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Article Comments posted by riggerrob

  1. 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.

  2. Well written Anita!
    Why did you not ask for a jump from the Breezy?
    A while back, I did 4 jumps from a Breezy into an EAA pancake breakfast. That seat truly shrinks an inch per thousand feet of altitude! Exits were ridiculously easy.
    How far back ...... hint: My canopy was a Delta II.

  3. Reminds me of a book entitled "Positive Addiction." The author (a medical doctor) said that humans crave endorphins, adrenaline, dopamine, etc. in varying degrees. If your day-to-day existence does not produce enough "feel good" endorphins, you need to engage in recreational activities that stimulate production of endorphins. Endorphin generating activities may include barroom brawling, BASE jumping, marathon running, petty crime, skiing, warfare, etc.
    The author recommended adrenalin sports as positive ways to generate feel good endorphins. For example chosing marathon running over morphine injection is a "positive addiction."

  4. Good points Annette.
    Consider that all skydivers live with "normalized deviation" by jumping out of airplanes - something the general public avoids because they know it is dangerous.
    Also consider that going a few years between accidents makes it easy to forget dangers. For example, few jumpers at Pitt Meadows wear seatbelts because they prefer to forget a crash that happened 9 years ago ..... even though the wreckage still lays beside their boarding area!

  5. The only time I have suffered a two-out was when jumping student gear (during an instructor certification course). My Manta 290 (main) and Tempo 250 (reserve) flew gracefully into a biplane, with the main leading. Since I already had the main toggles in hand, I just did gentle toggle turns. As long as I only did gentle toggle turns (front canopy) they remained in a stable biplane. Since I was descending so slowly, I did not bother flaring. The jump concluded with a gentle butt-slide in the grass.

  6. Why am I picturing a future skydiving school with a fleet of drones that haul static-line students to 500 or 1000 metres high?
    Drones would use GPS navigation to fly over the dz and drop students automatically over today's spot.

  7. Annette,
    I always learn something new from your articles.
    Good points about "underlying logic" and "pointing your finger towards the spot."
    Spotting is such a huge subject.
    May I add "pre-spotting" meaning keeping your eyes outside the airplane for the last two minutes before exit? Familiarizing yourself with the direction of jump-run, clouds, winds, speed across the ground, etc. reduces the number of decisions to be made immediately after the door opens.
    Even better is multiple eyeballs outside the airplane checking for traffic in the pilot's blind spots.
    Even better is multiple eyes outside the airplane looking for traffic in the pilot's blind spots.
    Sorting out all those different groups is best done on the taxiway before that noisy airplane shows up. It speeds loading if all the different groups stand in a line before that noisy airplane shows up.

  8. Good point about pull-up cords and rubber bands. I always stuff a few spares in a pocket on my rig and keep the rest in a pocket on my gear bag.
    For something as important as pull-up cords: 1 = none. So carry two or three of the most important items.
    Speaking of important items, we return to the subject of rubbers. Carry a few spares with your sleeping bag.

  9. NickyCal,
    There has been no "official" change to seat-belts off altitude, but fashion is trending upwards .... similar to the way fashionable opening altitudes are trending upwards.
    The old logic of waiting until you climb above 1000 feet considered that you were high enough to open a reserve and the engine(s) had survived the first power reduction.
    Most aircraft engines are only rated for full, take-off power for a minute or two. Run them too long and they overheat and melted bits start falling off the engine(s).
    The new logic - behind waiting until you climb above 1500 feet - is related to collision avoidance. Since most of the "Sunday fliers" enter the landing pattern at 1,000 feet, that is the altitude with the greatest risk of a mid-air collision.

  10. You nailed it Annette!
    Every decade .... or so ...... skydivers ask me to sew up an ash bag. Now the local DZO is "encouraging" me to sew up my own ash bag. "It will be easier on the survivors."
    I would prefer to spend my time sewing seat-belts ...... 'cus more seat-belts equal fewer ash dives.
    Clarification: Hooker (single-point skydiver restraints) come standard on new jump planes like Kodiaks and PAC 750s, and can be retrofitted to another dozen types of old jump-planes.

  11. Jefspicoli,
    In a perfect world, every pilot would broadcast their intentions, fly predictable patterns and constantly watch for other airplanes, parachutes, balloons, etc.
    Perfect pilots keep such good watch that they spot converging traffic more than 3 miles away and gentle alter course to pass on the right or behind the other airplane. These aeronautical courtesies are based on centuries-old sailing maneuvers.
    In the real world, "Sunday pilots" do not always fly predictable patterns, so the later you spot them, the more violent the maneuvers to avoid collision.

  12. Looping a seatbelt through leg-straps works well structurally, but still allows your head to flail around a huge arc, maybe developing enough momentum to crack your skill when you head finally stops at a bulkhead, floor, friend, etc.
    Looping a seat-belt through a chest strap does reduce your head's flail arc, but might fail because most chest strap buckles are only 1/5 the strength of other harness buckles (500 versus 2,500 pounds).
    The best place to route a belt is between your belly and your harness at waist level. Belts - around your Center of gravity - prevent you from shifting far enough to unbalance airplanes. Anchoring near your waist also shortens flail arcs for arms and legs.
    Hooker belts perform the same way because they wrap around harness hip joints.

  13. Good points Annette,
    Bill Booth preaches that packing ram-air canopies is basically "packing the lines." Once lines are straight, the canopy is going to open.
    Back in my glory days I cutaway a bunch of "holy" tandem mains made of F-111 fabric .... back when F-111 was fashionable for mains. Holes in bottom skins did not phase me, but holes in top skins always meant pulling the cutaway handle.
    I have landed two or three tandem mains split from nose to tail on the bottom skin. No big deal, they flew almost normally and flared fine.
    OTOH holes in top skins are scary. My first experience blew a hole big enough to drive a van through the left side and a hole through the right side big enough to drive a city bus through! I glanced at that for a split second, then reached for my cutaway handle.
    The second "holy" top skin was on the top, Center tail and only a foot long, so I did a control check. It turned fine, but folded in half (horseshoe) when I flared ........ reached for the cutaway handle.

  14. Well said! I am a Canadian Air Force veteran who suffers from prolonged traumatized stress. My worse year was when knee surgery forced me to stay on the ground. It was the first year - in 37 years - that I could not jump. Laying on my couch depressed the "bleep" out of me. Even social visits to the DZ improved morale.
    The OP's objectives parallel the words in Sebastien Junger's book "Tribe" saying that suicides are rare in combat, but frequent after veterans return home and leave their military "tribe." Skydivers can help veterans join another tribe of like-minded risk-takers.