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Everything posted by jshiloh

  1. Far as I know, the DZO is still not back to action after busting his leg a little while back. That's not a bad thing in general, but considering how much a role Mako played/plays there, it's got to have an effect. They've been sued at least 2-3 times in the past few years. Their Yelp reviews continue to go down the drain, with the most common complaint being poor organization & even accusations of fraud. Lots of talk from former employees about not getting paid. Most (if not all) of their vendors/suppliers insist on cash up front due to payment problems. And I know there have been multiple complaints by customers filed with the DA's office. I'd strongly recommend you take a hard first-hand look at this operation before signing on.
  2. Sadly, there are DZs out there that will pass anybody who jumps. They take the attitude that that 1 jump = 1 level of AFF, regardless of whether or not the student demonstrates the necessary skills. They think that the skills can always be worked on after the AFF through additional instruction. Nine times out of ten, they do this because their more interested in getting the traditional case of beer upon AFF completion. The rest of the time they "justify" it by saying they don't want to discourage the student by not passing them. Not saying that's what happened with this particular student. Just saying it's a possibility & something that needs to be fixed.
  3. I don't think a door is necessary. I have recently jumped a 182 that didn't have a right door at all. Not meaning to sidetrack the discussion, but just because a DZ is doing something a particular way doesn't mean it's being done right. In this day, we see way too many DZs ignoring various FAA & USPA rules on a daily basis. Doesn't mean they're doing it right, or safe. I'm pretty sure the FAA requires a door to be on a 182, but could be wrong.
  4. A few years back at my (former) home DZ there were a couple incidents where someone cutaway & the DZO & other staff heavily criticized the jumpers. Similar to what you describe, no one at the DZ asked if the jumper was ok, or wanted to know the details of what happened. All they were concerned about was the cost/effort at retrieving the mains. Not long after that a newb had a malfunction. She fought a spinning canopy all the way to the ground. She will never walk again. When asked why she didn't cut away, she said she didn't want to get yelled at so chose to try her hardest to correct the problem...next thing she knew, all she saw was dirt. Safety should NEVER take a back seat to cost, machismo, ego, or anything else. What should have happened is a check to make sure the jumper was ok, then find the main, then do a complete debrief to determine what went wrong & why you did what you did. If the DZO or your instructor felt the cutaway was premature, then he should calmly & properly instruct you on how to deal with the problem in the future. Honestly, if I were you, I'd find a new DZ. This one sounds like it's more concerned with $$$ than it is with safety & proper instruction.
  5. Depends on the test used & the individual. Hair tests can actually detect THC for up to 6 months, dependind on the hair. Even tests using forearm hair can detect usage within the last 3 months. OTOH, blood tests only detect usage within 24 hours or so...and if it's active in your blood, you're "under the influence" whether you feel stoned or not. That's a great policy. One which more DZs need to follow. However, more commonly, when staff show up hungover it's from a DZ sponsored party the night before and viewed as "no big deal." I personally know of one DZ where it is not uncommon for instructors (including the DZO) to throw back a few beers while on the job. One of the many reasons I avoid that place like the plague. Too many DZs take the attitude that unless the person is staggering drunk, it's all ok...even funny.
  6. In the US, no one "needs" a license to skydive. Many DZ's require USPA membership, but not all do. Even those that do only require membership, not a license. To be a member, simply fill out the application & pay your dues.
  7. The FAA can investigate, but that's the extent of their authority or ability to do anything. If it turns out the rigger did something wrong, the FAA can revoke the rigger's certification, at most. Similarly, they have power over the pilot. But they can not take action against the DZ (except if there are problems with the aircraft). Even if the FAA investigation uncovers criminal negligence, the most they can do is refer the case to the local DA's office for further action.
  8. Multiple reasons. Partly because DZs, S&TAs, members, etc. all know that there will be absolutely zero consequences for failing to report. Even if it were made a "requirement" there would be no actual consequences for non-compliance. Just look at the frequency with which DZs violate the BSRs and countless other "rules." With no consequences. Why are there no consequences? Because it's not in the USPA's interests to dole out punishments. The USPA is NOT a governing body! They go to great lengths to point out that they have zero regulatory, governing, or enforcement authority. They're entire purpose is two-fold: 1) as a political lobbyist to oppose and reduce government oversight/regulation; and 2) as an advertising entity to promote the image of the sport thereby making money. The absolute maximum punishment they can possibly dish out to violators is revocation of USPA membership. They cannot levy fines, shut DZs down, suspend business or anything else. USPA licensing/membership is not required for a DZ to operate in the US. Revocation of membership will have little, if any, negative impact upon a DZ or individual. But it will mean less revenue for the USPA, risks having individuals/group members leave out of anger over perceived "unfair" enforcement of rules, reduces numbers which in turn impacts their lobbying leverage. Strict reporting requirements also runs the risk of providing information that can be used in lawsuits. It also creates records that can be used by government and/or supporters of regulation. Those records would reveal a more accurate reflection of the number of injuries and fatalities that occur in the sport. Under the current way to doing things, the USPA is free to use whatever "estimates" they want with regard to number of jumps, number of serious injuries, number of fatalities, etc. in order to show how "safe" the sport is. So, in a nutshell, even if the USPA had some kind of viable enforcement power (which they don't), enforcement of reporting requirements would hurt the USPA because it would result in reduced membership and provide fodder for lawsuits and suggested regulations against the sport, not to mention reduced public interest resulting from injury statistics. It's easier and better for them to simply ignore it.
  9. Why were they bringing a 3-month old to ANY movie, let alone a midnight showing of a PG13 movie?
  10. I'm curious here. I haven't looked into the issue in depth. But I notice you used the term "mask." From what I recall, the regs only specify that "supplemental oxygen is used" but don't specifically require a mask. I've seen at least one DZ using an oxygen system that does not have a mask, just a tube that passengers suck on. At the time, I refused to jump at altitudes over 15k at that facility because I was not willing to use their oxygen tubes (sanitary concerns). I now wonder if the system itself was legal or not...
  11. Groupon used to have a discussion area for each offering. Supposedly it was to allow people to ask questions and/or comment on the offer. However, Groupon monitored the discussions & would not approve any comment which it viewed to be "disparaging" of either Groupon or the partner business. I was even threatened with banishment for asking a question about prior allegations of fraud against the business offering the groupon. They may have completely shut down the discussions area at this point...I haven't been back to their site since then.
  12. See "private necessity". BTW, the voluntary nature of our activities has nothing to do with it. http://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/private_necessity The problem with private necessity in this instance is the repetition. As I said before, "not often" is relative, so exactly how often will play a factor. A jumper may look at it as "rare" because it only happens once every 100 jumps. But a landowner may call it "frequent" because it's happening once a week. One element of the necessity defense is that the defendant (ie, the tresspassor) can not have caused the necessity. If he did, then it's not a valid defense since it would be unjust to allow a person to use his own actions as justification for invading another's property. If the off-landing was a one-time deal, necessity would almost assuredly be a defense. But the more it happens, the more responsibility the skydivers have to take steps to correct the problem. The DZ is now "on notice" that conditions exist which may force them to land on the horse ranch. In this particular instance, they admit to knowing that the LZ can be problematic & outs are semi-common. If they are choosing to continue operations as usual & taking the attitude that such off-landings are always "necessary" then it is very possible a court will find that they are at least partially responsible for bringing about the necessity. In such case, they will have no defense. Think of it like this. If a plane runs out of fuel so the pilot makes an "emergency" landing on private property, the private necessity defense is valid. But if it turns out that this particular pilot has run out of fuel & made similar "emergency" landings on multiple occassions because he feels it's not his responsibility to check the fuel levels before takeoff, then he's going to be s.o.l. On the necessity defense. And & has been repeated in this thread, even if necessity applies, the skydivers are responsible for and damage they cause. If the horse owner can prove his horses are, indeed, sufffering harm because of the jumpers, then he can & will recover damages. As someone else up above said, the best option here is to start a dialogue with the neighbor. Get a mutual understanding of each others' views, issues & challenges. Make a peace offering. Take steps to avoid future landings there & ultimately avoid court all together.
  13. Yes, he has a legal leg to stand on. It's called "tresspass" and it doesn't require that you do it intentionally. If you are on someone else's property without permission, it's tresspassing. Period. That part is a slam dunk in this situation. The good news is that if the tresspass is due to necessity (which you can argue here) then he can only recover actual damages that you cause. He's going yo have to prove that you landing on his property caused him some economic harm. Not just frustration or annoyance--actual harm. The bad news is that since this is a recurring event (you admit it's happened multiple times, and everyone's definition of "not often" is relative) he might convince a judge/jury that it's the result of recklessness on your part. If he can do that, it'll destroy your necessity defense & he can recover punitive damages. Really, the proper solution is that you & the DZ need to take steps to prevent further tresspasses. Take a hard look at WHY it's occurring. Are you not properly watching the wind? Frequent long spots? Too many people not paying attention because they know they have a convenient out? Whatever. Then take steps to correct the situation. Taking the attitude that he's being a jerk because you guys keep tresspassing on his property, or that you shouldn't be bothered with taking reasonable steps to avoid violating other peoples' rights is only going to cause more problems.
  14. Note to all in Cali - waivers won't cover "gross negligence," which is "an extreme departure from the ordinary standard of conduct." While I'm no tandem master, I think that a woman falling ass first out of a harness ON EXIT shows a pretty extreme departure. If something worse had happened, that video... ------------------------------------------------------------- I beg to differ, every waiver I have ever signed at my home DZ or while traveling has the "gross negligence" clause in it. Search google for "tandem waiver" just to see a few generic ones and you'll find the clause in there. I've even signed a waiver that stated I would not sue the DZ/DZO etc. in the event of "Extreme Gross Negligence" which I found somewhat amusing. I am IN NO WAY defending ANY of what is on the video. Nor am I saying that the waiver would necessarily hold up in court. Any law student could punch holes in nearly all our waivers if they were paid well enough to do so. The U.S. is far too eager to sue, that's undeniable. Sometimes, it's justified, other times it isn't. Had this tandem ended up turning into a fatality (which we all agree came within a hair's breadth of doing so) then it would have been a clear case of "Gross Negligence" - at least from my non-legalese point of view. BTW - Laverne looks a bit like a dude. You can put anything you want in a waiver or contract. That doesn't make it enforceable in a court of law. California (and most other states) has firmly established that you CANNOT waive gross negligence, no matter how hard anyone tries, because doing so violates public policy. If a plaintiff can prove gross negligence (as opposed to regular negligence) they will win in court, even if they signed a waiver expressly mentioning gross negligence. To make matters worse, including an attempt to waive gross negligence, intentional acts, etc can sometimes actually backfire. A court may rule that such a waiver is entirely void as "over reaching" or "unconcionable."
  15. You can tell people anything you want, it doesn't make it true. The problem with relying on statistics to demonstrate safety is the fact that statistics can be manipulated into "proving" anything you want. If you want to show skydiving is safer than driving a car, you do what the USPA & similar folks do. You look at total number of deaths caused by each activity, including vehicle passengers & pedestrians. You compare the fatality rates based on the number of fatalities per 1000 participants. And you use "estimates" that are nearly impossible to verify. If you want to show skydiving is more dangerous, you limit the comparison to active participants (so exclude pedestrian, bicycle & possibly passenger fatalities). You compare the number of fatalities per 1000 miles (or other distance traveled) rather than per participant, since since even skydivers spend a LOT more time in a car than they do in the air. One set of statistics will "prove" that you're more likely to die on your way to/from the DZ in your car. The other will "prove" it's about 2000 times more likely you'll die skydiving. Statistics are used to reinforce already existing belief, not prove anything. And that's the problem with relying on statistics, especially ones put out/promoted by someone with a bias. The reason skydiving is considered so dangerous is because of the risk/benefit value, not the risk alone. Cars have a significant benefit to the user & society in general. For most people, vehicles of some sort (car, bus, taxi, etc) are a literal necessity for daily life. Skydiving's only benefit is personal entertainment. Puting your life at risk just for fun is "unsafe." Taking the same risk in order to function/survive in society isn't.
  16. I am by no means an expert on this, so what I have to say may be completely off. But my gut says that 7 straight days of sun exposure is going to do significantly more wear than an equivalent number of hours in smaller chunks. Exposing a canopy to 8 hours of constant sunlight (possible more, depending on the time of year & specific location) is not the same as exposing it to the sun 32 times for 15 minutes each. An extended, constant exposure will build up a significant amount of heat, which I would think would contribute to additional damage. Expose a CD to sunlight for 15 minutes, then take it inside & let it sit for 15. Do this 10 times. You'll have a CD that's been exposed to the sun for a total of 2.5 hours...it'll probably work fine, though at most you'll have slight distortion. Now take a CD and let it sit in the sun for 2.5 hours straight. There's a very good chance it won't play at all, and you may even have a melted hunk of plastic. While I realize that UV rays are the main danger to canopies, as opposed to just heat buildup, I would think the heat very likely could contribute to problems & accelerate the damage. I would strongly suggest having this canopy inspected by an appropriate specialist for airworthiness. At worst, you're out a little money & out use of the canopy while it's being inspected. OTOH, it could save your life.
  17. Depends how cute the barista is
  18. Got news for you...it doesn't matter one bit what the USPA says on the matter. Whether or not something constitutes negligence and whether or not it can be used in a court of law is up the judge/courts. The USPA doesn't set law, they don't interpret law, they don't enforce law. While they do heavily lobby state & federal governments, it's ultimately not their determination as to what is/isn't negligence and what is/isn't admissible in court.
  19. Actually, I personally know 3 ATF agents, all of whom have stated on numerous occasions that they believe every adult American (excluding convicted felons) should own at least 1 firearm. I don't believe in banning guns, and strongly support gun owner rights (especially since I am one). But I always have to laugh when someone chooses to blatantly ignore facts simply due to their own preconceived (and often incorrect) bias against the source. Think about this for a moment...if the article was truly based entirely on an anti-gun position, then it would have "slanted" the numbers in the opposite direction. A conclusion that a majority of criminals obtain their guns via theft from legal gun owners SUPPORTS a position of stronger gun regulation & more red tape for gun purchases. Keep guns out of the legal market, you keep them out of the illegal market because criminals wouldn't have anyone to steal them from. The article's statements contradict that position.
  20. Honestly it depends entirely on the DZ. Depending on your level of experience, this may be a very, very bad idea. But it's really not that uncommon for us to see DZ's permit very, very bad idea behavior simply because it'd "be cool."
  21. Just like with automobiles, a seatbelt probably won't save your life in a catastrophic crash (though it's possible). However, the reason for the FAR & BSR requiring seatbelts during takeoff, landing & taxi is to help prevent injuries during "minor" bumps, bangs, abrupt maneuvers, etc.
  22. I saw a similar thing on youtube over the weekend only it was jumping camera on his "6th solo". Thought the same thing. I guess some DZ's don't mind, or don't check? Here's the link - says total jumps "16 so far". http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OcHICAzzY_s The plane in that video is the same PAC (N750SN) that is shown on the Skydive Hollister website. Looks like a pattern of noobs with cameras. Considering Hollister had a fatality 6-7 months ago that involved a camera flyer who didn't have anywhere near the requisite jumps, you'd think they'd be a little less care-free about this kind of shit. But I can't really say I'm surprised.
  23. Judging by the Yelp reviews & Groupon's site, Hollister has been running deals through Groupon, Travelzoo, TownHog & other sites every few months for the last 2-3 years. Obviously if they keep running the deals they must be making money through them. From the complaints all over the web, it looks like the way they're making money is by pulling bait & switch scams, charging for upgrades they know they won't/can't perform, charging for videos they never provide, etc. great way to represent the sport, guys.
  24. This thread has got me curious. With all the alk of liability, insurance, judgments, lawsuits, etc. I'm wondering how valid all these fears are. If someone gets hurt, yes there's a chance of them suing. But realistically, how many of them actually make it to court once the liability waiver (that Every tandem student signs) is thrown in their face? Of those that do make it to court, how many actually make it past the judge when the waiver is brought up? And of the ones that make it farther, how many actually succeed in convincing a jury that the tandem student didn't assume the risk of this highly dangerous activity after signing the waiver that uses terms like "serious injury" and "death" in every other sentence? I'm being rather serious here, because I'm not aware of a single successful lawsuit in the US for a tandem injury. Yes, someone might sue. And that alone will cost you some money. But realistically it'll likely only cost a minimal amount...just enough for your attorney to send a copy of the waiver to the other guy's attorney, and maybe file a motion. Insurance premiums will cost you more than that in the long run.
  25. Unfortunately, this may hurt your side of the argument. Despite popular belief, not all leashes comply with most leash laws. A lot of states' leash laws specifically define the MAXIMUM length a tether can be in order to comply with the law. Most states that I'm aware of set this limit at 6 feet. Even though you may have had the leash locked at "about 5 feet" at the time, the fact that you were using a retractible leash with a maximum extention beyond the (possible) legal limit means you may not have been in technical compliance with the law. You need to find the specifics of your jurisdiction's laws as to what is a legal leash, where a leash is required, and whether or not compliance with the law (and especially "borderline" compliance if it applies) absolves you of liability.