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  1. We will be having a Celebration of Flight for Ralph Troy Nichols on Saturday, June 18th at Skydive Palatka at Kay Larkin Airport in Palatka, Florida. We would like to invite all of those whose lives were impacted by Ralphie to share this day with us. This is an informal gathering, as Ralph would have wanted. No shoes, no shirt, no problem. Mark your calendars for the day and the time to follow. If you would like more information on donations in Ralph's name: www.legacy.com/NS/ and enter Ralph Nichols
  2. I have tried the short, sarcastic, pithy remark. It is lost on most young parachutists, sometimes you have to weedeat with a 12 foot bush-hog to make a point.
  3. I you ever start a post, conversation, or thought :"I am not an AFF-I,But ..." then please don't chime in. I am not being dis-missive, nor trying to belittle you,or your opinion, or input. If you have to qualify a statement as what you are NOT, so that you are already admitting that you are probably not possessing the skill, experience, or knowledge to participate in the conversation, please, do something that a wise man(MadDog) once told a candidate he was helping get a tandem rating. "if you don't know the answer to the question I am asking, and I promise I do, probably an excellent chance to shut up and listen." (Candidate:) 'But, But, I was just going to' MadDog: "Look Stupid?" "Go ahead, you know how to do that without having to paying me to see you demonstrate your being dumb" end quote. I di love watching him teach people to teach! All I am saying is, learn from what we DON'T know, and there is TONS we will happily admit we haven"t learned yet. And let, allow, hell, expect you to help us figure out we havent a clue about. Yet! I am sure it was someone that lived a life of comfortable, quiet, self taught inner confidence in their acceptance of their not-yet-learned yet growing ability and skill set, that came up with the addage, "you will learn a whole lot faster, and look a lot less niave doing it, if you take you mouth out of gear, and try using your ears. No one has ever showed their lack of knowledge with their ears wide open and running, instead of their cock-holster flapping in the breeze, Sorry, I have been waiting 5 years since I got home from Iraq to use that one in anywhere half as perfect of a situation as this one. Once I figured out what a 'cock-holster' finally was. And, sorry if I come off a little brash, I am doing my Jeff Colley impersination Kinda mortifying when I heard a 9 year old use it one day and I asked him if he would take $2 to explalin what that meant, since I was convinced he had to be saying the wrong word. and he wasn't.. He knew a cuss word I hadn't heard of, and it was a good one. Look, all I am trying to say is, this is one of the only forums where U can come and give advice, and someone will listen because you say "PackingJarret said I was right, and I must be pretty sharp, and keep trying to tell people what I know, and I am going to make a kick-ass Instructor one day! Dude... I once got a LONG message from some kid in New York or Jersey that "I admit I am not an I, but, I know what I am talking about because my dzo lets me lurk alot of tandems, but,you would give the passengers a better jump for their money if I would just learn to: fill in the blank. Oh He told me allright, and he wrong, and for the right reasons, and only a couple were dangerous, but, I am sure the kid meant well, and I am sure he was sharp as a tack for his 90 jumps. when he last jumped, 2 years ago, but, he was not going to tell an I/E anything relevant about teaching people to be Tandem I's, and when I wrote him back, and explained this, he went off on the whole "cant tell anyone anything that they don't already know better, since I was not going to admit my way could be wrong! I will happily take advice and criticism freely, and say thank you, and happliy write it down for future reference, if they are in the position to allow me to learn from them, and they know what they are talking about. I am sorry to go off on a tangent, and I sincerely hope someday that you are able to make me a better skydiver, Instructor, and Instructor Examinier, cause, God knows, we as a whole need all whatever input and advice I can glean from everywhere. I have hurt one tandem student, one time. I freely admit it, it was something I should have been able to anticipate, and I PROMISE, I have nevevr gotten on an airplane and not heard the sound it made when I broke his ankle. Badly. It won't happem again, and there is not one day since happenendmI wish I could take it back, or take his place happily and carry the burden of his injury, nor deny I was the sole person that deserves to be made to remember his pain. Again, sorry for the tangent, and I hope you read my entire thought here. ralph USPA I/E
  4. There are no one that Jeff came in contact with that are not better for the experience. Jeff may have ruffled a feather or two with his not-so-subtle approach, nor his starkly honest personality, but he truly wanted everyone to do better at whatever they tried to do. I was one of Jeffs best friends for better than 15 years, and I have seen him give so freely of himself time and time again to help someone out. "Dude, you are going to kill yourself doing that dumb shit, why not try this instead?" Even when I was teaching Jeff to be a skydiver, he was teaching me to be a better person. Jeff, Peter Draper and I survived some things that are still not to be believed to this day, and Jeff was always Jeff. There is a nothing in my heart and soul that will forever be there that losing my friend brought on. Jeff, I loved you and afmired you for so many things, and cherish your friendship as one of the best things in my life. Pam made it possible for Jeff to go out with dignity, and peace in his heart. He died with his boots on, and was comfortable at the end. Your friend and admirer Ralph
  5. Ummm ,kind of. I teach Instructor candidates to "fly like a cat". By this I mean that just busting out the biggest, hardest, toe-cramping, listen to your back crack arch is not always appropriate. If the syudent de-arches, and you give a hard arch, things can go bad quickly. I teach that they should use the best tool for the situation. sometimes slipping your upper body into the relative wind before arching like mad works best. I do not want to hijack this thread, or start a war of words about exit technique, just throw in my 2 cents. peace ralph
  6. Not bad!! You did NOT use the drogue to get stable, and you stayed calm and out-flew the student. Despite anything else you will get from this discussion, you kept your head, and everything turned out ok. I have seen guys with thousands more jumps than you not deal with these type of situations as well as you did. Ralph
  7. I teach my candidates to re-attach the lowers to the d-hooks on the front of the harness after opening, once you get the passenger comfy. If this helps, after deployment, as soon as you have the canopy under control, and have done a controlability check,I have the student pull the gogles down over their neck,since the goggles will fog up, and they are just not comfy for them, I ask then to "scrunch" their sholders together, and loosen the chest strap just a little to relax the harness on them and let them breath easier. I them tell them that they aren't going to go anywhere, I am just going to make them more comfortable. I disconnect the right lower, and feel on the front of the harness for the small, plastic "D" ring on the front of the student harness in front of the hip area. I then do the same on the left side. there is a little releasing feeling, but it makes it much easier for the connectors to be out of the way, and not anywhere they can cause a problem. It is possible to catch the brake line in the connector causing a spinning turn, and I have been told by Maddog, when he ran my Tandem course, that he had it happen once, and he could NOT get the line loose, and was terrifeid to fire the reserve into the main, since he would have had a fat Horseshoe . He told me it is impossible to get the line out of the conncter when it gets "bitten" into the mechanical release. He rode the spin into the ocean since he knew he was going to be able to aim it out to sea far enough to be safe. He sais, since someone is going to ask, if he pulled the other brake line down to match the hung one, the canopy would stall. It was a Racer Tandem, which is usually the next question. Some dz's ask me to teach releasing the lowers, running them to the max extension, and re-attaching them to the Tandem rigs lower rings. I hope this rant helps a little. Snap them back. Ralph Tandem I/E
  8. Years ago, I used it to cut a broken rubber band when I packed, at least I think I remember packing once...
  9. We tried it in Palatka one weekend. The s/l has a split on the end, and there is velcro between the 2 ends,sort of like a forked tongue. the s/l goes to the top of the standard spring assist pilot chute, and when the student leaves the aircraft, the s/l reaches its end, opens the contained, and snatches the pilot chute out of the container. This system produces violent openings, as the aircraft acts like an anchor, which in turn forces the entire opening process to happen immediately upon the s/l going taut. We made 4 loads and put our bags back on the end of the s/l's. Hope this helps Ralph
  10. Back in 1995 I was a SL I at my home dz.I had a student that would tense up, kick his legs, swim and do pretty much everything you can imagine on exit from a student that was completely overwhelmed. After 2such jumps, (he did great after 3 or 4 seconds) he made me a deal'"Give me the first 5 seconds at exit to work out the fear, and I will do whatever you want for the rest of the skydive". Well, he was altitude aware, rock solid stable at pull time, had GREAT canopy control, so I agreed. He would spaz ou for a few seconds on exit, and give me text book dive flows the rest of the jump. Plus I noticed if he made a second jump the same day, he only tensed up for 2 seconds the next jump, and was relaxed even sooner the next jump. Jeff( the student in question) is now an AFF I, SL I/E, S&TA, and dz manager. If youarde tense the first couple seconds after exit, but stable the rest of the jump, hopefully you have Instructors that recognize this, and grade you as such. It will go away, I promise. If you want, contact Jeff Colley at Skydive Palatka and tell him I told you to talk to him, maybe he can shed a little insight on you "problem" Ralph Nichols
  11. I am curious, and reading this thread has propmted me to ask a question I have had for quite some time, so I would appreciate some input. Quite a few years ago, the dz I was working at had an incident that has bothered me to this day. A Tandem I had a line over on a EZ384 that we had installed in our Racer Tandem systems, and responded correctly by initiating emergency procedures. Unfortunately, instead of pulling the reserve handle in the proper direction,(he tried, unsucessfully, to pull the handle "out" at a 90 degree angle from his body, instead of down the direction of the cable housing,)and could not deploy the reserve. No, we did not have the RSL on this system at the time. He tried to pull the hanlde all the way to 1750' at which time the Cypres did its job. I was the staff Tandem I/E at the time, and could not get this guy to see that he was the cause of the "hard" pull. He pulled so hard that he deformed the cable at the handle. I argued vehemetly that this warranted 30 days on the ground.For 2 reasons. 1)He did not perform the reserve deployment procedure correctly, which is 25% of my reason for grounding, and 2) He refused to even consider that he might have done something wrong. 75% reason. The reserves were packed by one of the most competent,well trusted, and professional riggers in the business, whom I might add did everything he could to see if there was even the slightest chance he might have packed a hard pull, which when we tested the other 3 rigs in service that weekend, the hardest pull recorded (on video) was 17lbs. Since the I in question was super tight with one of the dzo's I was told that in no way was his buddy getting grounded. This has bothered me for better than 10 years, and I want some opinions. I do not want to start a discussion about RSLs, or which system is better,so lets just hash out this situation please. ralph
  12. "And yeah -- ignore Sangi; he just likes stirring shit. Most of the other people in this thread jump a whole lot more than he does Wendy P. " I have socks with more jumps(and experience) than that idiot!