your travel dollars accordingly.
  5. It's been about 4 years since I last jumped in Oz, but the rule is that it's up to the chief instructor at the dropzone to evaluate your experience and grant you equivalent privileges and/or licence. Have you log book, licence and rserve data card - much like anywhere else. You will likely have to purchase a short term APF membership which is good for up to 6 months. If you'll be there longer than that, you'll likely have to buy a full APF membership. There's a lot of places there I haven't jumped, but everywhere I did jump wanted to see APF membership. As the other guy said, more information on the APF website. Follow his link.
  6. We recently arranged a 4-day training camp for my 8-way team at CSC. After initially trying to organize the camp at a different DZ and getting nowhere, CSC stepped up on very short notice, helping us with last-minute accommodation arrangements and stellar support from the dropzone. The Twin Otter was excellent and turned frequently to get all our training jumps in. The packers were efficient. The landing area is large and obstruction free. The facilities were great, not to mention shiny and new. The staff were extremely easy to work with and eager to please. There are very few dropzones where I've had as positive an experience as we had with CSC and I would highly recommend it to fun jumpers and teams alike.
  7. There's always a delay between input and response. From what I remember from my Brian Germain canopy course from a few years ago, I was under the impression that this is at least partly a function of suspension line length, not brake lines. More slack in the brake line may delay the actual input slightly, but that doesn't sound like what the OP is asking about. The way I recall this being explained is that the canopy, lines, harness and pilot are all part of a system. When you change one part of the system, such as by pulling on a toggle or riser, the remaining components must reconfigure themselves toward a new steady state (such as a spiral, dive, flare, etc) The movement of the remaining components into such position takes time. The longer the lines, the longer it takes the suspended weight of the pilot to swing into position to keep the system flying in the new configuration. There may be other factors at play as well, such as aspect ratio, elliptical-ness, angle of attack and more, but I have a feeling that longer lines will have some effect also. I'm assuming that a swoopier canopy like a crossfire will generally have longer lines than a stilletto, but I may be wrong.
  8. It's not that it's never discussed. I include it when I'm doing emergency procedures reviews with novices for their licences, but it's not consistently covered and their are a lot of differing and in some cases conflicting opinions on how to deal with the situation in North America. When I was jumping in Oz a few years ago, there seemed to be a much more consistent attitude towards how to deal with clouds and in general, I think that makes for a much safer situation than any variation on the actual rules applied (eg. slow spirals vs flying straight) can achieve.
  9. I'm not sure which boxes you're talking about, but my requirement set doesn't include "small door", "cramped cabin" or "CoG issues when launching an 8-way". It may have some useful performance characteristics for dropzones, and for certain types of skydiving, it may be great, but for a lot of the things that I do most of the time, the PAC750 is not well suited at all.
  10. It's been a few years since I had to sign the cloud-jumping rules at an Oz dropzone, but last time I did, they were: 1. In freefall, minimize horizontal movement (ie. no tracking, backsliding, sidesliding or forward movement) 2. Under canopy, execute a slow, right-hand spiral (ie. flat turns, not spiralling down like a mad man) 3. Do not deploy within a cloud unless you are at the hard deck (ie. 2500') In general, this is pretty much what popsjumper was saying and I tend to agree with the logic. In a similar discussion a few years back, billvon also made the point that if you entered the cloud in freefall as part of a group, sticking religiously to rule #1 above may not be so great, since the people you're most likely to collide with during break-off, deployment or shortly thereafter are the people from your group, so if you were to hit break-off altitude inside a cloud, then your should probably still turn and track, but be mindful of not going too far (lest you hit the next group) or too hard (lest your heading control become too wild and unpredictable without the visual cues). I don't agree with the logic of going straight under canopy. Most of us aren't flying accuracy canopies, so we can't go straight down even at full brakes. You're always going to be going forward. Using the above rules, you should rarely be opening in clouds, and if you do have to open inside a cloud, then maybe you need to reconsider your criteria for deciding when to jump and when not to jump. That being the case, for the majority of cases, you should be open in clear air. If this is above the cloud, then you should have also had plenty of time to ensure adequate separation prior to entering the clouds and if you start with adequate separation, executing a slow, right hand spiral will keep you in the same column (eg 50m wide) of air. If you're so close that executing such a spiral has a high chance of collision, then you screwed up before you entered the cloud. Actually, I feel this is part of the problem. I'm not saying that cloud jumping should be legal or illegal, but the fact that nobody wants to come up with formal guidelines because it is illegal means that if someone ends up in such a situation, they're now left to come up with a plan on the fly, which is far from optimal. We're not children. I'm pretty sure that most of us can understand the concept of "Don't jump in clouds, however, in the interests of safety, if you should find yourself in a cloud, here's what your plan should be..." As for the arguments against changing the plan, if everybody jumping at a particular dropzone is required to know the cloud jumping rules and is expected to follow them, then they are now part of everybody's plan. As for the bigway question, I think that most organizers who can get 100+ people to show up to a 100+ way event are responsible enough will most of the time abort the jump if they're not sure that we have enough clear sky for everyone. That said, shit does happen and I've been in a cloud at some point or other on one or two large formation dives. On such a dive though, you don't really have the option of changing the plan. There's so many of you up there trying to use the same finite amount of space concurrently, there's really no other place for you to go other than where the break-off plan told you to go. Go anywhere else an you have a much greater risk of running into someone come deployment, so you do your best to get to where you were supposed to be for deployment and you deploy at the designated altitude.
  11. Disclaimer: It's been about 3 years since I've jumped in Oz, so take that as you wish... As Squeak said, you'll get a better response at, however, if you want to do AFF in that part of the world, Ramblers at Toogoolawah is the best place to go. It's not so much about the altitude or the plane, although both of those will be better at Ramblers. It's about the atmosphere and the learning environment. Ramblers is a fun jumpers dropzone and will give you a lot better opportunity to continue developing in the sport long after you've graduated from AFF. Caboolture does have a few fun jumpers, but my impression when I was there is that it's more about tandems. The only exception seems to be when they get a bigger plane in for a weekend. This happens on occasion. I jumped the skyvan there a few years back, but the only local jumpers I met on that weekend were staff. Everyone else I jumped with were visiting because the skyvan was there.
  12. You probably would have copped less shit on both youtube and here if you had included a comment to that effect in the description of the video. It is easy, especially for the uneducated, to look at something like this and assume certain things about the motivations of the owner of the video.
  13. The big difference between student mode and pro mode is the descent rate required to activate (45mph vs 78mph). While there is a small difference in activation altitude (1040' vs 840'), I expect that most people would expect deployment - especially student deployment - to have been initiated far, far above both of those altitudes. How likely do you think it will be for the typical user of that rig to bust through 45mph descent rate with a fully inflated, functioning canopy?
  14. If you want some more formations, here's my 3-way formations page. It's not set up as a dive pool, but there's nothing stopping you assigning letters to as many of them as you want for a 3-way scrambles competition. It has all of the formations from above, plus a bunch of extras, although CHAIN == SNOWFLAKE and POD == STARDIAN. Enjoy.
  15. If your point is that Airtec/CYPRES isn't perfect, I think most people should already know that. Every AAD manufacturer has had their issues. On the other hand, if you're looking at current reliability levels, IMHO, I think it's difficult to argue against the reliability record of CYPRES and CYPRES 2 units currently in service. That said, I tend to agree with the wait and see attitude of some of the manufacturers such as Sunrise and VSE and think that the actions taken by some manufacturers against the Argus is premature and likely to lead to a lot of skydivers jumping without an AAD which despite it's cutter problems, seems more likely to improve safety outcomes if left in the container than degrade them. As for what dogs I may or may not have in this fight, I jump a Vigil 2 which I regret buying and have some reservations about their design philosophy, however, they are nowhere near grave enough to warrant replacing my Vigil 2 with another device and I still believe that the net effect of the Vigil 2 is an overall improvement in safety. If I was to buy another AAD tomorrow, however, it would probably be a CYPRES 2, although I've become very curious about this new M2 device coming from MarS/Alti-2 in a few months. I don't know enough about it yet, nor am I likely to buy one straight out of the gate, but certainly curious.
  16. Another logical fallacy... Just because he didn't say that doesn't mean that he never considered other safety factors. I see you do CRW and fly a wingsuit. I'm guessing that when you're preparing for a jump, you give adequate consideration to the relative skill levels on the other people on the jump and whether it's appropriate for them, the equipment available, current weather conditions and whether it makes sense to proceed with the jump in light of those factors. I'm also assuming that you don't always enumerate every such thought to the folks that at manifest when you manifest for the load. I also assume that when you don't explain such thought processes to them, they just assume that you're a grown-up and can think for yourself, rather than quiz you on it or accusing you of not thinking about them. If everyone enumerated every thought they ever had when considering equipment purchases, jumps they're wanting to do or just about anything else in this forum, it would get very long and very boring. Can we stop reading stuff into people's posts for the sake of attacking people and save the jumping on them for situations when someone actually says "I wouldn't do XXX jumps if I didn't have an AAD because it makes me feel safer."
  17. I agree. It's just not what he said. If he'd said something like, "I'm doing bigway wingsuit flocks with a bunch of raving nutters that are trying to kill me, so I'll get an AAD or else I won't feel safe doing so." then you'd have a point. What he said was that he has recognized a certain level of danger in skydiving and that there is a device that in some small way may mitigate a small portion of those dangers and that since he has the means to get one, it makes sense that he should do so. Nowhere did he say that if for some reason he failed to get an AAD would he stop doing those jumps. You read that into his statements without him ever saying it. By your logic, nobody should ever choose to adopt new safety equipment lest they be teased by the big kids for being stupid and only doing what they're doing because their new safety devices made them feel safe. What next? Are you going to ask him to go on some big wingsuit flocks without his AAD just to prove something to you? He has nothing to prove to you. I'm actually not sure why he's trying.
  18. The top teams can already do 15+ jumps per day using existing aircraft. For training value, it's more important to have an aircraft that is the same or similar to that which will be used in competition. 5 minutes to altitude also likely means that the jump run speed will need to be a lot higher to avoid a stall. I doubt that many, if any jets could safely fly as slowly as typical jump ships do on jump run.
  19. I wouldn't be surprised if you see Cookie at Skysisters. It's one of the closest dropzones for him and he's usually out there during boogies. Maybe he'll have some demo product for you to try out.
  20. You forgot to mention how easy it is to loose altitude awareness while fixing a malfunction.
  21. Short answer, not really. Longer answer... Grab your user manual for your AAD and look up offsets. It's not really intended to be used to make the device fire at a higher altitude AGL, but could be used for this. Personally, I wouldn't recommend it, for several reasons. If you mess it up, you could create new problems for yourself, like a two-out, or effectively disable your AAD if you set the offset in the wrong direction. For now, I think you are better off trusting the decisions of much more experienced people who designed the device until such time as you have a little more experience and understanding of the risks and benefits of such things.
  22. You're emergency procedures don't really change. You still have the same decisions to make and the same actions to take. You're just on a shorter timescale, so you have to be prepared to make decisions and act more quickly. It sounds like you'd like someone to remind you of that. This is fine and not really a bad idea, however, I have chopped twice on 100-way jumps and I was acutely aware of the reduced time scale and the myriad canopies all around me, even if they were something of a blur. I did make decisions more quickly and in one of those cases made a different decision than I might have made on a smaller jump with more altitude remaining. If you're altitude aware, then you'll know you don't have a lot of time/altitude and act accordingly. If you get distracted and lose altitude awareness, I don't think a brief reminder on the ground is likely to make a lot of difference. Also, if you realize that you're low and start to panic, I also don't think a brief ground reminder is going to make much difference. You're best bet is to think about these things before every jump. Visualize it and practise the movements.
  23. That's not it at all. We're all grown-ups here. We all have a brain and are able to make decisions. To be frank, you already have the ability to set your AAD to open at 1200' if you feel safer about it by setting an offset. Would I do it - no - mostly because of laziness and the potential for incorrect manual settings, but at least in part because I don't believe the effect on safety would justify it. It is every jumper's responsibility to understand how their gear works and use it accordingly. If you have an AAD on your back that will fire at 1200' AGL and a canopy that takes 800' or more to open, then you need to plan and execute your jump with appropriate consideration given to those facts. If you toss your pilot chute out too low and end up with a two-out as a result, then you've failed in your obligation to use your equipment responsibly and this is why many dropzones will consider AAD fires a serious infraction worthy of grounding. Does this mean that a two-out will never happen? No. Skydivers are still human. They can still fuck up and equipment can still fail. This remains true regardless of how high you plan pull altitudes or program an AAD to fire.
  24. Definitely! I believe that at every bigway event I've been to at Perris Valley, somewhere in the initial briefings Dan BC has made a comment along the lines of: I know a lot of skydivers who jump different canopies at bigway events than they do when jumping in smaller groups at home. This is precisely because of their opening characteristics. If you're uncomfortable with your canopy's opening under bigway conditions, perhaps you should be joining this group.
  25. In addition, both P3 and World Team have been working on improvements to break off procedures for bigways to try to reduce the problem of traffic around deployment, which should further mitigate the need or motivation for the low deployments that do happen.