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Everything posted by bdb2004

  1. Back for another update....I ended up jumping about 3 weeks ago. I was definitely nervous, both because it was my first after shoulder surgery and also because it was my first in about 11 months. Much like with other activities that I've started picking up again (road cycling being the biggest one) it was all about getting over the mental aspect of "is it healthy enough to do this?" Because it is, I know it is, my surgeon said so, my physical therapist said so, and it just takes some time back in whichever activity to believe it. Coincidentally, my biggest concern was what would happen if I needed to PLF and had to roll over onto the shoulder and that is exactly what happened. We had a long spot and were landing off, and I wasn't even going to try to stand it up. PLF went fine, I rolled back to my feet, and everything was good. Believe it or not, the only thing that really caused any discomfort was packing. You use the shoulders a lot when packing, so my first day back I was one-and-done because there was no strength left after the first packjob. The following weekend I got two jumps in, again decided to stop once it started stiffening up from packing. Now the season is just about done, so by the time jumping season rolls around again I don't think there will really be any limitations at all.
  2. So you're asking me to put a specific price on a life, and if the price increase for jumps falls below that price which I would support the changes but above it I would support the status quo? Quantify my decision like an actuarial? Sorry, I'm not really interested in playing that game, even if I were knowledgeable enough to do so. It's why I ask people like Joe for their opinions, because they know a lot more about these things than I do and I trust their judgement when it comes to evaluating these types of changes. That said, here's what I know. I don't jump nearly as much as the majority of licensed skydivers. I do my best to jump at places where I believe there is a strong safety culture. As such, the odds that I am ever in a plane crash are quite low. If the changes are made, the odds that I am ever in a plane crash decrease, but not by much because it's not like they can really go much lower than they currently are. But if these changes mean that over the next decade there are fewer stories about dead skydivers in my online news source of choice, then I'm on board. It won't cost me much in the long run, but it could mean the world to the family of those skydivers (and tandem jumpers) whose lives may be saved.
  3. Okay, so then let me ask your perspective on this as a DZO. If we ignore the financial implications and focus only on safety, do you think this proposal would have a net positive, a net negative, or a net neutral effect on safety? In general, I would be quite happy to pay a premium for jump tickets if it means a lower risk for skydivers in the long term....but I would be rather upset if the cost goes up but there is no appreciable increase in safety.
  4. I'm curious, other than the potential financial impact on DZs, particularly small 182 DZs (and I'm on record saying the 182 will always be my favorite plane to jump), what are the downsides of this proposal? I am having a hard time understanding why improved safety regulations that are consistent with all other commercial operations is such a bad thing? Speaking only for myself, I would be more than happy to pay an extra $5-10 per jump to know that the aircraft, pilot training, etc. are being held to higher standards. So unless someone can explain to me how this will have negative consequences beyond cost, I can only conclude that USPA opposes it because it is bad for business.
  5. None of the local DZs have packers that'll teach you for $50?
  6. This is great advice. I am extremely fortunate that the shoulder that was repaired was on my non-dominant side. Not even worried about skydiving on that one, but just the general level of functioning that I was/am able to maintain throughout my recovery process. Not using my left arm was extremely challenging....I can only imagine what it would have been like if it were my right arm. (And as an aside, a very good motivator to stop doing the stuff that is likely to lead to the same result on my right shoulder!)
  7. One thing people here don't know about me (because, well, no one here actually knows me) is that I'm almost always the first to stand down if things don't feel right. Now, I guess I just have one more thing on my list of "things that need to feel right" before I'm willing to leave the plane.
  8. To be clear, I am 100% following the guidance of my surgeon and my physical therapist, as frustrating as that guidance may be. (I just walked a 5k this past weekend while wearing my sling for the first time in 2 weeks, so yes, I am taking this seriously.) That said, at the 5 or 6 month point if they both agree that the tendons have sufficiently healed and I have regained sufficient strength and mobility in the shoulder to safely return to skydiving for a few jumps before the rainy season begins, then I am inclined to go for it. I've accepted the fact that I'll never be able to get back to a 375 bench press (how I tore my shoulder to begin with) and that my competitive powerlifting career is over. I'm okay with the idea that it'll be sometime next summer before I'll be back on my mountain bike, and I'll never be able to hit the hardest trails like I have in the past. I'm rapidly closing in on 50 years old and I realize I can't keep acting like I'm an indestructible 20 year old, especially since I don't ever want to go through a rehab like this again. But I'm also not going to give up activities that my surgeon says I'm capable of doing relatively safely. There has to be some degree of balance in life, right?
  9. 7 and a half weeks since surgery, I got out of the sling about a week ago and I've started working on getting back full range of motion and some basic strengthening. Talked to both my surgeon and my physical therapist last week, both are in agreement that I'm not likely to be strong enough to jump for another 3-4 months. That puts me right around late September or early October, right at the tail end of the season in the Pacific Northwest. I'll probably get a couple of weekends in but not much else. That said, I'm considering heading down to Arizona in November, so hopefully that will get me a few extra jumps in. Truth is, right now I am 100% in no way physically capable of jumping. I doubt I'd even be able to reach up and grab my toggles, let alone actually fly the canopy. And I can't even imagine how painful freefall would be trying to push against the relative wind. Patience......
  10. So I am now 9 days post surgery. It's interesting how reality can force us to see the world differently. Before surgery all I could really think about was all the fun I was going to miss this summer. Now, living in the moment, the only thing I'm really thinking about is when I'll be able to sleep like a normal human being again and, to a lesser extent, when I'll be able to type on a keyboard well enough to do my job. What were your injuries that led to leaving the sport?
  11. Sounds like I need a new rig. :) (Seriously though, 100% understand what you mean here....and my rig is a bit oversized for me. A consequence of being a short, thick individual who refuses to jump a canopy loaded above my comfort level.) Great point, yes. Thank you!
  12. This is good context....and good expectation setting. Not a lot of winter jumping in my neck of the woods, so I might have to accept that my activity in late summer and fall will be pretty limited, solos and hop and pops and maybe the occasional no-contact two-way. Just enough to keep me from going crazy. Then focus on getting back into it for real next spring. *sigh* I was lucky to be randomly assigned to a surgeon who is a former collegiate athlete, has specialized training in sports medicine, and has worked with professional teams in the past. Which, you know, I never would have even thought about how important that was until a few weeks ago, but I'm pretty grateful that is how it turned out.
  13. Did that on my AFF1. Which explains why my PLFs are now the envy of every old school jumper on the DZ.
  14. The shoulder I'm having surgery on is the same shoulder that I roll on when I PLF. When I realized that, I (mostly) made the decision that I'll hold off on jumping until I'm confident that I can jump up and off a picnic table, PLF, and immediately stand up without fear that I'll "undo" the repairs that were made. The other big risk I see is someone docking really hard and not letting go, but that seems less likely. Truth be told, I think this is a case where I'm likely to be skydiving again before I'm mountain biking again. That specific activity seems like a HUGE risk, since there's no way to not put a ton of pressure on the shoulder.
  15. (Before I start, yes, all decisions will be made after discussion with my surgeon and physical therapist. I'm just looking for experiences people have had, not advice.) So has anyone out there returned to skydiving after shoulder surgery? Specifically either rotator cuff repair or labrum tear repair? I'm just curious what your experience was, how long it took, how you knew you were ready, how you mitigated potential re-injury? Thanks!
  16. Or spend some time learning to pack faster. One of my biggest regrets in my "early" days (relatively speaking, of course) is that I didn't pack for myself, and at 100+ jumps I had no idea how to pack, how my gear worked, how to really inspect my gear (not just a gear check), etc. Taking time to learn that stuff in between jumps is likely far more valuable than banging out an extra couple of jumps each day.
  17. I've never felt pressured to jump a small canopy. What I have felt pressured to do, however, is justify my choice to jump a large canopy. That's a subtle difference, but a critical one....and I'm not sure which of those two is more problematic.
  18. I recently ordered new risers that were listed as In Stock, but discovered after I paid that it was a 2-3 week delivery time. I suspect that what In Stock actually meant was, "we have everything we need to make them in stock." Which in hindsight totally makes sense....I can't imagine rig manufacturers just happen to keep non-standard sized risers in stock because who knows is going to place an order. I would guess that it would be the same for other parts as well.
  19. No. I am a statistician, so here we go: You computed the percentage of fatalities. USPA reported the rate of fatalities per 100,000 jumps. To appropriately compare, you would need to put both on the same scale: Netherlands, 0.0023% fatality rate vs US, .00028% per the USPA website. Alternatively, Netherlands 2.3 fatalities per 100,000 jumps vs US, .28 fatalities per 100,000 jumps. These may or may not be statistically significant, and even if they are, they may or may not be meaningful. Low base rate comparisons are challenging in the best of circumstances, which these are not. Ultimately I would guess we would need a lot more data to really make any solid comparisons. (Edited because I kept making simple arithmetic bad)
  20. I got slammed by my Pilot 188 a couple of weekends ago. But, I pitched head low, and I had done a really sloppy pack job that I knew was pretty sketchy. So yeah, that one was on me.
  21. I'm 5'4 and 170 flying a 210, now a 190, and I thought it was hard for me to find gear that would fit, because all the rigs for that size main were built for folks 6 inches taller, and all the rigs built for someone my height were for someone 40 pounds lighter flying sub-135 canopies. Anyway, my take....there's a reason that you can't find used gear, and that is because there aren't that many skydivers with your measurements. You could buy new gear that is sized to you, but what happens in 2 or 3 years when you're ready to fly a 210? It won't fit in your rig, so you'll need a new one, and trying to sell your old one is going to be challenging because there aren't that many skydivers with your measurements. So if I were in your shoes, I'd suck it up and keep jumping crappy rentals until you're further along in your weight loss journey. At that point it'll be easier (but not easy) to find a used rig to fit you...and if you do decide to go with a new rig at your lighter weight, it'll be much easier to sell down the road.
  22. With about 40 jumps I agreed to do a 5-way jump on a day with questionable cloud cover. Cloud bases were at about 4k and were probably about 1,500' thick. Plan was to break off at 5k and pull at 3.5k. We funneled the formation right around 6k and by the time I got stable we were in the cloud and it was time to break off and track. I had no idea where anyone was or what direction they had tracked in. I was entirely unprepared for this scenario. I stayed in place, hoping everyone else had tracked, got through the cloud, cleared my airspace as well as I could, and waved off and pulled a little below 3k. Thankfully my hope that everyone else had recovered and tracked way came true. I haven't come even remotely close to a cloud since then. Several times I've gotten to the DZ and chose to stay on the ground. A couple of times I've been in the plane, got to the door and looked down, saw a big cloud, said nope, not going. I'm often told that I'm overly cautious. I've even been called a p---y once or twice. Whatever.
  23. This has all been super helpful. Thank you!
  24. All of this makes good sense, thank you! A follow up question....if a plane is frequently (1 or 2 times a month) not flying due to unexpected maintenence, is that a good sign or bad sign? On one hand its a little disconcerting that the plane is grounded, but on the other shows they're serious about not flying if it isn't running well. Thoughts?