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Everything posted by fcajump

  1. VERY bad idea to wear a rig while wing walking.(inadvertent deployment while on the wing/javelin/ strapped to the upper stantion and/or at the N-strut would be devastating for all involved. (Aside - wing riders shouldn't either, for many of the same reasons, but they do need capable station straps/belts) I am a master rigger/jumper, but I think talking to current experienced wing walkers and (even better) pilots that are also wing walkers would be a better subject matter expert. There are several shows that have highly experienced walkers to whom they might want to reach out. FWIW - over the last 30 years of knowing and working directly with wing-walkers at a local show, I have known and/or learned of several fatalities. If you look at the raw statistics, as a profession/recreation, it does not have a great record compared to jumping... BUT, NOT due to falls*. The incidents have been either mechanical in nature, or pilot issues (error or medical). *that I know of the only two falls, one who was "flying" from the belly of a plane whose harness came unclipped (not a wing-walker), and another who was doing a plane to helicopter transfer and got impatient and reached too far. (I could argue this later stunt would be a time for a PEP). JW PS - Please forward me any public information about this incident and investigation as I know walkers that would be very concerned about the possible repercussions of this case.
  2. Looking for recommendations (positive/negative) for full face helmets that fit larger skull sizes
  3. Deployment altitudes, both BSR and in practice... When I got my C, if you weren't doing CReW or a cross country, it was considered concerning for experienced jumpers to open higher than 2,500.... what's wrong with you if you do... Now C/D licensed are required to be above 2,500. But even more its common for the openings to be up to 5,000'+ Emphasis is on giving yourself time to deal with canopy issues, especially for the faster/smaller canopies. (it does lead to the backward condition of potentially have large slow canopies opening lower than small/fast. this then leads to pre-jump planning to ensure no conflicts.) Finally, depending on where you did and do jump, the larger turbine aircraft are more common, so higher exits are more common. JW
  4. While I've packed a couple reserves that had Kevlar lines, I don't know the ins/outs of the issue well... What I was told at the time is that it was a two-stage issue: - Kevlar lines would abrade the metal components (brass slider grommets / steering guide rings) until there was a sharp area where it metal component has worn - that sharp area would then cut the Kevlar fibers. Justification for use on the reserves was that they were strong/low-bulk and acceptable for low-use items where the abrasion issue would take much longer to present itself. JW
  5. That was around the same time I ordered my first rig (all new): custom RWS Vector II (w/ both round line stow option and freebag) Cypres (at a time when "they'll never know you have one" was the ad slogan) custom PD-260 (9cell F111) Fury Reserve ( final decision on round vs square was made shortly before placing my order - after a reserve ride on student gear... the square got me to a ball field instead of the trees where a round would have put me). Throw in a custom Tonysuit, alt, helmet, Dytter, goggles, rigging charges, etc... and it ran me right at $5k. (not including the interest on the credit card for hemmmm... a "few" years to get it paid off...) Still have all the parts, maybe i'll put it back in the air one of these days. JW
  6. I am looking to build a new under canopy flag storage pouch that is sewn in on a Spectre, but looking to see what others might have done with this so as to not repeat other's mistakes. I have previously worked with a canopy that had a flag storage system built between the C-D line attach points on a canopy that had extended line attach points ~6" below the bottom skin (design name escapes me at the moment). This meant there was a stable place to build the bag. Unfortunately the canopy I want to use does not have this line attach type. I have also worked with one that was connected via links to the more common (current) line attach points on a Spectre. (This system was found to be susceptible to a flip through between the links, a condition that could capture other lines during packing, and the design was abandoned). Aside - for small flag (3x5 / 4x6), I have a ankle to riser setup I've used for 30 years and like... for BIG stuff a weighted drop system is necessary, but for mid-sized I prefer them mounted between slider and canopy as its MUCH easier to keep it off the ground, and there is no weight to hit either yourself, your crew, or the wayward kid that runs out in front of you when they get by your new crewman. Warning for newbies who might read this... messing with ANYTHING in your canopy requires a rigger, a strong design/plan, and an even stronger emergency response when your design has an unanticipated flaw. The flip-through issue was discovered when a brake line was captured, resulting in a backward spinning canopy at 2,000' despite a dozen prior successful jumps. Has anyone here used (or better... built) such a system that would like to share their notes? JW
  7. BTW - to the inspecting rigger... <HINT> You can only actually find broken inner bands and dropped stitching by taking the safety stow out of the freebag and... um... INSPECTING it... </HINT> Just sayin... JW
  8. Any internal breakage or if the stitching is coming undone. JW
  9. When I played with speed, I would finish by spending 2-3k pulling horizontal into a high speed track 90degrees from jump run (we didn't have wings/trackers/angles at the time to conflict with).. It was really cool to see how much lift I could get with just a normal jump suit (~90mph vertical... and I'm a brick) and how much distance I could make. With the mix of jumpers we have in a typical otter these days, I wouldn't do it without a lot of coordination, but it was fun. JW
  10. I agree I would not want that coming down on top of me, but assuming they are very fast straight down, doesn't that put them opening directly under where the belly fliers will drift?
  11. This came up recently at the DZ I was at and lead to some confusion... The DZ has a long established policy on exit order based on the computer modeling previously discussed on this site. Generally: Belly first, Free Fliers, Students, Tandems, Angle, Wing. (IIRC) Along comes a visiting speed flier. (reporting 280+) After consultation with the S&TA, decision was to put him out first. I haven't had a chance to discuss it with the S&TA, but wanted to see where the speed fliers are being put in the line up elsewhere... I would have thought somewhere after the Angle Fliers, but maybe someone can give a better explanation on why first out... JW
  12. Welcome back!! Sounds like you are slowing down and wising up in your old(er) age there 'boy. Looking forward to your YouTube channel on helpful hints in skydiving and related nonsense. JW
  13. Personally prefer Cazer over the enclosed kill line. But then I never burned a canopy with the Cazer either... JW
  14. With little authoritative proof / i.e. mostly anecdotal... In my riggers course (DeWolf ~1999), we discussed removing/obscuring/using permanent marker to indicate the item was no longer airworthy. The discussion started when talking about acid-mesh, but was enlarged to anything judged to be permanently not airworthy (i.e. beyond normal repair). Some manufacturers have indicated that their rigs are only airworthy when (and for as long as) a rigger deems it so. (mostly in discussing repack cycles and gear age limits). To me this could be taken two ways... - as long as you can find some rigger to bully into packing it, your ragged out POS is still airworthy - a rigger can determine that your ragged out POS is not airworthy. I have found this issue to be a delicate one, mostly depending on the gear owner... - some have quickly agreed that we should permanently remove it from service as it is unsafe. (some just abandoned it to my loft at that point) - some have gotten frustrated and asked for a second opinion (I offer references to other rigger's whose work I would jump) Unfortunately I had the bad luck of facing this on my first commercial inspection as a newly minted rigger. I think it helps that, while I will help customers find/spec/inspect/purchase both new and used replacements, it is not a major part of my business. I don't "just happen to have the perfect thing to replace your bad gear". In general, I don't mark them or remove TSO panels unless that's what the customer wants to do, but I make sure they know my opinion and the "why" its not a good idea to use it again. IIRC - there have been rigs that I didn't want to pack and left a note in the container for the next rigger as to why... JW
  15. All my early throwout rigs (rented and early purchase) had those. They were fine, UNTIL the jump where you grabbed it just right and had a PC in tow for having stuck your thumb in the hole. Never knew of anyone who couldn't shake it off fairly quickly, but its very disconcerting anyway. Went to a hacky, never looked back. (Ok, with my back and a BOC hacky, there's no reason to bother looking back... couldn't see it anyway ;-) JW
  16. If someone swoops through my main and shreds the left side at 300', it is clearly too low for a cutaway, but adding fabric might help. I'm not saying at that point that you have a "normal/every-time" answer to the problem... just that there is an altitude that is too low to cutaway, too high to survive, and mid-air rigging/throwing more solutions at the problem is about all you've got left until the PLF. JW
  17. (continuing from thoughts in https://www.dropzone.com/forums/topic/279585-fatality-24-sept-2022-skydive-carolina/) Really thinking about what you've said, my point of clarity in what we say, and how that leads to how we think... and what actions come from the words/thoughts... Maybe (open for discussion), we need two _different_ altitudes in mind: Decision Altitude - I don't have a landable main, I am going to stop trying to fix it and get rid of it in favor of my reserve. Hard Deck - I don't have a landable main NOR the altitude to cutaway. I am going to take whatever action I have to (by the book or not) to get my decent rate down as much as I can. (mid-air rigging, cutting the line over, cutting the jammed brakeline that is knotted, adding the reserve to the mess, etc...) We tend to use the terms interchangeably, but maybe we shouldn't. (that I've heard expressed that way) While I am NOT wanting to add more complexity to the FJC, but there are many things we pass on to jumpers later in their career... maybe this is one of them. Does anyone teach these as two different concepts/terms/altitudes? Obviously, if you don't have a landable main, and its not going to get better (or... if its getting worse), even if you are above "decision altitude", I would agree with the adage "Don't Delay, Cutaway!!" JW
  18. Sitting back and looking at the total flow of information, I wonder on this... We do (and need to) provide much discussion, information, and some imposed restrictions on how/when one can downsize. But I don't know that we are seeing the situation from the young jumper's point of view... Absolutely, there are young hot blood jumpers that wanna do "THAT!" (as they point to the latest swooper/wingsuiter/prox-flyer/3D/Skyboarder/CReW/etc... And those are the ones we try to educate and put the brakes on as to how fast they can/should "progress" into the higher adrenalin activities. BUT... I wonder if in trying to keep the DGITs alive, if in balance we are sending the wrong message to the rest of the newbies...? To the rest, there seems (at least to me) to be a message that, as you progress to these levels, it is expected that you will... x,y,z... We don't seem to, expect as an after thought of preaching to the DGITs, mention that... you can have a long, fun, rich, enjoyable skydiving life focusing on belly flying in groups of fewer than 10, and a canopy at 1.1 You can freefly, without being in a massive big-way, or wing suiting. In trying to tell people that they NEED a certain level of experience to fly a camera, are we telling them that AT 200 jumps, they are expected to? Of course, most of would say "absolutely not"... At the level of experience for many in this group, we know you don't NEED to do anything (expect have a good 'chute, pull on time, don't run into anyone in the air, land safely). BUT, is that what the younger (not-hot-heads) are hearing, when so much of our discussion is on when one can down-size, wear a camera, with the wingsuit, so they can fly next to a cliff and then swoop the pond in the valley. Maybe we need to rephrase the way we discus it... Just my $.03 JW - Who _has_ downsized in his career... From a 1.0 PD-260, to a high performance Spectre 230 at 1.15 (I _even_ have a Spectre 210 for when I'm feeling reckless ;-P )
  19. I could be 100% wrong, but I think BPA has the teeth of law, whereas USPA has the consensus of the ruled.
  20. My first jump was 1990, Strong Student Hawk, Goliath (330^' spanwise square) with a 26' lopo reserve. Someone at the DZ was talking after the 1991 Symp about this new Cypres AAD and the demo that Helmut did to show its accuracy, so I was impressed with that. Then, as I'm spec'ing my first rig later that year I had a reserve ride at a different DZ and it cemented a couple things... I learned about the Sentinal's firing range (jokingly it was set for 1500' +/- 1500') when it fired higher than expected (though I beat it, it seemed very early). And at this DZ they used ramair reserves which is the ONLY reason I was able to make a ball field rather than "hanging" out in the woods. While my shiny new Vector II had the line stow anchor points in the reserve backpad, it never had a round packed in it. But it did have that new fangled AAD. I benefited both by the revolution in gear, but also by being instructed by old-school. Saw them spot a load where a student ended up under their 26' lopo. The bag-locked main D-bag landed 50 yards in front of the hanger and the first jump student (on radio) dead-centered the peas. Spotting was a skill not ignored. (Recently held up a WDI and asked a new instructor if he knew what "this" is... and he had never seen one before, much less used one.) JW
  21. My recollection from when the Cypres first came out, Helmut intended it to be as low a possible but still save... he was fighting experienced jumpers who were (with good reason) scared to even be on a load with one, let alone have one on their own rig... he wanted it to SAVE you, when you WOULD have died, and he needed to minimize (in reality and in his sales pitch) the chance of a two-out. We did have to possibility of pilot chute hesitation, but I don't think (wasn't a rigger then) that we had quite so many layers/complexity/tight corners/curves to the reserve container with such tight packjobs. (Councilman / Jerry?) Of course, this was also when his advertisements pointed out that the only visible part was the control unit, and it was so small and tucked away that only your rigger would know you had one. Shhhhhh..... VERY different world now, and mostly due to his efforts to make a new generation of AAD, not simple another AAD. (yes, I'm a fan. bought my first one in 1991, bought my 6th (7th?) one last week.) JW
  22. True... but don't suggest it too loud... Wing-walking was outlawed for this reason... it took 40+ years for our airshow (and a couple others) to convince the FAA that it could be done safely. Its still a very dangerous activity; I know of 3 that have died since it came back, though ironically not due to their own failure as a walker. And there are already too many people/communities that would like to see skydivers go away altogether... And this is the key item why the old "I can do what I want, and if I die then its only my problem" needs to go away. Remember - you're dealing with an industry trying to find balance - we took an emergency egress safety device and use it to intentionally play chicken with Mother Earth. We know swoops kill, but we have swoop competitions. We argue that driving a car is more dangerous, then we show pictures of us skydiving in a car. As a group, we are unable to send a consistent message (nor do I think we ever will...) Cheers my friends.
  23. (partially in response to BMAC615, but then expanding from there...) But, for the sake of this discussion, the USPA is not concerned with BASE and (as it is based in the US, therefore subject to FARs) a BASE rig (generally) is not part of the USPA consideration. No, not everyone is going to be happy. But this rule was implemented in face of facts being observed at the time that supersede emotion, TSOs, and theory. There were several incidents that were hard to pin down the cause. - AAD says it fired on time, jumper died under a partially open reserve. - Jumper reported he deployed on time, AAD says it fired due to meeting parameters, 2 out. - Industry sees many newer mains taking longer to open - Industry sees some newer/smaller mains loosing altitude MUCH faster than before when not deploying correctly... leading to low/no reserve pulls. Senior industry leaders (USPA and PIA), provided with these situations, using their best judgement concluded: - the best way to give more of a buffer at the bottom end to get reserves open suggest higher hard decks - in concert with that, many suggest raising the firing altitude for AADs by a few hundred feet* - with a higher firing altitude, higher hard deck, more time needed to deal with radical openings, longer main openings: raising the minimum altitudes is the logical next step. (Not that I'm in position to do so...) If I were asked to waive the 2,500' minimum, I would want to know: 1. Why? (low cloud cover, OK) 2. What main are you using (and maybe the loading)? (Good condition canopy/PC with a model reputation for reliable on-heading openings that don't take 800', OK) 3. Hard Deck for this jump and AAD firing altitude (w/ adjustment)? (i.e. does the math work, especially in light of the answers to #2, if so... OK) 4. Is this an old-school jumper, or one used to working in the basement. (and if they ARE old-school, are they still sharp?) Many objected at the time this change was made, as they were used to working low, but the trend of things needed to be recognized so it pushed through (likely also influenced by liability concerns by Mfgs in light of the above). For myself: 2500'min, 800ft normal opening loss on the Spectre, 1050'-A3 Cypres fire alt setting*, and when you consider that AirTek recommends having a 1000' "in the saddle"-to-firing-altitude buffer... I'm already pinching those numbers. *A3 adjustment chosen both to increase reserve opening buffer/reserve working time, and in consideration of the 300' hill nearby that we occasionally exit over. Obviously your numbers will vary... but have you LOOKED at your numbers or is your opinion more emotional based? Just my $.03, JW PS - I remember when entire loads would plan to open at 2'k. And you could almost feel the shockwaves from the ground as that old F111 opened... but these were jumpers who were thinking it was much nicer than the days of openings under C9's and 26' LoPos...
  24. I got a "talkin'-to" in ~93... with a 'C' license, I was still deploying above 3k most the time... (with notifying others and ensuring separation)... the instructors were wondering what was wrong that I didn't simply plan to deploy at 2'k like everyone else. Got used to 2k step-out hop-n-pops and did demos at that routinely until I switched from an F111 9-cell to a Spectre. I REALLY like the Spectre, but with a 2k exit, 800' opening and a 1500' decision altitude... the math was broken. (we also had an airshow pilot whose stated opinion, forged in the days of round mains, was that "anything over 2'k was a waste of gas") The USPA change, which filtered into the airshow FAA waiver made my personal minimum of 2500' for the Spectre much easier to enforce on low cloud show days. The difference between then and now really hit me about 10 years ago... I was trying out a new canopy and wanted to set above the load. Remembering the 90's, I figured just ahead/behind the tandems would be fine (everyone else is opening down below 3'k, right??) In asking in the loading area I found out how wrong I was... the planned openings on that load were staggered from 2,500 to 8k and there wasn't even any CReW on it. Times have changed, and I think for the better. $.03 JW
  25. what size tube are you using? (to get the same stuff)