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Everything posted by riggerrob

  1. Yes, it is a bit silly for doctors to worry about elders getting addicted to opiates. A few years back, I was in a lot of pain after knee surgery, so the surgeon prescribed Oxycondone. I weaned myself off Oxycondone as soon as pain subsided enough to sleep through the night. This reminds me of the last week of my mother's life, when she ingested massive amounts of morphine to dull the pain. She insisted that she never got "high" on morphine, but it did dull the pain for a few hours, allowing her to get a bit of sleep. I still have a few Oxycondone pills left. Would you like me to mail them to you? Hah! Hah!
  2. Dear JD Boston, I regulate fear in first-timers by two methods. The first is based upon my previous experience teaching earlier FJC. If an old lesson scared students too much, I back off from that technique. Then I watch reactions of students in the class room and during other ground training and try to tailor levels of fear to below those where the student can still handle complex tasks under stress. If a student is slightly overwhelmed, I ask them to step to the back of the class and watch a few other students practice the drill. If they are still overwhelmed, I suggest that they come back another day to jump. In the worst case scenario, I hand that student off the tandem instructors. Which reminds me of an incident. One day I was puttering around in the loft while Andrew was teaching the IAD FJC. Part way through the morning he marched a Japanese student in and introduced me as "our best tandem instructor." Then we went up for a tandem jump and flailed all over the sky. Even something as simple as the "banana position" was too much for her. She was emotionally overwhelmed even during a tandem! All that afternoon, I wondered why Andrew hated me so much????? That evening, Andrew explained that while teaching emergency procedures, the girl kept asking "but if I do nothing, will I still be okay?" Clearly, she was not intellectually capable of handling the stresses of a solo jump.
  3. Retiring parachutes after 20 years of service is the law in some European countries.
  4. Fear can be a training tool, but it must be used wisely. Too many early skydiving instructors came from the military where fear is routinely used to prepare soldiers for the ridiculous levels of fear and confusion they will face in combat. Military instructors gradually ramp up fear to further condition young soldiers. They also use fear as a selection process to determine which soldiers can tolerate the highest levels of fear and uncertainty. Young soldiers with low tolerance for fear and uncertainty become cooks and drives, while those with high tolerance become special forces door kickers. Unfortunately, some military instructors miss-interpret this use of fear - as a teaching tool - as a license to act like bullies or jerks. Fear does not work well as a training tool for civilians who have never been in a life-and-death scenario before. They get over-loaded and freeze. So civilian skydiving instructors need to know when they can apply pressure and when they must back-off to avoid over-loading students. For that reason, I use a minimum of fear when teaching the first solo jump course and emphasis what a good main parachute and good landing approach look like. We can add more levels of complexity (practicing stalls, riser turns, etc.) during later jumps.
  5. We teach first solo jump students only the basics and barely show them enough malfunction photos that they can distinguish between "square, slider down and steerable." Canopy flight is far to complicated a subject to teach in only one lesson. There for, when they transition to faster canopies we teach them additional malfunction drills like cutaway from a wildly spinning case of line-twists. As they progress to
  6. That was my sarcastic opinion of round reserves built during the acid-mesh-era of the 1980s. All that tensile-testing and bromcreasol green testing were only short term measures to get skydivers back in the air ... IOW ... not ground an entire sport. As soon as the acid-mesh problem became known, busy skydivers traded their round reserves for square reserves and sales of round reserves plummeted to the point that Square One refused to sell new round reserves by the mid-1990s. During the 1980s, plenty of manufacturers introduced square reserves mad of F-111 fabric but never intended to be loaded more than 1 pound per square foot. Circa 1990, Performance Designs introduced the first reserves designed to be loaded more than 1:1. Most subsequent designs - from other manufacturers - can be safely loaded more than 1:1 provided the user has plenty of experience on similarly-loaded mains.
  7. Never mind the finer points of law and manufacturers' instructions. We only expect reserves to last about 20 years, 25 deployments and 40 repacks. After that they need a factory inspection before returning to service. Those standards were written by Performance Designs almost 30 years ago. PD eventually dropped the requirement for tensile testing because they saw little difference in strength over a 20 or 25 year period, however they were patching too many reserves that tore when improperly tensile tested. Some European countries insist that all reserves retire after 20 years in service. This allows a Polish parachute dealer to resell 21 year old reserves to Americans, whose laws are not as rigid. The only exception should be for "closet queens" that have spend the bulk of their live hiding in a closet and rarely jumped. The reduced wear-and-tear from so few jumps might mean that they are still airworthy more than 20 years after manufacture. However, if reserves were made before the internet became fashionable, it may be difficult for younger riggers to access older Service Bulletins. Therefor, no rigger should be required to pack a reserve older than himself or herself.
  8. Agreeing with Gerry Baumchen, The first freebags had no through loops (e.g. Strong Dual Hawk Tandem) and short closing loops were tied to internal flaps. Second generation freebags had through loops, but they still rubbed against reserve fabric (e.g. Talon 1 and all Vectors). loop length varies widely depending up the rigger's experience. I have only sewn patches on two reserves, but one of them was in a NARO. The reserve center cell suffered a small tear because a rigger used more muscle than skill in pulling the closing loop through the free bag. Even if I only have to patch one reserve every 1500 repacks, that is too often. Third generation free bags are pinched in the middle they are easier to with only a single grommet through both layers of the freebag (Javelin, Talon 2). They are easier to pack because they need fewer tools and have a consistent loop length. While working at Para-Phernalia, I managed to convince them to switch Softie free bags from second generation to third generation freebags. EOS, Atom and Icon are between second and third generation in that they have grommets in both the top and bottom skins of the free bag, but they also have fabric channels preventing the closing loop from ever rubbing against on reserve fabric. Fourth generation free bags have more secure lines stows to properly stage higher speed openings (Icon, Racer Speed bag). These are mostly found on tandem and military rigs that deploy much heavier and faster than solo rigs. If you have read this far, you understand why I clearly prefer third generation free bags.
  9. Extremists are also far more likely to pay someone else to do their thinking for them e.g. Rush Limbaugh.
  10. Also remember that 1980s vintage reserves were barely designed to land softly at a wing-loading of 1 pound per square foot. Mainly because no one was jumping mains loaded more heavily than that. Parachutes de France were the first to introduce modern zero porosity fabic that yielded consistent landings until canopies had more than a thousand jumps. Performance Deigns was the first American company to introduce ZP fabirc and they soon developed a series of reserves designed to land softly at similar wing-loadings to their mains. That shift occurred circa 1990. IOW If you jump an old reserve (pre 1990), you are not very bright and ...er ... should pay up your medical insurance. All the older 7-cell, F-111 fabric reserves fly like 1980s vintage mains, considerably different than modern mains.
  11. All that low-altitude toggle-whipping caused an un stabilized approach. He finished his last turn too low to get a parachute overhead before touch-down. I see plenty of TIs do low turns to increase (horizontal) speed and provide more lift during the flare .. just before touch-down. I used to work at a DZ where one obnoxious TI consistently spiraled in the pattern (below 1,000 feet) and liked to to do 90 degree turns close in front of me just before landing. This put his landing direction 90 off of what all the other TIs were flying. Guess why I don't jump at the DZ any more???? However, I have never felt the need for more than a 90 degree turn even under an Icarus 330. A simple 90 degree turn makes it easy to judge height and land with a parachute overhead. CAVEAT Lawyers are allowed to quote anything I write on dropzone.com provided they pay me $1,000 per word. Rob Warner rated on Vector, Sigma, Racer and Strong Tandems Strong Tandem Examiner
  12. Rush Limbaugh's demise reminds me of a road trip that I took with Manley Butler. Back in 1993, we drove together all the way from California to Oshkosh, Wisconsin. The goal was to sell pilot emergency parachutes at the big Experimental Aircraft Association Fly-In. Manley was an arch-conservative who subscribed to the "Limbaugh Letter", bought cassette tapes of Limbaugh's commentaries and knew when every radio station in the USA broadcast the "Rush LImbaugh Show." I knew almost nothing about Limbaugh at the start of the trip, but a week later had listened my lifetime quota of LImbaugh! P.S. We sold a record number of parachutes that year at Oshkosh.
  13. Plenty of good advice above. May I emphasize the important of good canopy control? First, you need to stand up your landings without injury. Secondly, stand up those landings in the correct field. With practice, your accuracy will improve. Even when clouds prevent you from climbing to 12,000 feet you can still practice canopy skills. Warn the pilot that you are opening high and ask a friend to video your landings. During a lull, ask a local coach to critique video of your landings.
  14. Those high-top army boots will provide a bit of extra ankle protection and the deep tread will provide better traction when hiking back from of out-landings. I have done hundreds of jumps with Canadian Army boots even after I left the army. Most of later jumps in army boots were done onto soggy landing fields and I am too much of a sissy to want wet socks for the rest of the day. OTOH, the little added ankle protection really needs an extra layer to wrap tightly around your tibia and fibula and clamp them together. Half the ankle injuries are caused by separating or dis-locating ankle bones. Over the years I have jumped in Teva sandals, army boots, light-weight hiking boots, and a huge variety of running shoes. I only jumped bare foot once or twice.
  15. Dear nwt, What is obvious to you and me may have never crossed a junior jumper's mind.
  16. People who jump BASE rigs out of aircraft, then open low rarely have the first clue about the physics involved. BASE jumpers pull low for two reasons. First, their fixed object may not be very high. Secondly, to experience ground-rush, they need to pull below 2,000 to see the horizon in their peripheral vision. BASE jumpers survive pulling low because they are usually falling at much less than terminal velocity. Pulling low, at terminal velocity removes the margin of error for slow openings.
  17. Dear 20kN, I will agree with your point ... HOWEVER ... there are only tiny differences between American Federal Air Regulations and Canadian Air Regulations. Lawyers may enjoy debating the tiny differences, but there is no practical difference. Besides, both countries are signatories to ICAO, so cannot differ significantly. CARs state Canadian-registered airplanes flying over another country should follow CARs except when that is repugnant to local air regulations. Like I said earlier, FARs and CARs are soo close that debating differences is as productive as splitting hairs.
  18. Dear sfzombie, Waivers only apply to jumps made outside the Federal Air Regulations and USPA Basic Safety Rules. Please confine this conversation to jumps done WITHIN FARs and BSRs. In older days, if USPA found out about anyone jumping outside of FARs and BSRs - even outside the USA - they suspended members and cancelled instructor ratings, etc. because USPA did not want to be connected to illegal jumps. USPA made extra efforts to distance the Association from BASE jumping after it was banned in US National Parks. The primary reason BASE jumping was banned in National Parks was because of too much litter, too much graffiti, too many difficult rescues and too many fatalities. Younger jumpers now get confused about regulations that are on the books, but rarely enforced. That is my pet peeve about Canadian laws ... too many on the books, but so few enforced that the general public has their own (amateur) interpretation of laws. For example, in Vancouver, turn signals on cars are only decoration. IOW Turn signals have no practical function because so few people use them, that they no longer hint about which direction a car will turn.
  19. Dear Wolfriverjoe, You are correct. FARs and TSOs were originally written for single parachute, pilot emergency parachutes. No one does intentional jumps with PEPs. Later versions of FARs added provisions to intentional jumps with equipment that must include an approved (TSOed) single harness and dual parachute container (e.g. main and reserve that was last packed by a rigger less than 180 days ago. FARs try to ignore main parachutes because there is too great a variety for gov't bureaucrats to keep track of. BASE jumping was only invented many decades after FARs were written. The FAA does not want to bother with BASE jumping because it occurrs below their (air traffic control) radar. IOW If BASE jumping does not interfere with airline traffic. the FAA do not want to hear about BASE.
  20. Dear Veis, Please explain how a belly-band increases the risk when freeflying.
  21. Dear nwt, it is illegal to carry a non-TSOed/non-approved parachute in an airplane cabin or cockpit. Even if your pilot emergency parachute is TSOed, it cannot be legally carried in an airplane cabin if it is more than 180 days past its last inspection. The FAA has never issued a TSO for a BASE rig.
  22. They best pilot-chute handles are the hexagonal carbon fiber tubing sold by a BASE manufacturer (Squirrel?). You can immediately identify them by feel.
  23. Skratch Garrison visited us in Pitt Meadows several times during the early 2000s. Such a charming, soft-spoken wizard, wise old gentleman.
  24. Sadly, that day turned out to be a dud in 2021. What started as an attempt to gain votes from the Ethiopian, Ukrainian, Indonesian, Korean, Japanese, etc. diasporas living in Canada didn't even make the front page of many newspapers.
  25. Communist Chinese expansion into Africa and the South China Sea scares me. I understand that they are struggling to feed all those mainland, han chinese, but dredging the South China Sea is not the answer. Dredging destroys fish breeding grounds and reduces long term harvests. Fish populations will plummet over the next 20 or 30 years (see Grand Banks of Newfoundland for a similar experience.) My suspicion is that the Chinese Communist Central Committee is struggling to feed their population for the next 30 years, but have no plan beyond 30 years.