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    Mirage G4
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    Cypres 2

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  1. About a year or so (just guessing) before USPA changed the opening altitude minimums Bill Booth did an interview during the PIA Symposium where he said he was raising his own hard deck 500 feet. I don't recall all the details but some of it can be explained by this: we have higher skydives than ever, the parachutes take longer to open (trust me, I jumped rounds) -- the built-in snivel is for comfort and safety. When Bill Booth talks, I listen, and so it wasn't surprising when USPA acted. There are still fatalities for failure to employ EPs in time to get a reserve out. Some of this is due to an aging cohort in the sport.
  2. I'm an old-timer who uses an Altimaster II analog. Thinking of getting a new digital Altitron. Any feedback at all on this particular unit is appreciated. Also would like to get comments on digital vs. analog when you're in free fall at break off.
  3. I was devastated, as were so many others, when we heard you had died at the Hall of Fame event last October. Today, according to your FB page, you would have celebrated a birthday. Not sure how old, but at least you got up there. Wish I could have jumped with you in the old days, but knowing you as one of the "resurrected" skydivers was enough.
  4. I have a Vigil II DOM June 2010 that has been part of a voluntary recall. A couple of my fellow skydivers have this AOD of similar vintage and have already sent them to Fla./Belgium for maintenance. One said they simply updated the software and changed the battery (and made a couple of other fixes, no charge, like a cracked window). He only paid shipping both ways. Another said that they aged out his unit and said he needed to buy a new one. Just curious if anyone else has had similar experiences with the Vigil II.
  5. Lew Sanborn has finally jumped in Hawaii, completing the 50-state marathon (finally). I wrote a short piece about it that should be coming up in the June issue of Parachutist. SCR-442, SCS-202, CCR-870, SOS-1353
  6. Taking off at Pepperell and landing in NH. Been there and done that, back in the early '70s on one of the first Otter weekends. My only jump in that state. SCR-442, SCS-202, CCR-870, SOS-1353
  7. I just spent a month in Hallandale Beach (December) and made some jumps at Skydive Miami (run by Pam Manos) and Clewiston. If the Ft. Lauderdale tunnel is like the one they built in Yonkers, N.Y., it's going to be a dandy. I've now flown in about five tunnels, and by far the iFly in Westchester is the best. SCR-442, SCS-202, CCR-870, SOS-1353
  8. Here's another thought for you -- digest it as you will; it's free advice so it might be worth what you pay for it. When I started in the bad old days there were no digitals and no dyters. My instructor used to cover my altimeter on the way to altitude and say, how hi are we? He was training me to look out the plexiglass door and capture the size of the landscape. Pretty soon you get to be plus or minus a couple of hundred feet. The reason for this is not just altitude awareness but training yourself to never ever rely completely on an instrument. They're just aids. As you're accumulating jumps you'll see what the landscape looks like at pull altitude and your inner clock will tell you that it's getting late -- check your altimeter. Train yourself to trust looking at the ground as well as the dials (digital or otherwise). And if it's coming up fast, you have ground rush and you're probably approach two grand or lower. SCR-442, SCS-202, CCR-870, SOS-1353
  9. Those of you who jumped at the Greene, N.Y. DZ may remember Tom as a great guy, terrific instructor. He passed away last Thursday afternoon. He took me through training on static line, and I was hooked right away. Then when I had a contract to write a piece for Popular Science about the new ram air canopies Tom lent me his Para-Plane to kick off my research. It was my first article for a major magazine. So Tom kicked off my skydiving career and my writing career. I'll miss you big time. Fly free. SCR-442, SCS-202, CCR-870, SOS-1353
  10. Good piece. At every Safety Day I make the following announcement: "If you haven't had a cutaway in the last 12 months, it's a good idea to do the hanging harness." I've had four malfunctions, two streamers under rounds (capewells and a belly reserve) and two in the modern era, a bag lock and a spinner, (where I couldn't beat the RSL), and I still follow my own advice.
  11. It was the only lottery I ever won. I remember the day like yesterday. I was a junior at Syracuse University, and I wandered up to the journalism building to stand by the AP wire machine, like dozens of other J-majors. The word was that if you were 1-120 you were "vulnerable;" 121-240 you were on the bubble (depending on your locale and draft board you may or may not get drafted); 241-366 you were in the clear. It was crazy anticipation. I got 253 and exhaled. And we joked later that all the ROTC kids got numbers in the 300s and the hippies and stoners were all in the double digits. Looking back, the selective service system would have done much better for the Army if they allowed prospective inductees to trade numbers. SCR-442, SCS-202, CCR-870, SOS-1353
  12. I just found out that Pat Rogers of the old Stormville crowd passed away recently. He was a NYC cop when I first met him, and I made a lot of skydives with him. Great guy, a pleasure to be around the DZ. RIP, Pat SCR-442, SCS-202, CCR-870, SOS-1353
  13. Finally, a wind tunnel only 30 minutes from Manhattan. I've been in only 4 other tunnels (Vegas, Perris, Raeford, and Nashua, NH), and I finally got to fly last week in Yonkers, N.Y. It's a nice tube, 14-feet wide. They coudln't go to 16 feet because of issues with how deep the foundation could be dug. What I liked a lot about this facility was everything was on one level (unlike Perris which is a hike upstairs). No need to go up or down a flight to a team room or the bathroom. Very well run. Waiver on line. Quick, easy check in. Attentive staff. My only issue was that getting reservations for an early evening hour was a hassle. They seem to block off 4-8 p.m. and weekends for the lucrative party trade. I get it, though. This is a big investment and they have to book a lot of revenue. I have a flexible schedule and if I can find enough flyers to share block time with at off-peak hours I'll be back fairly regularly. SCR-442, SCS-202, CCR-870, SOS-1353
  14. The annual fundraiser and skydiving Hall of Fame weekend will be held Oct. 1-4 at Connecticut Parachutists, Inc. and the Marriott Hartford hotel. If you have any interest at all in the history of our sport, and you want to meet some of the pioneers and legendary jumpers, try to get up there for one or two days. It's not just older jumpers telling stories (though there is plenty of that). It's a fun-filled weekend with a pro-am six-way event, plenty of fun jumping, a couple of big aircraft, and a lot of hanging out. It's a charitable event, and any money you spend goes toward the building of the National Skydiving Museum, which we're hoping will be built and open in the next couple of years down in Florida. SCR-442, SCS-202, CCR-870, SOS-1353
  15. Seat belt compliance has been mostly good in my view, since my return to the sport in 2009-9. What bothers me, however, is too often I see a videographer with a heavy-duty rig on his helmet sitting by the door of an Otter not wearing it or securing it to his chest strap on takeoff. This gives me the willies, and I hate to be the one who points this out, but I do because takeoff and initial climb out is one of the most dangerous parts of any skydive and I'm always thinking about the worst case scenario. SCR-442, SCS-202, CCR-870, SOS-1353