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Posts posted by pchapman

  1. Sounds something like that, having the alti on standard above-sea-level figures.

    (Another possibility for having the issue in general, although not in your particular case, is zeroing the alti wrong, missing that it is set at -1000 feet instead of 0 feet. That's for altis in feet where one full revolution of the big hand = 1000 feet.)

    Since it is vital for pilots to report to air traffic control the proper way, above MSL, I've seen jump planes with a skydiving alti stuck to the instrument panel so that can be zeroed on the ground and the pilot doesn't have to do the mental math all the time either for ATC or skydivers.

    I had the same problem once when dropping static line students years ago. I couldn't convince the pilot he was wrong, so I just asked him for an extra thousand feet of altitude for these particular students. Which he gave me, no problem, putting us slightly above our desired altitude instead of at an altitude below what's allowed...

  2. Thanks Councilman. All my old bookmarks say ukskydiver.co.uk -- so they changed their address slightly to uk-skydiver.co.uk.

    As for the library, there is the Linda Hall library in Kansas City. Can't recall if there are any others.

    "This digital collection is a portion of a more extensive Parachute History Collection, and was developed as a collaborative venture between the Linda Hall Library and the Aerodynamic Deceleration Systems Technical Committee of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics."

    The old parachuting books are fascinating and contain stuff not in our 'standard' histories of parachuting -- since they were military, or stunt jumper, or 'foreign', or just didn't happen to make it into the sources that everyone then copies. Found a few of the old books to at least photocopy from university libraries.

  3. In Canada I've seen us respect the concept of the UPT rules -- only EXPERIENCED RW folks need apply!! -- while ignoring some of the details. Eg, if someone has plenty of experience, and is generally current, we don't worry about having to have a tandem or AFF style rating 100 RW jumps in the last year. That totally shuts out a lot of jumpers, even super current ones, if they are jumping in different disciplines.

    The UPT rules are so dumb that many who do tandem videos on weekends wouldn't be allowed to follow a tandem out the door... if they were not wearing a video camera. So screw you UPT.

    Which calls the whole list into question, even though the concept is very important, as tandem students are held to a higher safety standard. (Plenty of cases out there where tandem RW went wrong, including stuff like where the RW jumper's mom gets killed as a tandem passenger, due to bad RW.)

    But up across the border we can be more dismissive of USPA / UPT rules and any associated lawyers.




  4. Does any museum care about such stuff?  Especially if it isn't military or maybe smoke jumper related. Kind of thinking out loud here.

    There are always the collectors of old gear out there of course. Some things get bought and sold on ebay, although some of that wheeling & dealing is more about making a buck than preserving history. Others try to keep gear airworthy or at least preserved for history. As you likely know, 'Beatnik' might have the biggest collection of vintage parachute gear in Canada. I keep my personal collection of vintage gear & magazines fairly small, but still have issues with how much basement space is taken up...

    Then there's the idea of putting something online, like scanning old manuals in to rigging manual sites. BUT: Ugh, do any even exist now?  Parachutemanuals.com and the ukskydiver.co.uk sites are both gone. A lot of lost history, although someone in the know could find that stuff on archive.org hopefully.  Or there's someone like Andrew Hilton with a big Flickr site with photos of his vintage gear and accessories, so that at least shares something with other enthusiasts.

    So, you got anything interesting?  :-)

  5. Hmm. I guess one would have to look at each countries' training system, or indeed what particular DZs teach. Certainly new jumpers are taught about airspace, weather, equipment technical info, etc, and there are lists of such things in training manuals, so that each phase of a jump is considered.

    Skydiving doesn't have as much money involved like in say commercial or military aviation, so the progression systems are more casual (after the initial licence) and more dependent on the jumper learning the skills themselves, and they and their buddies evaluating their own skills to do a particular jump. (The UK is more stringent than the US & Canada, with some sort of more formal allowances to do RW or freefly or swooping, something that would be handled more at the local DZ level on the left side of the pond.)

    I'm not sure whether 'airmanship' is just something that's there when none of the individual pieces are neglected, or whether it is some separate concept. Certainly, it is often used to apply to things "beyond the letter of the law", beyond the basics of the rules, to include a more nuanced appreciation of all the factors including how to interact with others in the air.

    Perhaps a little more Human Factors stuff can be introduced. For example, one thing I'd like to see pushed a little more in some places, is the idea of a self-evaluation of the risks, potential risks, and challenges on any particular jump. Go over all of that and see whether the jump still makes sense, or whether something about it should be changed. 


  6. "On all other tandem container systems, the main container closing and the drogue attachment are two separate systems, at two different locations."

    Ah thanks,  I mistakenly thought the question on the test would relate to potential dangers of Sigmas in a test for Sigma instructors on how to jump Sigmas. That answer about system design was "too obvious" to me, given that I rigged the DZ's first Sigmas 18 years ago...

    Still, if they ask for "primary causes", I'd like to see a list of all tandem accidents say in the last 10 years and have causes listed by frequency....

  7. 96- List the primary causes of tandem incidents that resulted in a fatality  

    That last one has always thrown me. The Sigma manual (at least the last I checked) has nothing listed under "incident", "accident", or "fatality" that is in any way relevant. So "read the manual" seems not to help??

    I always came up with some B.S. generic answer that seemed to pass. Duh, 'not following proper procedures' for example.

    Luckily the DZ I'm at took that question out of the tandem exam in recent years. We have customized versions of the exam that are still really long, but cut out some of the less useful stuff, and add in DZ specific stuff. (We're in Canada, so we don't care as much about US lawyers. We still try to adhere to industry best practices.) 

  8. Quote

    Well, they won't get their BPA Skydiver A  licence doing RAPS jumps.

    @ bokdrol: Like with a static line or IAD progression in North America, it does lead to getting licensed, even if static line or IAD alone is not the only thing one has to do. You're trying to be misleading. If you really don't like RAPS as a progression method, fine.

    Your statement is like saying, "You can't become a Commercial pilot by getting a Private pilot's license." Because, duh, you also need a Commercial license after the Private.

    Moving along now.

    [Edit: And the British poster above is clarifying that RAPS seems to encompass the whole progression system to a license, not just the actual initial RAPS jumps. Just like 'static line progression' includes freefall jumps with coaches or instructors past the initial static line jumps.]

    • Like 1

  9. For Skydive San Diego:


    Also, no cameras of any kind will be permitted for usage on the property, either on the ground or after takeoff.

    What's that all about? Afraid of bad publicity if one person out of a load pulls their mask off for a minute?

    Can freefliers even jump without something on top of their helmet to tell them which way is down?

  10. I don't think I can help but can only comment a little for anyone else wondering about this:

    That document is a lot to digest, especially when it isn't like there's a 60 day comment period but they want nearly instant replies. And it isn't clear when all that was published. Maybe there's a date there some place in the 200 page document. (Even if big parts of that are sections quoted from regulations.)

    It is hard to comment on any one part of all that without understanding the rest.

    It was confusing that in the initial graphics they showed the RSA and OFA, and then had a table showing that even the Class III experienced jumper landing area was 44.8% within it  --- yet the graphics showed that the Class III area was completely outside it. And on the map of where LZ's and RSA/OFA intersect, marked it 100% in a bright red that doesn't correspond with the rest of the graphics.

    However, far later in the document there a map which also adds a taxiway TOFA safety area -- and that is what they are referring to. So the initial annotated maps were rather deceiving.

    Late in the doc there's a response from Start Skydiving's DZO. I see the focus is on the idea that the FAA never intended the RSA/OFA/TOFA to apply to skydivers landing or crossing runways, and that the DZ is compliant with FAA regulations.

    • Like 3

  11. To anyone who says, "No exceptions because it's about SAFETY! ":

    The FAA is in the process of publishing a list of temporary exemptions for pilots -- especially commercial pilots -- who haven't been able to get flight tests to confirm their proficiency, haven't had enough current experience, etc.  Over time, more and more pilots 'time out' from their requirements.

    Therefore, for those who condemn ANY possible change to USPA requirements, the USA's entire aviation system must now be declared UNSAFE.  Oh, the humanity!

    From some FAA news bulletin:


    The FAA has published a Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR) that provides regulatory relief to a wide range of people and operations affected by the COVID-19 public health emergency. The relief applies to pilots, crew members and other FAA certificate holders including some drone pilots who have been unable to comply with certain training, recency- of-experience, testing, and checking requirements due to the outbreak. It also provides relief to certain people and pilot schools who are unable to meet duration and renewal requirements, including extending the validity period of FAA medical certificates.

    (Canada has already implemented many similar measures. "Blame Canada.")

    And now, back to a more reasonable discussion of what changes might or might not be appropriate in the USA for skydivers....

    • Like 2

  12. Quote

    The problem with bending the rules is how far is too far?

    Well, that's what's up for debate.  It can be for governing organizations to agree on. If there are new rules, technically none are being bent. :-)



    Also your understanding that everyone in the sport is wildly uncurrent is highly inaccurate.

    I wasn't implying that. Fair enough, I wrote something about "the whole industry" for convenience, when it really is a 'significant part of the industry, that can only be solved on an industry-wide level'. Unless affected DZO's just ignore USPA rules. It doesn't help some small northern DZ if a bunch of people at some big southern DZ were still jumping regularly in early March, unless all of their instructors vacationed at the southern DZ too. 

     In some places, most might not have jumped since October. Although I have jumped a bunch in snow in winter, it isn't uncommon for some northern DZ's (eg, in Canada) to be closed end of October until some time in April. Not having jumped for 150+ days, in a regular non-pandemic season, is not seen as a big deal here in Canada. (Although some refresher jumps might be done, tandem recurrency jumps, Safety Day, that type of stuff.)

    • Like 1

  13. @ 20kN

    You opinion on the rules is valid. However, it isn't the possible valid one, and I don't buy into the background reasoning.

    The 'no exceptions because of safety' is just BS, because rules are to some degree arbitrary. A jump after 59 days isn't perfectly safe while a jump after 61 days is criminally unsafe. If some country had a 90 day rule instead, is their entire skydiving system 'unsafe'? Some countries may not have any specific rules, and leave it up to the DZO to decide whether an instructor is current or not.

    Because "the instructor literally has the life of another person in his or her hands" is pretty much crying, "Won't somebody think of the children!" (i.e, hysterical woman from The Simpsons)

    The drunk driver argument doesn't hold either, because the idea is that nearly everyone's car has crashed, and it is a problem for the whole industry to get current again. Small compromises can be made to ease the process.

    But I'll leave the USPA people to argue out the specifics of what best applies to the USPA situation.

  14. 1 hour ago, cosmicgypsy said:

    This 20yr thing got me thinking, so I decided to see if I could find information about times affect on parachutes.

    In one earlier thread I was involved in, I mentioned an Australian study that did some tests and extrapolations. Their results suggested only 1.5% strength loss per decade in storage at 20C.


    A Sandia labs paper from '94 perhaps similarly noted:


    I just have a few random papers on the issue, nothing really modern, and don't have a good overall handle on the issue. But I get the impression that nylon, especially if not stored at high temperatures (and not around any harmful chemical contamination) degrades only very very slowly over time. Making arbitrary 15 or 20 year life spans on gear rather silly.


  15. I hope I'm summarizing dpre correctly, but this sort of repeats his point:

    Even if we aren't sure whether everything the manufacturer says is mandatory, it is going to be up to the rigger to decide whether to follow the manufacturer's advice or not. Each rigger will have different concerns over liability and whether what's in the manual makes sense.

    [My comment: I've seen plenty of useless or wrong or impossible to implement stuff in manuals relating to TSO'd equipment. That's for another day's post!]

  16. Here's that service life thing from the FAA, in 2012.

    The confusing thing is that the FAA reply doesn't quite answer what the USPA was asking.

    The letter has the USPA asking about cases where the service life isn't in the TSO. (In paragraph 1.)

    The letter (in paragraph 2) then declares a service life non mandatory if sold before a service life was established.

    Some will take that as meaning that "if it says 20 years in the manual that came with that particular item" then it is mandatory. Voila.

    But one could also ask, "HOW is a service life established?".

    a) Put it in the manual? (for anything built from that time on)

    b) Or does it have to be in the original TSO certification as the USPA asked about?

    c) Or is that explained by the final paragraph (#3) saying "the manufacturer issues a Service Bulletin with safety concerns and recommends the FAA issue an Airworthiness Directive to establish a regulatory service life".?

    d) Or can it be some combination of (a),(b), and (c)?


    Nor does the letter get into what happens if a company "recommends" a service life. Is that like a non-mandatory-but-we-think-it-is-a-good-idea-or-maybe-we-are-just-covering-our-asses  "SHOULD" or a mandatory "SHALL"?


    The document really is horrible for any sort of clarity on the whole issue.

    Does paragraph 2 attempt to answer the question posed in paragraph 1 for (a) some cases, or (b) ALL cases? Does paragraph 3 explain (a) the only way how paragraph 2's statement about service life is to be implemented, or (b) just one of various possible ways?

    Even with the letter we can just go back to everyone arguing their own very different conclusions....


    FAA 2012Aug letter to Ottinger re service life TSOs.pdf

  17. On 3/26/2020 at 5:14 PM, JerryBaumchen said:

     It is now that they will not service anything that is 15 yrs old.

    They changed their position from a 'service life' to a 'will not service.'

    That's funny about National how wussy/money hungry they are about their own products. Considering that their manuals (last I checked last month) say up to 20 years is OK. From their main backpack rig manual, last revised 2014: 


    Until the PIA specifies otherwise, it is the recomendation of National Parachute that the maximum service life is 20 years from date of manufacture (this includes the harness, container and pilot chute).

    So it isn't even a "recommendation", it is a "recomendation".  :-)

  18. 48 minutes ago, dpreguy said:

    I also looked up Stylemaster and Starmaker in Deborah Blackman;s manuals.  Same as the pc chapman post.  Note that neither is a pop top.

    I was confused about that too. But there is a kind of Starmaker pop top. (Thanks dpre as without you noting the anomaly, I wouldn't have looked further.)

    The manual we've seen above is for a Starmaker that is NOT a pop top.
    But then I checked out these photos from Andrew Hilton, well known Brit vintage canopy guy:

    Strong Pop Top Chest Reserve Container

    Which has a data panel and a manual cover say stuff like "Starmaker Parachutes - The Pop Top Reserve - Strong Enterprises'.

    So the Starmaker name was used on more than one type of container.