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Posts posted by pchapman

  1. What material is commonly being used these days for main container closing loops?

    1000 lb Spectra seems to be one choice; but I also see loops that are still made of the thin nylon sheathing with the diagonal dotted lines -- Type IIA, which I understand is essentially coreless Type II nylon cord.

    I have seen the type IIA listed as 225 lb strength, but I've also heard 100 lb. Why the discrepancy? Or is it a mixup about different kinds of sheathing?

    I'm wondering whether the sheathing is considered strong enough these days, given that stronger (although more easily damaged) Spectra is now available. In pre-Cypres days, reserve loops for 1 and 2 pin containers were often made of the sheathing.

  2. I finally came across what appears to be an actual news report from the time of the well known accident. There's no proof that its an actual AP press report, but it appears authentic.

    (Found at http://www.aarrgghh.com/no_way/noChute.htm)


    LOUISBURG, NC--An experienced parachutist filmed his
    own two-mile death plunge after he fell from an airplane
    while carrying a video camera but apparently without
    realizing he had no parachute, investigators said Tuesday.

    Officials declared the death Saturday of Ivan Lester
    McGuire, 35, of Durham, an accident.

    Franklin County
    sheriff's Capt.
    Ralph Brown said
    there was no foul
    play and no
    indication of
    suicide, although "a
    man who has
    jumped 800 times
    ought to remember
    his parachute."
    "A man who
    has jumped
    800 times
    ought to
    remember his

    The videotape shows McGuire leaving the plane,
    apparently without problems, Brown said. Other
    parachutists then jump and free fall, but disappear when
    they pop their parachutes and McGuire plunges on
    toward the ground at 150 mph.

    McGuire, who was carrying a video camera mounted on
    his helmet, was filming a student and an instructor at
    Franklin County Sports Parachute Center about 20 miles
    from Raleigh.

    The plane's pilot, Mark Luman, couldn't be found for
    comment and had no telephone listing. Brown said the
    pilot "wasn't in any position to see what happened in the
    back of the plane."

    The videotape showed the divers making preparations
    around the plane's door; then the camera went out with

    With the camera aimed up toward the plane, the tape
    then shows the instructor and the student jump and
    freefall somewhat above McGuire. The jump appeared to
    be proceeding normally until the instructor and student
    opened their parachutes and receded rapidly from view as
    McGuire hurtled below them.

    "The pictures
    get to moving
    real fast
    because he's
    the ground at
    150 mph"
    "It kind of appears
    he reached for his
    parachute and didn't
    have one," Brown
    said. "But the
    release for his
    parachute is on his
    right hip, and when
    that right hand goes
    down, the left hand
    comes forward and
    it comes into camera

    After several seconds of jerky motion, the tape shows the
    ground approaching. "Then the pictures get to moving
    real fast because he's approaching the ground at 150
    mph," Brown said.

    McGuire's body was found in woods about 11/ 2 miles
    from the airfield. Footage of the final stage of the plunge
    was destroyed on impact and what tape remained had to
    be spliced in places, officials said.

    Brown said blood samples will show whether McGuire
    had alcohol or drugs in his system and test results should
    be ready in about a week.

    Although an expert jumper, McGuire could have
    forgotten to put on his parachute because of fatigue or
    preoccupation with his video equipment, Mrs. Fayard
    was quoted as saying.

    A Federal Aviation Administration investigator said
    Monday he was checking to see if the pilot knew whether
    McGuire was wearing a parachute when he entered the
    airplane, as FAA regulations require.

    Sheriff Arthur Johnson said Tuesday the investigation
    showed the pilot thought McGuire was wearing a
    parachute. But Walter L. Riggsbee, the FAA investigator,
    said the video equipment may have been mistaken for a

    Copyright © Associated Press, April 5, 1988

  3. My vote: "Lemmings Extremes" -- billed as the 'best and worst of Bridge Day' - from video shot over about a decade of the event.

    I've shown it at the DZ, and it is 55 minutes of non-stop cringing, "holy @%#^", and "phew!" exclamations by those watching. Awesome. By far the most jumps end up working out injury free despite everything that happens.

    It makes one aware of the many things that can go wrong (even an uncocked pilot chute), as well as showing some of the more audacious and odd jumps that have taken place there.

    I don't think it would be the most educational for advanced BASE jumpers but a novice would benefit from seeing a lot of the types of problems that can occur, especially bad launches.

    Source: www.lemmingsvideo.com. Reasonably priced too.

  4. Anyone got ideas for carrying out a flour bombing contest?
    I'm helping organize one. The flour will likely be in baggies, and distances can be measured from a target on the ground. It would be for jumpers of all experience levels and canopy types.
    The question is how to enforce some sort of minimum drop altitude, so the flour isn't just dropped on a short final approach. Some possibilities:
    -- State a minimum altitude, that should be enough to allow a drop plus sufficient time to still set up for landing. (500', or even more to really give the fast canopy fliers time) The altitude limit would be hard to enforce, but a judge would still watch jumpers for any obvious violations.
    To be fancy, one judging station could be 500' abeam the drop target, so that, assuming the drops are close to overhead the target, the jumper should be at about 45 degrees or more above the horizon when dropping.
    Another possibility is to time the time-of-fall of the flour bomb to check for too-low drops, but that requires calibration tests and starts getting complicated.
    -- 'The bomb can't be dropped on final approach' - the jumper must make at least a 90 degree turn before landing. It's a nice thought but could lead to low hooks.
    -- Have the landing area offset certain distance away from the drop target (outside of typical swoop distance!)

    While the density of a small flour bomb should be reasonable, we'd still keep the drop area clear of spectators.

    Peter Chapman
    Toronto, Ontario

  5. Time: summer, 1992
    Location: a mountain trail in southern Germany

    I'm hiking down a steep trail when coming the other way I see a couple women. They have skydiving T-shirts on. Cool! At the time I was a newbie with maybe 150 jumps.

    The printing on the T-shirts was even in English, so I stop and talk the woman in front. I say that I'm a skydiver, and ask if she jumps. (I'm thinking, is she really a skydiver or just someone who did one jump and bought the T-shirt?)

    She says yes.

    I ask, "How many jumps?"

    "Eight thousand."

    Momentary pause. I reply, "Uh, what's your name?"

    "Cheryl Stearns"

    "Yeah, I've heard of you."

    Turns out she was sightseeing at the time, as the world style & accuracy championships were taking place a week or two later in Austria.

    Peter Chapman

  6. I've jumped a rig from ~'83 for the last 10 years, then this year upgraded half-way to modern by buying a rig from about '93.

    The old rig, in which I've fit F-111 canopies from 200 to 265 ft sq, has been great for basic CRW, taking to Bridge Day, canopy trashing, and screwing around low under canopy (eg, 180 hook turns to landing from, like, fifty feet). You learn to fly whatever you've got, towards the edges of its own performance envelope.

    Old gear is great for its adaptability! - although bridle or riser protection may need upgrading.

    My '93 rig came with a Sabre 135. I also bought a used FX88 to use in the same rig. By having two sets of risers/bags/pilot chutes, and a careful system for storage, canopies can be quickly swapped without even repacking. To make the FX88 fit safely, I've sewn in a 'pillow' below the reserve container. Dense foam padding can be inserted to use with the small canopy, or removed for the larger canopy.

    If I'm ever jumping in the US, they should be able to allow me the 180 day Canadian repack cycle, as the rig sure isn't TSO'd any more...

    Peter Chapman
    Toronto, Canada (Canadian rigger)

  7. Up here in Canada getting gear for an intentional hasn't been hindered by regulations (or varying interpretations of them). At the couple DZ's that I've called home, the set up has always been very simple:

    An old military belly mount is used, hooked to one's harness by separable D-rings, below one's handles. The lower corners of the belly mount are tied off to some other part of the harness to keep the container from swinging about.

    (Separable D rings aren't common but do exist; eg they were used to replace a batch of bad D-rings in about 1982-1983 without restitching major parts of the harness.)

    If the tersh had to be activated, the separable D-rings would ride up on one's harness, which might cause some minor damage. But nobody worries about that since it's only a last ditch thing if the reserve fails.

    Anyone using this setup naturally needs to be trained on manual deployment procedures.

    Peter Chapman
    Toronto, ON

  8. Actually having the chance to use a hook knife seems rather rare, but I'll give a very unusual example of where the knife was useful:

    A jumper once had her reserve go over the tail of the aircraft on exit. The reserve was shredded, but she didn't hit the tail and was conscious. She hook-knifed all the lines, then deployed her main canopy. This jumper only had about 40 jumps. Impressive.

    [I remember this from USPA accident reports, in the early to mid 1990s]

  9. If we're just tossing ideas around, here's one:

    Lines that combine dacron & spectra --

    Most round emergency canopies for hang glider pilots use dacron lines, because of tradition and for the supposed shock absorbing effect. The canopies are built very light compared to round skydiving reserves.

    One US company's top-of-the-line hang glider reserve uses spectra lines for minimum bulk, except for sections of line, a couple feet long, which are dacron. I think the dacron sections are at the canopy end of the lines.

    Whether the short sections of dacron provide useful shock absorption, I don't know.

    Peter Chapman
    Toronto, Canada

  10. Quote

    One reason I like the PD-126 over the 113 is that from the PD-253 on downwards to the PD-126, the certification weight is 254 lb. For the PD-113 and 106, that weight was reduced to 220 lb. Who knows, both might be fine during tests at 254 lb due to similar construction, but I like the idea of having that extra bit of actual demonstrated strength.

    To update my original post:
    I have since read that PD did drop test their smallest reserves to a higher weight than necessary for the certification weight. As others noted, the certification weight may therefore be to satisfy descent rate requirements.
    They tested to 300 pounds and 180 knots, I was told,
    which corresponds to the *1.2 factor used for certification to the typical 254 lb and 150 kts.
    Good to hear!!

  11. > hma and vectran are both aramids. vectran is just a trade name...

    I believe Vectran, which is described as a liquid crystal polymer, is NOT an aramid.

    The makers of the Vectran product (Celanese) say this:

    "Vectran fiber is a polyester-polyarylate fiber. The differences between Vectran fiber and two other high-performance fibers [...] are as follows: Vectran fiber is thermotropic, it is melt-spun, and it melts
    at a high temperature. Aramid fiber is lyotropic, it is solvent-spun, and it does not melt at high temperature."

    In any case, it is the actual differences or similarities of the two materials that matter.

  12. Yes, it did happen. About a month ago at Skydive Toronto during a 4-way competition. The jumper in question is a well known Ontario RW jumper.
    I'm not sure quite why the jumper was able to free himself when he did, but I'm guessing it was after the pilot stopped descending at high airspeed and slowed down. The jumper got free at low altitude (~1000' I was told), and pulled his reserve.
    After landing, the jumper wasn't initially seen to be moving, so a person on another load volunteered to jump in. He saw wires at the last moment and either clipped them or maneuvered to avoid them, breaking bones in feet/ankles.

    The rumour I had heard was that the jumper whose bootie had caught, had reinforced the bootie with webbing -- after all, booties do get a lot of wear. Whether or not this is correct, this is one area where less strength may occasionally be an asset. Another jumper at the DZ had caught a bootie years ago, and in that case the bootie ripped and freed him before getting close to the ground.

  13. Two things people don't often seem to look at when choosing a reserve:

    1) Certification speed.
    Typical values for the max deployment speed are 130 or 150 kts depending on the standard the manufacturer used. It looks like only the older TSO-C23 / AS8015 standards allowed the 130 kts. Newer chutes should all be 150 kts minimum.

    Eg: PD-126R: 150
    Super Raven, Microraven: 130.
    Amigo: 150
    (I don't have numbers on the Raven-M, but I bet it's 150 since it's a relatively new design. Anyone got the numbers on the Tempo??)

    2) Certification weight

    The manufacturer may recommend certain weights based on ability to land the canopy reasonably well, but the actual certification weight may be higher.

    One reason I like the PD-126 over the 113 is that from the PD-253 on downwards to the PD-126, the certification weight is 254 lb. For the PD-113 and 106, that weight was reduced to 220 lb. Who knows, both might be fine during tests at 254 lb due to similar construction, but I like the idea of having that extra bit of actual demonstrated strength.

    Part of the reason jumpers don't look at this stuff much is that it can be hard to find on manufacturers' web sites, and is sometimes only found in owner's manuals or TSO placards.

    For example, Precision's web site mentions the Absolute Max Load for the 120-M as 168 lb at sea level. It might be implied that this is not actually the certification limit, but if so, the certification limit isn't shown.

    I'm not saying that designs without the highest values are in any way not safe; just that these are additional pieces of evidence about the product involved. (The only reserve ride I've had in 600 jumps was under my Phantom 24 a few weeks back after a CRW wrap...)

    Peter Chapman
    Toronto, Canada

  14. Let's get this straight everyone:
    The DZ that used military rounds was the Parachute School of Toronto.
    It is not Skydive Toronto, run by Joe Chow. Yeah, similar names.
    Whenever Skydiver Toronto jumpers have done displays at malls or sports shows, they keep on having to explain to people that they're not the place where "this guy you know broke his leg"...
    Skydive Toronto (some distance west of Barrie) does crank out a lot of students, using the traditional static line progression system, and do use square/square rigs.
    The latest news is that Joe is now up to 6 C-182's, although they are certainly never all flying at once. (How you manage the airplanes in operation is more important than the total number!) He's also switching from 2 Strong tandem rigs to 6 Vector Sigma rigs.
    Both Coldwater and Markham have shut down, the former because of the owner's retirement.
    The new owner of the Parachute School of Toronto is in the process of opening up again, but with all new gear. No more rounds. Last I heard, he'll be at the Baldwin airport, site of the former Markham Skydiving.