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Everything posted by riggerrob

  1. ******As a person with operational control, I pledge to: • Comply with the USPA Basic Safety Requirements (BSRs), which include compliance with the Federal Aviation Regulations ....
  2. riggerrob

    Reserve pack intervals

    —————————————————————————————— Makes sense to me considering that tandems are on - almost - every load, so they experience far more more and year than sport rigs. Strong insists on an external inspection every 25 jumps. The 25 jump inspection includes stretching out the main, inspecting main lines, etc. I have done hundreds of external inspections and found many small tears, popped stitches, etc. when they were still small enough for quick re-sew. Most of the wear was on the main container and D-bag. When I eventually got to the (180 day) inspection and repackaged, I never found a damaged reserve canopy and harness wear was minimal.
  3. riggerrob

    Flag Jumps

    The neatest flag container - that I ever owned - was made by a Master Rigger in New Brunswick. He sized it for a flag 1 or 2 metres long with a packing weight hanging from the bottom of the flag. It was made of Cordura nylon and the lid closed with 2” Velcro. It had a strap on the back that wrapped around a leg strap or chest strap. I preferred leg strap mounting.
  4. riggerrob

    Where To Get Used Gear? First Rig

    Also talk to major dealers like Square One, Chuting Star and Para-gear because they often sell used gear .... sometimes on commission. Some of them post used gear on their websites - with pictures. Back when I rigged for Square One, I must have inspected a hundred bits of used gear. I am always honest when inspecting used g at and tougher than some other riggers. For example example, I will tell all involved - including the DZO - if someone tries to a Velocity 66 to a junior jumper. Southern California Rigger are fanatics about gear being fully functional before it leaves the loft.
  5. To understand why USPA requires a Class 3 aircrew medical, we have to look back 35 years to when Strong Enterprises and the Relative Workshop introduced tandem to the general public. They asked the FAA for a waiver to hang two people under one canopy. They based their waiver application on the - recently issued - FAA approval for ultralight pilots carrying passengers/students. The tandem manufacturers wrote tighter TI requirements than the FAA would have imposed. Manufacturers have always required TI to train with factory-approved Tandem Examiners. UPT wanted to get out of the expensive process of re-certifying TIs every year, so they asked USPA to take over ..... as is done in many other countries. In many European countries, TIs are certified by the national parachute association. Since Strong was not willing to hand over responsibility, we ended up with the current compromise. USPA continued the requirement for Class 3 medical because it has worked well for many years ..... low fatality rate. SECOND POINT the OP needs to grow a sense of humour and learn to recognize sarcasm on the internet (e.g. gun-free zone).
  6. Ron (OP) started on the wrong foot. The usual authorities: FAA, USPA and the rig manufacturer are doing their jobs: collecting facts, examine gear, interviewing witnesses, etc. Since suicides are difficult to explain, a USPA Board Member broadened the witness pool by asking for comments from friends and family. Police routinely de-brief friends and family.
  7. riggerrob

    Commercial balloon tandem skydives?

    Probably not too common, but baskets like these would make it a little easier. ——————————————————————————- That huge balloon basket would be easy for a tandem exit. It reminds of the three-baskets that the British, Belgian, etc. Armies used for decades - to train first static-line paratroopers. OTOH most of the comments have focussed on the popular three-sided, wicker baskets seen on hot-air balloons. Their belly-high sides make tandem edits awkward.
  8. riggerrob

    Pilot chute malfunctions

    Random knots are caused by sloppy packing. The key is packing bridle INSIDE the bundle of mesh and fabric. The goal is to get the most of the bridle out to arm’s length before it has a chance to entangle with container flaps.
  9. riggerrob

    Your tax dollars at work

    The most valuable part of military service is all the accidental learning that occurrs as young soldiers move outside their home towns. During my 13 years military service, I worked in half of Canada (Alberta, British Columbia, Nova Scotia, Ontario and the Northwest Territories) and several other countries, most notably West Germany. My ship visited ports in another dozen countries (Belgium, Bermuda, England, France, Holland, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Spain and the USA.). On weekends, I toured neighboring countries like Austria, Lichtenstein (sp?), Sweden, Switzerland, etc. After 13 years on the road, I went to university to earn “a piece of paper that says I am smart,”’but I still learned far more during my military travels than I ever learned at the University of Ottawa. Gap-years are valuable learning experiences, even if they do not include military service.
  10. riggerrob

    Your tax dollars at work

    This reminds me of a conversation with a (retired) Canadian tanker. We both served during the Cold War. I developed a massive drinking problem that lasted longer than my 13 years service. I eventually sobered up. He still drinks heavily (evenings only). When I asked him whether the Canadian Army deliberately hires drunks, he replied “No. They drive you to drink.”
  11. riggerrob

    Your tax dollars at work

    ————————————————————————————- I donned my dress uniform for hundreds of ceremonies in summer, winter, rain, etc. but no one ever explained what was accomplished by standing around for a few hours. I am still waiting for an explanation. ??????????????????????????????????
  12. riggerrob

    Commercial balloon tandem skydives?

    It seems like you'd almost have to rig something up for launching backwards, like divers leaving a boat. —————————————————————————— How does a tandem exit a balloon stable?
  13. riggerrob

    Main Lift Web Question

    ....... I did a rough measurement on myself and I'm maybe a 20 or 21". ————————————————————————————— That was only a rough measurement. Since few people can measure themselves accurately, harness factories only trust measurements made by Rigger’s or tailors. Main lift web length is only one variable. Home length and width can also affect MLW fit. Some shoulder yokes are short (from top of reserve container to 3-Ring), which makes them fit great on slender people (marathon runners), but too tight on people with large shoulders (weight lifters). The better manufacturers (e.g. Sun Path) write home size (A, B, C, etc.) on data panels. .... but you need a riggers’ assistance to decypher the code. Backpack width also affects MLW fit. Combine BP width with the length of the lateral/horizontal straps and equations get complex. Finally, leg pads that are too long (built for people with large thighs) can throw from any other harness measurement. Your next step is getting measured by a rigger - or tailor - and bringing that new number back to the discussion .... combined with a detailed description of the data panel on your rental rig. Another option is posting pictures of you wearing that harness.
  14. riggerrob

    Commercial balloon tandem skydives?

    This is really a question about landing areas. Landing in random farmers’ fields is low risk in the Canadian Prairies, but damanably dangerous along the coast of British Columbia. Yes, wind shifts have forced me to land in farmers’s fields - near regular DZs - in several countries. We always adjusted the exit “spot” before the next jump. I would never plan a tandem jump to land in a random field. How does a tandem pair exit a balloon stable?
  15. Flying near thunderstorms is dangerous!
  16. ......... That may be changing with the advent of 3D printing and rapid prototyping, because now if you post a 3d printer file to build a widget, and a million people download it, the license holder CAN lose money from lost unfulfilled demand ..... . —————————————————————————— In theory yes, but probably not in practice. The more likely outcome is a bunch of sloppy copies that perform poorly and deteriorate the reputation of the copier/forger. Sandy Reid advised me “If you don’t understand something, copy it exactly.” The problem is understanding all the critical dimensions, materials, manufacturing processes, etc. without access to factory patterns or the original design concepts. Sandy only shares design concepts when they help marketing. There are a lot of tolerances, critical dimensions, assembly procedures and patterns never shared outside the (patent-holder’s) factory. For example, I routinely repaired Talons - with factory patterns - while working at Rigging Innovations. Since they moved the factory out from underneath me, I have never seen another RI pattern. The best I have been able to obtain is bound, grommetex, etc. replacement flaps from the factory.
  17. riggerrob

    USPA Badges

    Some skydivers sew USPA badges on jumpsuits to hide holes.
  18. ........ Lone Star could live again. ......... Lee ——————————————————————————- Lone Star’s business model was based upon a giant silk screen printer. Unfortunately, the giant silk screen printer was not reliable, so both my Para-Kits were marked by hand. Fast forward 30 years and small CNC cutting tables are available down to even garage-sized models. Many can be fitted with lasers or hot-knives. Many “makers” are bright enough to fabricate their own vacuum tables. Down-load some cut files from the inter web and you can start cutting. For example: Chesepeake Light Craft are the industry leader in small boat kits: canoes, kayaks, sail boats, teardrop trailers, etc. CLC would love to reduce shipping costs by moving to the next stage of selling cut files over the inter web. Then hobbists could take cutting files to a local CNC cutting shop. The problem is that CNC cutting files are too easy to copy and the original designer earns nothing for the year or two it took him to perfect the basic boat. CLC also fears than some pirate will sell sloppy copies of a CLC design and CLC will get sued after someone drowns when their 4th generation sloppy copy sinks. Even if courts eventually decide that CLC is innocent, they still sunk hundreds of thousands of dollars into lawyers’ pockets. Finally, we need to consider the cost of materials. Buying fabrics, tapes, suspension ones, etc. in small quantities means paying retail. The retail cost of fabric roughly equals the retail cost of finished, certified canopies.
  19. riggerrob

    “Touching the Dragon” by James Hatch

    A decade after that King Air crash, I still struggle physically, emotionally and financially. This summer I could not hike for two months because of sore knees. I recently joined another group therapy session to learn better coping strategies for dealing with anxiety. Finally, I just wrote an angry letter - to a lawyer - suggesting that they owe me 15 months back wages. The DZ at Chilliwack shut down around 2000 and Pitt Meadows shut in October 2017. The last few summers I have gone to Victoria to do tandems, but only one weekend this year. I have done some fun jumps at Abbotsford. Abby has invested heavily in updates and improvements (pin checks, Kodiak, etc.) now that (son) Jessie is gradually assuming control, but the place has a different emotional vibe that I am still figuring out.
  20. riggerrob

    Military HALO opening altitude?

    The term HALO distinguishes it from HAHO. As an another poster suggested, typical HALO openings are in the 5,000 to 3,000’ similar to sport jumpers. OTOH High Altitude High Opening jumpers typically open within 10 seconds of exit (maybe 25,000’) and fly their open canopies towards their target. With strong tail winds, HAHO jumpers can cover 25 miles, creating too large an area for defending troops to search.
  21. riggerrob

    “Touching the Dragon” by James Hatch

    Retired US Navy SEAL James Hatch has written a book about three distinct phases of his life. The first third - of the book - outlines James’ “Action Man” career as a US NAVY SEAL door-kicker and parachute instructor until he was shot during a capture-or-kill raid in Afghanistan. The bullet shattered James’ left femur and ended his military career. The middle third of “Dragon” details his medical recovery for that crippling gun shot wound. The final third - almost half - of ‘Dragon details his recovery from alcoholism, depression, opiate addiction and a suicide attempt. The wound ruined his self-identity as it left him screaming on the battlefield. James harshly criticized himself for in-professional screaming on the battlefield. Boredom, pain and hallucinogenic drugs made him lose touch with reality and he turned to the bottle for splice. There is a humorous anecdote about why nurses refused him “Parachutist” magazine! Today James still limps and struggles with PTSD, but credits medics, his team-mates and wife with helping him return to reality. James also explains how skydiving can help traumatized veterans find their place in civilian life after wartime service. Skydivers can learn a lot from James’ experiences especially about how important team-mates can be while recovery from injuries. James also emphasizes the importance of wounded jumpers naming their problems, bringing problems out in the open where they can be dealt with.
  22. riggerrob

    Age of active TIs

    It is difficult to set an upper age limit for earning TI ratings. The limit is more about flexibility of mind and body. Younger skydivers are still curious and mentally flexible enough to attempt new techniques. Physical flexibility helps surviving those first few awkward landings. Physical strength and endurance make those long days easier. I earned TI ratings at age 29 and still do tandems at age 61. These days I breeze through tasks (e.g. packing) that I struggled with when younger because - over the years - I have learned more efficient methods.
  23. Also read the book “Touching the Dragon” by (retired) US Navy SEAL James Hatch. The first third of the book outlines his “Action Man” military career as a Naval Special Warfare door-kicker, tandem instructor, etc. The middle third of the book details his physical recovery after being shot through the leg in Afghanistan. The final third - almost half of - “Dragon” details his recovery from opiates, alcohol and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Hatch uses skydiving as a way to help amputees recover from battlefield injuries. He also explains how the focus and fellowship of skydiving help military veterans re-find their place in society.
  24. riggerrob

    How old is too old?

    Dear Mark, A key point is that UPT is still selling PD360 reserves that are built exactly the same way as PD360s were built during the 1980s. Performance Designs has not changed those patterns. OTOH Early (1980s) Strong 425 reserves lacked a reinforcing tape across the tail and were built with a more porous fabric than 1990s-vintage 425R canopies. Strong issued two service bulletins. One SB was about reinforcing the tail and the second was about factory inspections and setting life limits on Strong tandem gear. A second motivation was wanting to get all the first-generation Strong tandems (Dual Hawks) back to the factory for a bunch of updates. Current production Strong tandem reserves are based on their SET 366 main canopy.
  25. Manned - 12 items or less - check-outs provide employment for "socially-challenged" staff. Just put the OCD or control-freaks on those lines. The OCD kid checks 12 items, asks for cash and tips the remaining items into a "re-shelf" cart. "next customer please." Meanwhile, the Nazi, control-freak checks 12 times, then loudly and angrily berates the numerically-challenged customer. On his days off, he volunteers as a drill sergeant for the local neo-Nazi skin-heads. Hah! Hah!