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Everything posted by riggerrob

  1. Within our lifetimes the petroleum industry is going to stop refining 100LL aviation gasoline. Then we need an alternative to keep flying. Consider the Romanian Air Force's dilemma back in the early 1990s. After the fall of communism, Romanian refineries stopped making 100LL and it was prohibitively expensive to import 100LL gasoline from Greece, so the RAF grounded their fleet of I.A.R. 823 trainers. Those trainers were powered by the same Lycoming IO-540 engines as Cessna 182 and 206. Those airplanes sat idle for a decade or so, then were bought up an American dealer and sold on to the warbird crowd, who were wearing out their similar-sized Beechcraft Mentors. Debate all you want, but DZOs are going to need new a fuel source within the next 20 years.
  2. May I suggest that a wise DZO will invest in a half-dozen sets of batteries and re-charge them mid-week? By re-charging batteries during off-peak hours, the DZO can save money on electric grid rates. With solar cells on the hangar roof, the DZO might be able to save even more money .. or sell surplus electricity to neighbours. Finally, with those half-dozen sets of batteries fully-charged by Saturday morning, they can swap battereis and fly until noon before worrying about re-charging. Also the time spent swapping batteries might be needed to allow packers to catch up. I used to work at a DZ that had too much lift capacity with a King Air. After three or four loads, we would run out of tandem rigs. So we stopped jumping for a half-hour while packers caught up, TIs trained and dressed the next batch of students and the pilot refuelled the airplane. The other reason we flew three or four loads back-to-back is that it costs hundreds of dollars to shut down a turbine engine .... wait for it to cool ... then re-start. Every hot-cold cycle costs hundreds of dollars worth of life to a turbine engine. The number of hot-cold cycles becomes increasingly expensive as you approach the end of the over-haul cycle since turbines were originally designed to take-off-cruise-land only two or three times per day ... nothing like 3 to 5 cycles up-down per hour.
  3. Dear sfzombie 13, I am not quite sure why you hate "Hillbilly Elegy" before watching it. We all agree that HE does not describe every hillbilly family accurately. Every family is slightly different. Yes, stereotyping is a risky pass-time. We do know that Appalachia has been plagued with "Hillbilly heroin" aka Oxycontin. Oxy is a powerful synthetic opiate that has ruined many lives and many families. I have consumed plenty of prescription Oxycondone, but weaned myself as soon as pain abated enough to let me sleep through the night. Much of HE is about hillbillys locked into out-moded mind-sets and traditions: addictive drugs, blood feuds, multi-generation poverty, etc. Sorry folks, but the boom days of the Detroit auto industry are never going to return to North America. These problems are not confined to Appalachia. A big city like Vancouver suffers dozens or hundreds of deaths per year caused by impure street-drugs like Fentanol and Oxycontin. Fentanol was a frequent head-line story until COVID hit Vancouver. Fentanol is still a problem ... just not Vancouver's biggest problem.
  4. I like to grab and peel red before swinging my eyes to look at silver. Then I keep my eyes on silver as I pull red. Toss red. # Put both hands on silver and pull silver to full arms' extension. Resume arch. Look over shoulder to confirm that reserve pilot-chute is leaving. Footnote# I teach students to toss red to confirm that they have pulled it to full arms' extension. The only difference with my personal gear is hanging onto red. With tandems, I just toss handles with gay abandon until I have a landable canopy overhead. The School can worry about replacement handles.
  5. If DB Cooper had a genuine USAF or USN pilot emergency parachute, it was probably a 28 foot diameter, flat circular canopy with a 4-line-release that gave it a bit of forward speed and some ability to turn. 4-line-release just releases the rear 4 suspension lines. To activate 4-line-release, the jumper pulls down on two red suspension lines that hang behind his ears. Pulling releases the 4 rear suspension lines and gives maybe 5 mph) forward speed ... enough to miss a tree, but not a lake. Once the 4-lines are released, the parachute can be steered by pulling down on a rear riser ... strap going up from the shoulder. This allows the jumper to steer away from small obstacles and face into the wind for landing. Descent rate is roughly 1,000 feet per minute and the canopy becomes more stable after the 4-lines are released.
  6. Plenty of good advice above. I did my first static-line jump back in 1977 on a military-surplus round parachute. Four years later I did the Canadian Army's Basic Parachutist Course (static-line). Then I earned a civilian instructor rating and dropped students with a variety of static-line and instructor-assisted-deployment systems. I did my first tandem jump in 1984. Even strapped to Rob Laidlaw (world champion 8-Way Team) is was still scared to jump without a ripcord or altimeter! A few years later I earned tandem and freefall instructor ratings. Then I worked full-time as a skydiving instructor for 18 years. When they moved a portable wind tunnel to Vancouver, I insisted that my students have a few minutes experience in the wind tunnel before I would do harness-hold jumps with them. Bottom line: no single method is ideal for learning how to skydive, because each method is "best" at teaching specific skills. I recommend that students do their first jump as a tandem. However, the teaching value of tandems diminishes after the third jump. Then a few IAD jumps - from 3,000 feet (1,000 metres) are the best way to learn the basics of steering a parachuite and landing on the correct field. Then a few minutes in the wind tunnel to learn the basics of freefall stability and control. Finally, combine all those skills during a few harness-hold jumps. After a few more coached dives, you are ready to write your A license exam.
  7. Thirty years ago I surveyed manufacturers for a similar rig. I ended up getting a Mirage with a large maple leaf. The maple leaf patch was only on the reserve pin cover. I have only seen one rig (A British-built Teardrop) with stripes on four or five separate panels. When the main container was closed, those stripes combined to form a Union Jack flag. Keep in mind that it is difficult consistently align all those stripes unless you use the exact same length of closing loop - every time. You will also need to pack consistently.
  8. riggerrob


    Many restaurants near Vancouver insist on writing down my name and phone number before seating me. It is part of their - Provincial gov't imposed - clientele tracking program. They would not care if I gave them the Easter Bunny's phone number! Hah! Hah!
  9. Invite all your local skydivers, all your local pilots, the local Experimental Aircraft Association, your local soaring club, and a few hundred campers to the meeting in February. Remind them to wear: skydiving, flying, AOPA, EAA, Soaring Association of America, etc. T-shirts. I once attended a pilot/skydiver's funeral where one mourner wore his best US Army dress uniform, but half the mourners wore bright red skydiving t-shirts.
  10. Dear ryoder, I watched the film in a Canadian cinema. Sometimes Canada is a better place than the USA. With luck, the USA will improve to our level under their president-elect Biden. Part of the reason that I was curious about Hillbilly Elegy is that I grew up in the North end of the Appalachian Mountains, just across the border from Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont .. and not too much farther from upstate New York. Many of my ancestors are United Empire Loyalists, Scots, Irish, Scots-Irish and Dutch who landed in New England hundreds of years ago. I wonder how my family avoided abject poverty while struggling to grow a living on soil that is not much better than soil in Southern Appalachia.
  11. Last year I read J.D. Vance's book "Hillbilly Elegy" and last night I watched the movie. Main-stream critics hate the movie because it is a sad story. OTOH I liked the movie because of painfully realistic performances by Glen Close and Amy Adams. Close plays a profane, chain-smoking grandmother who struggles to hold her family together while Adams plays her heroine-addicted daughter who repeatedly loses control. Young J.D. is the grandson and son of these two fiesty women. The film is so well acted that audiences quickly get lost in the drama and family struggles. The film ain't pretty and it ain't polite, but it is well-done. HE is an awkward portrayal of the white, lower-class voters who believed Trump's promises to "Make America Great Again." When Amy is in the depths of her heroine addiction, she reminds me of all the Oxycondone that I chewed while staring at my infected knee.
  12. Dear Doug H, There but for the grace of God go I. Turbulence slammed me into California's hard pan desert more times than I care to remember. During one of those landings I heard (via bone conduction) bone-breaking noises. Thankfully I stood up and walked away. My friend Brian agrees with your advice about knee crutch/trolleys. A few years back he crushed his heel when turbulence slammed him into a beach. He visited the DZ a week later on his knee crutch/trolley, but it was most of a year before his heel bones were strong enough to jump again.
  13. Funny! Last week we had a shouted argument about whether Donald Trump is a bully. I got the final say: "bully!" The difference between Hitler and Trump was that German voters gave Hitler free reign after 1933. OTOH Americans voted Trump out after a mere 4 years in power. If Hitler or Stalin or Pol Pot or Mao Tse Tung or Juan Peron or Bashir al Asad or Saddam Hussein or Ghengis Khan had been voted out of office earlier, there would be fewer, embarrassing mass graves.
  14. If Cabell County or the West Virginia tourism commission received any money from the federal government, then they need to follow the federal rules, which make it difficult to quickly close an active airfield. As an aside, "Cabellas" is a big-box store that caters to hunters and fishermen. Does the store have any connection to Cabell County?
  15. Whoever said that the FAA was any good at accounting? Hah! Hah! Who would have expected that we would still be jumping from Cessnas that are old enough to join Skydivers Over Seventy? Hah! Hah! Thankfully all the World War 2-surplus DC-3s and Beech 18s have retired from hauling skydivers. Mind you, I was injured when a 50-year-old Beechcraft King Air crashed. For the first three years, airplanes, cars, parachutes, etc. need little maintenance, so you can blame the factory, but after 3 years, responsibility shifts to the mechanic or rigger.
  16. Sorry Gowlerk, But I wasnot referring to the USPA-affiliated DZ in Manitoba. It has been 28 years since I last jumped in Manitoba. That USPA-affiliated DZ shut down many years ago. My knowledge about Manitoba DZs can be written along the edge of a thin wafer. Most of my knowledge of Manitoba skydiving relates to your performance during a rigging course in 2009. That course included so many bright students that we finished all the course material a day early (5 instead of the usual 6 days). Since then, your comments on dz.com make you sound like one of the brighter riggers in the business.
  17. The US Federal Aviation Administration just announced a new Airworthiness Directive affecting thousands of single-engined Cessnas. The AD - effective 12 November 2020 - covers Cessna 172, 182, 206, 207 and 210 airplanes. It requires inspecting the lower forward area of the cabin door frame where the wing strut attaches. A&Ps are supposed to inspect for fatigue cracks in that area. The FAA specified an inspection interval of every 36 months or 1,000 hours in service. This should be nothing new to long-time Cessna owners because it repeats two earlier Cessna Single Engine Service Bulletins: CSEB93-5 (Sept 8, 1995) and CSEB96-19 (Dec 29, 1995). If cracks are found, the area must be reinforced by a Cessna repair service kit. FAA estimates cost of compliance at US$1,900. Once the CRSK is installed, the inspection schedule reverts to the usual 50 and 100 hour intervals along with annual inspections.
  18. Dear Cocwheats, I have sprained my left ankle a couple of times while landing, but never broken a bone. Knock on wood!
  19. Dear gowlerk, There are only two non-CSPA DZs in Canada. Instead, they are affiliated with USPA. One DZ has beenn operating out of Ganaoque, Ontario for the last 50 years. I understand why DZO Tom McCarthy dis-associated his DZ from CSPA after he got tired of CSPA big-wigs telling him how to run his business. The problem was that Tom knew more than CSPA about things like first-jump with a ripcord, AADs on main ripcords, Para-Commanders for students, squares for students, instructor-assisted deployment, harness-hold jumps, hand-deploy pilot-chutes for students, piggybacks for students, etc. The last time I visited another USPA-affiliated DZ in Canada, I lost an argument - about seat-belts - and was forced to retire from skydiving. I worked briefly for another non-CSPA DZ and walked out after a mere month.
  20. A few modified military-surplus canopies had the data panel carefully cut out and sewn to the bottom of another gore ... away from the new drive-window.
  21. Yesterday, a conservative colleague reminded me to look up Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's "Reset." GRRRRR! He ruined my day by reminding me of how mush I hate Trudeau's version of double-speak. That smarmy spokes-man could convince a farmer that shit is good for polishing boots! ION Earlier this week, another co-worker told me of how proud he will be when his next automobile will be electric. When I reminded him that his car requires building more electric generating capacity: dams, fossil-fuel burning, wind turbines, etc. He suggested that nuclear power is the answer. Too bad too many tree-huggers, salmon-huggers, etc. enact NIMBY to prevent building less-polluting electric generators. As for over-population, birth-rates - in wealthy First-World countries - dropped below replacement rates during the 1960s or 1970s. Now first-world nations need to import large numbers of immigrants - from the Third-World to do manual labour. The best hope for reducing global population growth is educating women in Third-World countries. Educated women tend to pursue careers and have fewer children.
  22. oldwomanc6 is right. Natalie is still a puppy, kitten, cub, ... you know what I mean.
  23. Shiny! Shiny! Uh! Uh! Glad they had you up on your feet in a few hours. Doubly glad that you had too small an incision to get infected. Triply glad that you did not experience deep vein thrombosis.
  24. Dear Jean Lauzier, Despite what other people said, it is easy to put on a parachute harness if you are the only passenger in a small (4-seater) Cessna. I have thousands of skydives from Cessna 172, 180, 182, 185, 205, 206, 207, 208 and 210. A pilot emergency parachute is slightly easier to "dress" than a skydiving harness. It helps if the harness owner is close to the size of your heroine. Only 2 shoulder straps and 3 buckles. If it is a hard-core skydiving harness it probably has slip-on leg straps, that she only has to tighten. Then she only has to fasten the chest strap and tighten it. Older pilot emergency parachutes might still have round, marginally-steerable parachutes, but many modern PEPs contain square parachutes, similar in size and handling to the big, docile, square parachutes jumped by students. Some PEPs even have static-lines. If the pilot hooks the S/L to a seat-belt, then your heroine only has to dive out and the parachute will open automatically 3 or 4 seconds after she exits. Some jump-plane insurance policies insist that everyone on board wear a parachute, so that is a convenient reason to carry an extra parachute on board. Another story option is that she is going for an orientation flight in an aerobatic airplane or glider. PEPs are mandatory while doing aerobatics (Federal Air Regulations). While others have mentioned difficulties in climbing out of a harness - suspended from a tree - it is not impossible for an athlete. Remind her to disconnect her chest strap first - or risk a whack in the chin! Falling more than 15 feet risks spraining of breaking an ankle. Soft ground, slopes, piles of leave, shrubbery, blackberry bushes, snow drifts, etc. can cushion landing.
  25. We have covered "dressing" for cold weather several times before. Good advice about gloves above. When temperature dips below freezing - at exit altitude - you should wear thin, leather gloves that allow you to feel your handles. To calculate temperature at exit altitude, subtract 2 degrees Celcius per 1,000 feet of extra altitude. E.G. if it is 20 degrees Celcius on the ground (typical room temperature), you can expect it to be freezing (0 degrees Celcius) when you exit at 10,000 feet above ground level. Otherwise, dress in a series of light layers that will trap thin layers of warm air near your skin. I wear Spandex leotards, then waffle weave long underwear, then cotton sweat pants, then a jumpsuit. The jump suit's primary function is to cut the wind ... er reduce wind chill. Zippered turtle-necks are the best way to keep your head and neck warm. One pound of insulation on your head - or neck - is worth 10 pounds of insulation elsewhere on your body. My first military jump was with rucksack, rifle and snowshoes. Guess why I brought snowshoes? Hah! Hah!