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Article Comments posted by pchapman

  1. You've got a nice adventure going.
    Launching off a float is an interesting change. It made for a nice big step when launching a 4-way. I was once at a DZ that operated a short while using a float plane off a river, before the new runway was ready. It made for a poor climb rate. Weirdest part was stepping over water from the dock to the float to climb on board, while wearing a rig and 12 lbs of lead weights. Don't slip!

  2. "His exit abruptly shifted the weight aft, rendering the aircraft uncontrollable" What B.S. Either you would have to show that the aircraft was already very poorly loaded with an aft CofG -- or else every jump operation with a C-182 would crash (or front door 205/206). And the nose had already dropped. So either the plane was already starting to stall, or the pilot mishandled the plane and didn't get the nose down enough when the engine died.
    And what are you arguing about seat belts? Do we even know if they had belts on or not during the climb out? So why is the crash being used for saying that seatbelts prevent movement in flight? The description never mentions the aircraft pitching up, so even if they were unbelted, what does the crash have to do with your idea of having seatbelts keep jumpers from moving about?
    As for "Sacred duty" of the seatbelt to keep people from bouncing around during evasive maneuvers? Hardly. It's a very rare occurrence. If it were important, then you would have to argue that we should keep seatbelts on at all times until jump run, or at least above the 1000' or 1500' typically used now, completely contrary to current practice. You could well argue that, but didn't. So which is it? How often do pilots really do "top gun shit" when flying jumpers?
    Besides, you've been in skydiving planes -- You could bounce around a whole heck of a lot with a typical belt, though at least in a large cabin aircraft not everyone would end up at one end or other.
    "Dive to the right"? Nothing like this is ever taught. A pilot is more likely to apply sudden positive G during a rapid turn.
    I await your expanding on the "au contraire" thoughts about seatbelts in flight. Maybe you have examples.
    While you have undoubted skills in different areas, and have the ability to write, your flippant "know it all" writing style has become annoying. That's more personal preference -- Others may like it. It sometimes makes it look like there are simple easy answers to everything, and you're here to enlighten us all to the one true way. But when facts and interpretations are tricky, slow down that writing of yours -- you might whip out a nice sounding paragraph really quickly -- but saddle it with some debatable advice -- so think through it all more.
    Mind you, Part 1 of your series seemed quite reasonable, with a decent review of the history of the seatbelt issue!

  3. My concerns:
    - Bit too much filler to advice ratio - personal preference only
    - #4. Holding your focus -- If you ONLY look way down the 'runway' you might not notice drift that will put you into those obstacles beside you. Terrible advice. You do want to stay aware of obstacles to the side when there's a crosswind. People over-emphasize "never look at obstacles". B.S.! - If I'm swooping close to an obstacle (or just backing a car out of a driveway), I have to glance at the obstacle to check that I'm not going to hit it. But yes don't get fixated on an obstacle.
    - In #5 there's a fundamental confusion over heading (direction the canopy points) and track (over the ground). It is impossible to both let the nose point where it needs to while maintaining the heading the same. (Tho' you clearly understood it in #1)
    "Any inputs required to keep that straight-line heading will simply increase your crab angle and point your nose into the wind, slowing you down." --> Well, not ANY inputs, as you could angle either left or right, more into or out of wind depending on how the wind changes (gusts, turbulence, wind shadow). But yes the tendency is to crab more as one slows down. And one is slowing mainly because one is flaring at some point, not because a small heading adjustment will greatly increase the headwind component.
    As far as flying in a straight line while flaring in a crosswind, a major point glossed over is that to maintain the straight line while slowing down, the amount of crab (and/or bank in a flare) will need to increase.
    - #6 - The 'wind facing position' thing is unclear, although I know what you're getting at. As one slows one would need to turn more into wind. Possibly, depending on canopy traffic, some deviation from the straight line would be acceptable at the end, curving into the wind more, as one can get into a messy position of trying to run it out at an angle to one's body while crabbing across the ground. That's where a slide can be handy if one can do it.
    - Good points in #1 (pilots are used to crosswinds) and #3 (your standard downwind and crosswind legs will have drifts you aren't used to, because the legs are no longer actually downwind and crosswind)
    While describing crosswind landings is particularly tricky, this article misses a lot.

  4. These are hardly immutable "laws".
    More like generalized statements.
    Indeed some have their limits and if applied wrong, produce contradictory or opposite to the intended effects, while some have little value in creating correct actions. One might as add Law #7 = "Don't %$#$ up".

    The reasoning in #4 is poor, making a messy explanation of the factors and relative influence of time of exposure to the wind, freefall speed, and canopy flight directions. (In addition being unclear about flying "back" to the DZ when the example only works for a spot prior to the DZ, which is unstated.)
    Just because is able to write stuff doesn't mean one should about every subject.
    That being said, it is very difficult to write something up coherent yet compact on the various factors affecting exits.

  5. She adds a bit of science by adding formal terminology for the phenomenon. But there's a little much extraneous stuff for my taste -- drifting off into paragliders in a way that doesn't enhance the skydiver's understanding of landing accuracy. And I don't like the uncritical evaluation of the 'target fixation' idea, which I think is sometimes true, but not always or universally. If one is trying to swoop one's wing past a pole, one can't focus on a point in space 15' away from the pole, but one focuses on the pole and estimates the distance one needs to fly off to the side. But that's another topic.
    Her pieces seem to "try too hard" to sound 'well written', with condescending sounding jokiness, when it is the balance of informational content that needs to be focused on more. I'll grant that writing technical articles for skydivers is very tough, and there's always personal preference in writing style, but I saw the same in her How Density Affects Your Destiny and Stalling for Success. Too much fancy writing with not enough clearly presented balanced, factual content.

  6. What I did like is pointing out that among the freefliers, there are different levels of freeflying, something that not everyone might take account of if just thinking "big to small": Experienced head downers will drift back less than people doing a casual sitfly. So instead of just "belly then freefly" it may be "belly then slower freefly then faster freefly".
    I didn't like the concept of "prop blast penetration" in the second sentence, despite it being enclosed in quotes. Prop blast itself clearly isn't a factor except right at the aircraft. Aircraft forward speed is the factor. Surely there's a better term available? Horizontal penetration? Drift back tendency? Maybe we don't have a standardized term yet.
    Also, the spacing is determined not only by the relative forward penetration, but total time in freefall and thus time exposed to drifting back by the wind. In an instructional article one can't forget that second of the two main reasons for separation changes. (For jumpers falling down the pipe and not inadvertently moving horizontally, which then is an additional issue).
    (E.g., Two groups could do identical head down exits with identical horizontal penetration, but if the second switches to belly half way through the dive, their drift angle will change and they'll drift back towards the first group.)
    The "canopy tracking" term may be a little silly but is a nice way to create a mental reminder for people.

  7. Locally I've seen the problem being that if a bunch of people want to skydive together, but the skill level isn't there to do RW as a single large group, then by default the answer is, "Let's do a tracking dive!"
    That's not looking like a good strategy.
    Despite wanting to get something like a sunset bigway with everyone included, in the end it would be better to split into smaller groups, whatever the discipline.