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Everything posted by riggerrob

  1. riggerrob

    Russian paratroopers

    Russian paratroopers pull a drogue release handle a few seconds after exit. Dumber Russian paratroopers wait until they scare their KAP3 AADe. That drogue ystem softens openings when the jump plane flies faster than 130 knots. It also allows pseudo-free fall from high altitudes, with minimal training. American smoke-jumpers copies the Russian drogue system. Back in the early days of tandem, they used the same F-111 canopies as both main and reserve. Strong Enterprises was already sewing drogues for American smoke jumpers; so adapted a drogue to their Dual Hawk Tandem. Hard openings suddenly became a minor problem along with far fewer torn canopies, reserve rides, etc. An unexpected offshoot was the slower free fall allowed free fall photographers to keep tandems in frame and, a new revenue source for DZs.
  2. riggerrob

    Heli tandems - seeking info

    I have done a few tandems out of Jet Rangers and an Alouette 3. I have also skydived solo from Chinook, A Star and Huey. Start by asking the pilot to reverse the co-pilot’s seat (left side, front). Seat tandems as normal and fasten seatbelts. Belts work best with original seats installed. Above 4,000’ start your normal hook-up procedure. Slide the left door open a minute or so before exit. Slide your butts towards the door. Tell the student to cross their arms on their chest and try to kick you in the butt. Push off gently and wait until 4 seconds after exit before tossing frigid. Yes, you might be tempted to ask the pilot to hover as you exit, but he/she will burn far less fuel (and be able to fly higher) if he/she maintains at least 40 knots.
  3. riggerrob

    Three People Narrowly Escape in Tandem Collision (Video)

    Criticizing the TI for being too busy videoing to pull the reserve ripcord. Landing with a ripcord still in your harness is sloppy.
  4. riggerrob


    Sailtrite makes great little sewing machines. They will sew E-thread through multiple layers of Corduroy or webbing, similar to a Singer U20. I have been using a Sailrite for the last 4 years and live it!
  5. riggerrob

    Jumping in Europe

    Look at DZ listings in “Parachutist” magazine (USPA). Visit German DZs close to you and ask them about other DZs. Many well-educated Europeans speak two or three languages, so communication should be only a minor hassle. In the long run you will want to learn how to speak basic German.
  6. riggerrob

    Looking for some ideas

    A hurricane can dramatically increase tension. The aircraft carrier deck is rolling 45 degrees to the side. Exhausted sailors bounce off bulkheads ....., etc. Seas will need 4 or 6 days to calm enough for the cargo plane to land. Fighters might be able to land in rougher seas because their higher/heavier wing-loading makes they less affected by turbulence but no sane pilot wants to do near a hurricane. Perhaps our heroes are already in cloud when they blunder into the hurricane. Flying through the hurricane bounces them around inside the airplane .... breaking arms, etc. .... if they release seatbelts too early. Flying out of cloud - into the sunny eye - gives a moment of emotional relief but it also applies time pressure. They only have a minute or two to exit. If the last person hesitates and exits late, he will descend into the hurricane wall. In that scenario, I would take exit altitude down as low as 500 feet (150 metres) to minimize the risk of missing the target and reduce exposure time to winds. If a junior jumper hesitated, I would “muscle” him to the door and pull his ripcord as I shove him out the door .... easier to do if he/she is unconscious. The primary reason that we do not drop students in winds exceeding 15 knots is the risk of dragging after landing.
  7. riggerrob

    Looking for some ideas

    Deployment altitude depends upon velocity vector. ... er .... which direction you are travelling and how fast. If jumping from a military transport airplane you can take jump altitude down to 500 - 300 feet (150 - 100 metres) above ground. If the airplane is travelling 100 - 130 knots (160 - 200 kilometres per hour) horizontally, your parachute will open with hardly any altitude loss. If you pull your ripcord in the doorway, your parachute will open with hardly any altitude loss. That gives you less than a 30 second parachute ride.
  8. riggerrob

    AFF training in Canada - Quebec

    Accelerated Free Fall in the USA. Progression Accelere’ en Chute Libre = progression accelerated in free fall. Some Quebec DZs called it Accompanied Freefall ... which made the most sense to me. Progressive Freefall in most of Canada All similar programs and all tailored to how fast the student learns. I have done hundreds of PFF jumps as a reserve-side instructor (aka training wheel) where my primary task was holding the student stable until they recovered from sensory over-load ... usually 5 seconds after exit. As soon as they announced a (portable) wind tunnel was coming to Vancouver, I refused to do PFF jumps with students before they had a few minutes of tunnel time. Which brings us back to the OP’s question ..... one-on-one PFF/AFF/PAC etc. is fine as long as the student already has some experience in a wind tunnel. After that, the quality of the student is the biggest variable ... followed by the quality of instructor(s).
  9. I have used deep stall to clear a few tension knots on tandems and one line-over on a solo canopy. the technique requires pulling the canopy into a deep stall, straight ahead. When you let the goggles up rapidly, the canopy dives forward and - for a brief few seconds - there is hardly any tension on the suspension lines. This allows tension knots to untie themselves and - on rare ocassions - MIGHT allow a line-over to clear itself. MIGHT!
  10. riggerrob

    Eye Glasses

    Buy a sports strap for your glasses. Yes! the school might supply goggles that fit over eye glasses, but few students adjust them tight enough. Too often over the glasses goggles blow loose in freefall. In the long run you will want to equip yourself with prescription sports goggles: rracquetball, basketball, scuba, gas mask glasses, Wiley X, or any of the dozens of models marketed to motorcyclists, bicyclists, etc. Even industrial safety glasses provide better eye protection than "street" glasses.
  11. riggerrob

    New Reserves and Packing Data Cards

    FAA and PIA policy is for the old packing data card to go with the reserve canopy. All the other parts go with the harness/container. Conscientious sellers will ship a photo-copy of the card with the container. They might also send a photo-copy of the reserve packing data card with the AAD. Mind you, many AAD manufacturers now send separate cards specifically to record AAD maintenance: factory inspections, cutter replacements, Service Bulletins, etc. I disagree with Mark because I believe that all Service Bulletins, modifications, harness alterations, etc. should be written on the reserve packing data card. It is a professional courtesy to the next rigger.
  12. Tolerance - between the finger trap and first stitch is "minus zero or plus a half inch." Too close and the separate lines will tear stitches. Too far and most people do not notice. The primary function of the stitch is to hold lines in alignment until the finger trap is loaded. Almost any stitch will hold thing sin alignment. Once the finger trap is loaded, it will lock in place.
  13. riggerrob

    Using risers with RSL on other side..

    Once you hook it up, pull the riser in all possible directions to confirm that the RSL still has a bit of slack. Err on the side of a bit of slack in the RSL.
  14. riggerrob

    How much does slider size actually affect openings?

    Definitely start with an Icarus trim chart. Ask a local rigger to measure your line trim and compare it with the trim chart. As lines shrink out of trim, openings become more “interesting!” Altering the distance between grommets changes more than just the amount of slider fabric exposed to the wind. The old school solution was cutting progressively larger holes in sliders .... a job best done by a digger because it might need some reinforcing tapes sewn on.
  15. riggerrob

    Shelf life on containers?

    Mr. gunsmokex, Warehoused harnesses lose little strength over 20 years. OTOH In service, one summer laying out it the sun can ruin a harness. The simplest inspection technique is comparing fading on the front side and the back side of the same reserve riser. Yes, neon colours lose their “sheen” much faster, so fading is a less accurate way to measure their strength. I have seen neon rigs lose their sheen in as little as a single year (Southern California Desert), but they were still strong enough for another thousand jumps. The other problem with 20+ year old rigs is that they have fallen out of fashion. While they might still be relevant for belly-flying, they may not be for more recent styles of skydiving. I can show you a badly-torn Vector II. During a sit-fly jump, the main pilot chute snuck out of its pocket (leg strap) and the deploying main ripped the reserve container halfway off the backpad! Only stitching was damaged. I had the sewing machines and skills to sew it back together, but advised the owner to buy a newer design that was more free-fly-friendly. Fortunately the reserve free bag and canopy were undamaged, but by then its Raven III (249 square feet) had been superseded by a couple of generations of reserves designed to be loaded more than 1/1. We also salvaged its Cypres. Funny how we rarely hear the term “free-fly-friendly” these days. Once the problem areas were recognized, “fixes” quickly became “production standard” across the industry.
  16. Yes! Dacron has more surface friction and more bulk that force sliders to hesitate - that extra fraction of a second - before roaring down lines.
  17. riggerrob

    nil winds

    Better DZs have well-established no-wind landing patterns. For example: land parallel to the runway. Similar, do not cross the runway below 1,000’ AGL. This follows from the prohibition against interfering with airplane traffic patterns. Since prevailing winds are from the west, the default landing pattern is to the west. Since there are lots of obstacles (houses, trees, fences, wires, ditches, roads, guard dogs, etc.) to the east of the landing field, the default landing direction is to the west. When winds are light, you are far more likely to miss by over-shooting .... please overshot into an open area. At some DZs, the ground radio instructor, DZSO holds the (landing direction) arrow to prevent it from swinging in light winds, “advising” everyone to land in the same direction as the arrow. Anyone ignoring the DZSO’s advice about landing direction will get advice about pulling his head out of his ass and if the problem persists will be followed by more advice about alternate sports (e.g. bowling)! Hah! Hah!
  18. riggerrob

    Accuracy landing for students

    Brother Cool Beans, We wish all students were as curious as you! Learning canopy control has a steep learning curve - in the early stages - then settles down to refining observations and techniques over hundreds of jumps. Sister skybytch provided plenty of sound advice. Modifying the curvature of your final turn towards The target (last 600 to 300 feet of altitude) is only predictable if it is variations on a left turn. Alternating left and right turns only confuses people behind you. Confused people make mistakes. Confused people get hurt! Learning how to read the winds is a decades-long process. It starts with staring at the wind sock to determine wind direction. Knowing wind direction helps determine landing direction. Secondly, note how much the windsock/flag droops. It I hangs straight down, and here is no wind and your final approach will be shallow .... meaning turn into final approach we’ll down-wind of the target. OTOH if the windsock is blowing straight back from the pole (horizontal) winds are too strong for students to be in the air. Strong winds vastly increase the risk of dragging after landing. Strong winds also trick people into turning onto final too far down wind. Far wiser to turn final close to the target. Thirdly, observe dozens of other jumpers landing. Start by comparing their approach angle with the windsocks’ angle. Try the o keep I mind that the tiny, fast canopies favoured by “canopy pilots” ignore wind shifts far better than sluggish student canopies. Fourthly, do wind checks under canopy. Classic precision landing technique includes turning into the wind about 1200 feet above the target and shut off to the side. Apply half-brakes and give the canopy 5 seconds to stabilize before trying to determine your approach angle. Once you determine your approach angle (e.g. the landmark that is neither rising nor descending in your view) make a mental note, then complete your last turn on to final approach at that angle - or a slightly shallower - angle. Winds always decrease as you near the ground. I prefer talking about angles for two weeks reasons. First: the human eyeball is a miserable altimeter. Secondly, my dyslexia makes numbers just a jumble of silly little bits of random data. Hah! Hah! Finally, if you read classic precision landing textbooks (published by Eiff, New England Parachutes, Performance Designs Zero, etc.) take them with a grain of salt. Yes, they are written about wing-loadings similar to student wing-loadings (typically 0.7 pounds per square foot), but those are specialized canopies optimized for stability near the stall. When a canopy is that close to stalling, it has no surplus energy to “flare” or reduce vertical descent rate. Stalling onto an inflated competition “tuffet” is fun, but the same landing technique on hard ground will bruise or sprain you! Forget about finer competition techniques until you can do 10 stand-up landings in a row within 5 metres (15 feet) of your (Frisbee) target. IOW stick with “sport accuracy” and “exhibition jump accuracy” techniques for your first few hundred jumps. Performance Designs just announced their “Bullseye Sport Accuracy” tour for 2019. This series of casual competitions provides plenty of opportunities to learn theory and practice under the eye of coaches. Few spectators care about your score (measured in centimetres) because they are too busy observing how smoothly you approach and how your skills improve over the summer. Go check out the “Bullseye Sport Accuracy” page on PD’s website.
  19. riggerrob

    Pit Meadows '86

    Bobby Magee still jumps. I repacked his reserve a few weeks ago, just before Bobby headed to Lodi.
  20. Canadian skydiving students can “self-declare” their medical fitness. OTOH Canadian Tandem Instructors are supposed to maintain Transport Canada Class 3 medicals (private pilot). While the doctor’s examination is simple and stable aight forward, TC paperwork require many weeks to process. So, every time I trained a new Strong TI, I insisted on a doctor’s note (ideally from a TC-approved aero-medical doctor) but told them not to waste time on TC paperwork. Sometimes air crew medicals are illogical. While American light sport pilots are allowed “self declare” their medical fitness, Transport Canada insists on 4th Class Medical for ultra-light pilots. TC 4th Class Medicals require all the same complex and expensive medical tests as commercial pilots. Can anyone explain TC’s logic??????
  21. riggerrob

    Shelf life on containers?

    Once fading is visible, strength has deteriorated by half.
  22. riggerrob

    On opening, grab toggles or rear risers?

    Wow! For once I am agreeing with wolfriverjoe! Hah! Hah! Like the OP, I did my first 50 jumps on rounds but have modified my opening techniques over the years. I usually grab my rear risers as the slider comes down. Sometimes I encourage the slider by pulling rear risers deeper. Rear risers are the quickest way to steer away from other canopies. RR are also the best way to stop spins. The last couple of times - my sloppy packing caused - goggles released pre-maturely, I stopped the spin (before 90 degrees) using only toggles. Then I took a second look .... cursed my sloppy packing .... and grabbed toggles to do a control check. That technique changed when I started doing tandems (1986). Since tandem risers are as flexible as crow-bars (Har! Har! Har!) - and they cut my fingers a few times - I quit grabbing tandem risers during opening shock. Now I just raise my hands - close to risers - and watch the last stages of inflation. With light-weight tandem students, still practice rear-riser turns and rear-riser flares.
  23. riggerrob

    HELP!!! Jumping in Austria.

    Thanks for teaching us a new nationalistic slur. Why does one nation feel the needto put down other nations? Wouldn’t the same effort improve nation one?
  24. riggerrob

    tandem reserve

    Better un-employed than dead. Manufacturers hold TIs responsible for reserves being in date. If the rig owner refuses to show you the packing data card .... refuse to jump that rig. Some DZs prefer to keep PDC in a filing cabinet ..... fine ..... but they should still be available to TIs. If anyone tries to rush your pre-flight gear checks .... tell them to “mellow out!”
  25. riggerrob

    HELP!!! Jumping in Austria.

    Start the paperwork many months before you visit Austria. Sounds like the Austrian gov’t has their own unique interpretation - that a skydiving licence is similar to a private pilot’s licence. Only a few totalitarian countries maintain that attitude, mind you totalitarian countries rarely permit sport jumping. Insurance is another issue. USPA third party liability insurance does not protect you when jumping outside the USA. A short-term membership in the Austrian Parachute Association should provide the necessary third-party insurance. Another issue is medical insurance. Since the USA lags so far behind the rest of the industrialized world, you will need to provide written proof of medical insurance before many European DZs will allow you to jump. Submit your medical paperwork many months before visiting an Austrian DZ. .... and read the dz.com thread about paperwork for visiting jumpers.