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  1. Did you take the two year break because you wanted to, or did the body slam caused by the forward surge on your parachute cause this? I would almost bet money this resulted in a hard tailbone strike, and possibly a minor compression fracture. But good to hear you are back on the saddle...
  2. The same thing happened to me on my third jump as what happened to OP. After making my base leg turn on my landing pattern, my instructor was radioing me to "turn left turn left", and sounded angry even though I was turning. After doing a 270, and with the ground closer, I made the decision to disregard the radio, make no more turns, and beeline downwind to a bumpy landing. Turns out my instructor was looking at the wrong canopy. So I accept shit happens, and the person under the canopy is the pilot in command of his own aircraft, and his own life. I made the call to disregard the radio, but I did not do so right away as I should have, since there was no logical reason to turn in the first place. But the point here is not that I was just a dumbass who learned from a mistake, but that worst case scenario is a mistake like this could be ugly, regardless of who was at fault. Given there appears to be some regularity (even if minor) to this type of error occurring, the odds are one of these days a worst case will happen... if it already has not. I think I recall an incident awhile back where a student corkscrewed himself into the ground, and no one could understand why. Kinda makes one wonder... Not suggesting this was the cause here, but it is a possible outcome of a radio error such as this.
  3. It's been my experience that many students, including myself, have unrealistic expectations about the frequency of their jumps when they begin an AFF program. Depending upon the size of the DZ, the staff to student ratio, how big the DZ is on tandem jumps, and the weather, many students are lucky to get one jump in per day during AFF. Tandem jumpers are big business for many DZ's, and student AFF jumpers are lower on the pecking order than tandems. It's first come first serve for student jumpers, and the first ones in line early in the day have the best chance of jumping. I was almost always the first one in line, and a couple of times I was the only one to be able to jump that day. I spent a few days sitting around the whole day and never being able to jump. Not that I am complaining, since I now understand the practical realities. Also, once you are jumping solo after around jump 14, its much easier to get several jumps in a day. Places like Skydive Spaceland in Houston offer a license in a week, assuming good weather days. But for those who lack the free time or patience to sit around for several weekends at a DZ until they get all their AFF jumps, the accelerated programs are pretty attractive.
  4. I'm certified by both, and for most folks it really makes no difference one way or the other. Either one will accept the others credentials and allow you to take their advanced certification classes. I concur with the statement above about the preference for the NAUI instruction plans. But beyond that, if it boils down to choosing between two local schools that are PADI or NAUI, I would choose the school and instructors I felt more comfortable with. Its just another card in your wallet, with about as much difference in value as Mastercard and Visa.
  5. Absolutely. Pilot bail out rigs. Thanks, I did not know that...
  6. After experiencing and learning a bit about skydiving, we tend to get a little critical of skydiving scenes in big budget movies, while at the same time finding the humor in some of these. In "Independence Day" Will Smith ejects out of his aircraft. He is under a round canopy coming down at a what seems a high rate of speed, and he lands with a loud grunt feet apart and both arms all the way down at his sides with apaprently no toggles in hand. Of course its not really him, or maybe not even anyone else for that matter, as it seemed to be a special effect that was not a real jump. But with the cool scenes in this movie, most would not even notice these little details, much less care. In "Air Force One", the passengers get like a 30 second brief on how to open their chute, and a "good luck" as they walk out the back end of a jet aircraft into the night. While it is surely better than the alternative of taking their chances with machine gun toting terrorists on board, I wonder what the odds are of a group of people in this situation landing alive and injury free. Also, they were told to pull the handle at their chest, if I remember correctly. Are any rigs made like this?
  7. I agree with Belgian_Draft that even relatively simple technical discussions can become rather lengthy, and I tried to avoid this by explaining this as simply as possible. Absolutely The reason most won't even attempt to explain this is because they consider it frivolous and a waste of time. It does not matter that "there are plenty of people that believe it is possible", if none of those folks opinions are considered important. However, almost any technical person will gladly argue such matters if you bring an equally good technical understanding to the table and you can articulate both theories in their entirety, and why you believe your opposing theory is correct. I don't mean to sound condescending, but this is where you need to buckle down and do your homework and learn to understand the underlying physics of this on your own. One cannot rationally argue against an established scientific principle based on gut feelings without a solid technical understanding of the issue in question. Without a good technical understanding, one cannot objectively compare and evaluate competing hypothesis and independently come to an arguably sound conclusion on which one they believe is right. Without a good technical understanding, all one can do is believe which argument "sounds better". And often the one that "sounds better" is the one that appeals to the emotional rather than the rational side of the brain. Just for qualification, I do have chemical and mechanical engineering degrees, although it's been awhile since I discussed basic physics topics such as this. The days of McCarthy are long gone and no one is being accused of being Commies any more, or even as in more recent times of being called card carrying liberals. While some are still called unAmerican for their views, it does not appear to scare many, or make them afraid to stand up and speak out on any issue or against the war, much less of losing their jobs or their lives over something like this.
  8. Army Enlisted 1976-1979, 1/75th Rangers Commissioned 1982, Reserves, MI Unit attached to 20th SFG
  9. I only gave this thread and video a cursory glance, but it appears you believe that the manner in which the WTC collapsed violates the laws of physics as most understand it. It is well established that an object in motion that strikes another slows down, or rather loses some of its momentum. The conservation of energy thing... What occurred with the WTC does not contradict this theory. The rate of acceleration at which the towers collapsed was the result of a compounding effect of increasing mass as each floor collapsed combined with the force of gravity. Momentum = Mass x Velocity A constant mass that strikes another mass will lose momentum, and in turn a proportionate amount of velocity, which balances the equation. However, in this case the mass was not constant, as the total mass of the object in motion increased as each floor buckled from the mass on top of it. Each time the floor above collapsed on top of the floor below it, this caused a decrease in speed and a large increase in mass. The result was an ever increasing momentum. Once a floor collapsed, the entire mass was in freefall and accelerating under the influence of gravity until it hit the next floor. During freefall gravity was doing its job by accelerating the mass at a rate of 32 feet per second per second. By the time the third floor had collapsed the increasing momentum and speed was now such that nothing was going to stop it but the ground. With the weight of the falling mass increasing as it buckled each floor, the increasing momentum caused the falling mass to slow down a little bit less with each floor it collided with, while gravity was still accelerating this mass and increasing the velocity. So there really is no conspiracy or coverup, or ignorance of the laws of physics, as suggested by this post. If the experiments or alternative hypothesis made by these folks had any merit, there would be no shortage of academics ready to back it up and be all over it. But that is not the case here.
  10. When the people look like ants-PULL When the ants look like people-PRAY
  11. A small point some here are missing, and one that should be more apparent to skydivers, is the rate of deceleration at the point of impact with the water. Or just how long it takes your body to go from possibly 100+mph to zero. If the water is softer or bubbly, which translates to lower surface tension, this should allow one to travel a bit further into the water on impact. This in turn increases the time for deceleration, which is good. But that does not mean it is 'good enough' to be survivable or even injury free. But one does not have to come to a complete stop to for most skydivers to understand what a difference even small changes in speed and distance makes on deceleration. This is often experienced first hand with soft vs really hard canopy openings. In simplest terms the bottom line with water landings as you suggest is exactly how fast your body is moving at the point of impact with the water, and exactly how long it takes your body to come to a stop. One must understand the physics behind this and be able to safely control the variables of speed, distance, time, and deceleration during impact. So any thrill seekers of 'tomorrow' seeking the ultimate rush dropping from great heights in a Jules Vernes version of human sized footballs will not likely be seeking any thrills the 'day after tomorrow'.
  12. One factor that many would consider more important than the cost of an AFF program alone when comparing DZ's is how much priority a DZ gives to its AFF students to get jumps. However, I do not have enough experience with different DZ's to know if DZ's are significantly different from each other in this regard, or if they are all pretty much the same. But in my experience the time investment to complete AFF is a lot bigger than many expect. Schools probably tend to downplay that a bit. I have spent many days waiting for an opportunity to squeeze in a jump between all the tandems and ended up going home at the end of the day without having made a single jump. Throw in a few windy days and its a coin toss if one jumps or not. If I did not make sure I was the first one in line some mornings, I probably would not have jumped that day. While I am not really complaining, since all in all it was a small investment in time for the sport, it was just a bit aggravating that I was unprepared to spend a couple of months of weekends to get 18 jumps. However it is now much easier to squeeze in several jumps a day, if that is what I wish. But even though I was aggravated, I could surely understand the DZ's position. If I was the DZ owner I would give high priority to filling my planes with tandem jumpers lined up waiting to fork out a couple of hundred dollars and more for jumps and videos. While schools like Skydive Spaceland offer a license in a week, few working folks really have the time to do this, but it is a real attractive offer that many who do have the time probably take. Bottom line is if I was comparing AFF programs, and one school could get me through the program more quickly than the other, that would factor big into my decision, at least more so than the cost of the program itself.
  13. I had a few of these by my 18th, and the last one took me out of action for awhile, but I will be making my 19th jump soon. First was from testing my canopy on my 4th jump and turning a quick left followed by a quick right , which twisted my lines. Some hard pedaling while muttering oh shits got me out of that. The next was from flying around too far away from the DZ with an expectation I had plenty of time to make it. By the time I started to head toward the DZ I was against the wind and sure I was not going to make it and would have to land in a fully grown cornfield. Just barely made it to the start of my approach pattern at the right heading and altitude. The last jump started with two quick oh-shits followed by a body slam on the ground followed by several more oh-shits. The issue on that was my approaching with toggles shoulder height to slow me down so I could make my target. When I was under 50 feet I raised the toggles quickly to give me more room for final flare, and I learned a hard lesson on cause and effect of Forward Surge too close to the ground. Raising the toggles quickly caused the canopy to surge forward, which in turn swung me forward, and I was on the ground much quicker and harder than expected. Fortunately that ended a little better than it could have, as I was able to barely walk away and get a ride to the ER for treatment of a minor spinal compression fracture. So while these may be considered dumb-ass nube mistakes by many, I present them here so that others may hopefully avoid repeating these and getting hurt. Especially the forward surge matter, which everyone should have a clear understanding of. Brian Germains "The Parachute and Its Pilot" has a lot of great information on this and other topics of interest to new jumpers.
  14. I concur 100% on that. One such mid-air collision in my old Army unit in the late 70's resulted in my battalion Sergeant Major and a Spec 4 dying together after they become entangled.
  15. It is far less likely the accident occurred because “shit happens”, and much more likely the culprit is “pilot error”. I myself would not jump again until I had a reasonably good understanding of what caused the accident and how to avoid it in the future. If there were any issues with the student rig it is likely there would have been complaints from other students. If not, there should be little reason to question the rigging or rigger. If the school says the rig is fine, you should be looking elsewhere for the cause of your accident. If you had some bad landings or questions about the parachute, then you should consult with your schools instructors to try to determine the root cause of this. Winds should not have been cause of your problems, as I believe good schools err on being conservative and not allowing students to jump in high or gusting winds. I know where you are coming from, because I am returning to jumping later this summer after getting a little busted up on my 18th ‘landing’. That resulted in a realy sore tailbone and minor compression spinal compression fracture which healed completely. I had plenty of time to analyze and learn the root cause of my accident. At that time I did not really understand the cause and effect of “forward surge”, but I sure as heck do now. Brian Germain’s book ‘The Parachute and Its Pilot’ explained this, and other things, very well. I was on final approach intent on landing on target, with my toggles at shoulder height to slow me down so I would not overshoot my target. When I was under 50’ I quickly raised my toggles thinking this would give me more flare on landing. What this did was lunge my chute forward, which in turn swung me forward, and I was on the ground much quicker and much harder than expected. But good luck on your next jump and I hope you have a smooth landing…