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Found 272 results

  1. Three Cognitive Tools to Help Keep You In One Piece Image by Kenneth Grymen Uncertainty is a foundational element of skydiving, and managing that uncertainty is one of our most important responsibilities in the sport. Right? Right. Unfortunately: what we know from laboratory experiments is that when humans come up against probabilities—all of which are, technically, conditional probabilities—our minds seize up when they try to make an inference from that data. We all hold carefully constructed illusions that comfortably surround the ideas of certainty, responsibility and safety. Learning about the structures we build out of those illusions forces us to open up to the idea that we don’t know jack. And man, we don’t like to do that. As a culture, we’re also tripped up by the fact that statistical thinking isn’t a cornerstone of our educational system. We’re friggin’ terrible at juggling statistics, in fact. (Esteemed mathematician John Alan Paulos calls this phenomenon “innumeracy”: literally, an illiteracy of numbers.) With that in mind, co-nerd along with me on this path to understanding how we stumble around in our own heads. Clearly, a library of cognitive phenomena relate to our beloved sport; I’ve picked my favorite three biggies to start the conversation. #1: The Dunning-Kruger Effect If you walk away with only one new tool in your cognitive toolkit, let that be the Dunning-Kruger Effect. The Dunning-Kruger effect is a relatively new discovery, as these things go. It was set out in experiments run by David Dunning and Justin Kruger at Cornell in 1999. The Dunning-Kruger Effect is a cognitive bias (defined as a systematic deviation from rational thinking) that prevents people from being able to know with any accuracy how skilled and/or informed they are. Basically, the research found that incompetent people overestimated (sometimes, hilariously vastly) their own abilities. Skilled people, however, tended to downplay their competency. What repercussions does this have for you as a skydiver? Holy dachshund puppy in a hot dog bun. SO MANY. It only takes a little extra listening to recognize it in the people around you--and yourself. Our sport is--just like the rest of the world--chock-full of the “confident incompetent”: those who lack the metacognitive ability to recognize that they (at least for now) suck. What’s a smart skydiver to do? Firstly and most importantly: Underestimate your abilities and the abilities of the jumpers around you. Get professional coaching to uplevel; that’ll come with a bonus of an outside perspective on your actual skills. Then make it a project to find truly competent fun jumpers to enrich your educational environment. Remember: People who know nothing are far more likely to make themselves be heard than people who know a lot. The fun jumpers who actually know a lot will likely be much quieter, so it’ll take more work to find them. #2: The Stress-Influence Tendency Every human makes decisions under varying intensities of stress; far fewer of that number regularly, intentionally make life-and-death decisions under stress. Of that smaller population segment, a pretty large fraction does it for a living. For fun? Yeah. We’re a weird crowd. We play stress games. We need to play them as consciously as possible. The Stress-Influence Tendency pops up when the stakes are high and not enough information (or cognitive resources) are present to reasonably guarantee a good choice. Here, it’s the pressure that matters. High-pressure environments dramatically change human decision-making strategies. You might think that your decision-making under pressure is solid, but you’d be wrong: Studies that compare outcomes often show vast differences in decision-making quality between high-pressure and low-pressure environments. Here’s why. According to psychologist (and Nobel Prize laureate besides) Daniel Kahneman*, we humanbeans have two routes to the endgame of a decision: the fast route, labeled System 1**, and the slow route, labeled System 2***. System 1 is snappy and pretty much automatic, kicking in to respond to an external stimulus. System 1 can be the result of genetic hard-wiring (Eek! A rat! Climb up the bookcase!) or long-term, hard-practiced skillbuilding (Eek! A rogue toddler in the LZ! Braked turn!). These responses have a tendency to feel involuntary. System 2, on the other hand, has to do a bunch of library research and take up the whole damn operating system to do its work. System 2 puts together a spreadsheet and a PowerPoint presentation of the pros and cons associated with each option. It’s the farthest thing from involuntary, but it can flexibly check, modify, and override the decisions from System 1, if given the chance. Ideally, System 1 sits down with System 2 and offers a solution, and System 2 either vetoes that judgement call or gives it the blessing of reasoning. An overdose of stress, however, pulls that chance right out from under System 2. It diverts all the cognitive resources that System 2 needs for its ponderous function, subbing out instinct for conscious reasoning. In lots of cases, that works out just fine. The problem is that System 1 is simple. It’s a habit memory system. It’s rigid; it only has a hammer, so everything looks like a nail. System 2 can bring the rest of the toolkit to bear on the problem, but only if it has the chance to get there. The only way to reliably get System 2 into the room is to reduce the amount of stress you’re under. Strive to limit your variables. Example: Doing your FWJC? Awesome. Doing your FWJC at a new dropzone in suboptimal conditions? You just locked yourself in with System 1 and chucked the key out the window. If you need a more reasoned solution for a problem than the one System 1 throws out first, you’ll be out of luck. Another thing: When you’re learning new skills that overlap with skills you’ve trained deeply, be mindful that your System 1 responses are going to overwhelmingly favor what you’ve trained. (This is why swoopers have a tendency to over-toggle paragliders, and why multi-thousand-jump skydivers sometimes panic-pull off of big-wall BASE exits in the opening phase of their low-speed belly careers.) #3: The Availability Heuristic (a.k.a. The Availability-Misweighing Tendency) Because our decision-making process has its roots in the systems that sent us scrambling for food and running from better-physically-adapted beasts, those systems are built for immediacy. They’re designed to make quick assumptions and finalize a decision using that scant criteria while consuming as few resources as possible in the process. The system works like a search engine, and we’re only ever really interested in the top three results. In precisely the same way as a search-engine ranks its resultant listings, the system ranks the stuff that pops up according to the number of times it has been accessed. “Availability” is analogous to top-ranking search position. Top ranking alone creates the illusion of truth and reliability. It’s easy to forget that simple repetition got it there. Beliefs, in kind, propagate by repetition, and our sport is no exception. Examples abound. A nail-biting number of skydivers (and aircraft operators, besides) remain super-casual about seatbelts in the jump plane because it’s pretty rare that a forced landing makes the news, making them cognitively unavailable for decisions. Make no mistake: There are plenty of forced landings goin’ on. In another example, the prevalence of a certain brand of gear on your dropzone (or in the advertising you consume) will make it significantly more “available,” driving your purchase decision more than you realize. And another: A regional community’s oft-repeated mantras (Ex.: “If we didn’t jump in clouds, we’d never jump!”) are most certainly available due to repetition and not the unaltered truth. Thinking outside of availability takes work. It takes curiosity. Often, it takes the willingness to say or do something out of lockstep. How often do you visit the second page of the search results? Maybe it’s time to start. As I said before: There are loads of these cognitive heuristics that, in one way or another, bring their kerfuffle to bear on your skydiving (and, of course, your life at large). Most of these biases complicate the problem by tending to overlap and interweave, creating a series of false bottoms and fake doors in your thinking. Learning to recognize them is a good first step; the rest of the demolition work is up to you. * Daniel Kahneman, Thinking, Fast and Slow ** “Intuition” in the “stress induced deliberation-to-intuition” (SIDI) model *** “Deliberation” in the SIDI model
  2. Marketing execs love to throw around industry jargon to make themselves sound like marketing experts. Terms like ROI, target demographic, disposable income, call to action and spiral binders with graphs and charts showing positive gains look and sound legit. Don’t believe the hype. All this ‘marketing-speak’ sounds good, but the majority of marketing execs who work for broadcast, TV and print don’t understand the skydiving industry and mistakenly apply successful campaigns used for other industries to our own. Before buying in to a marketing plan, understand three major reasons why mass media ads don’t give a return: 1. A Tough Call to Action. Strong marketing plans offer a call to action prompting an individual to respond to an ad. Few ads challenge people to do something that may result in one‘s death. Though death is an unlikely result, it weighs heavily for Joe Public to actually commit to calling a DZ and making a booking. 2. Recruitment. Think about it, how many people come to a DZ alone? It happens, but it’s the exception to the rule. Students usually recruit a friend to share in the fear, anticipation and excitement of the experience. Not only does one need to spend time considering whether they should jump, but then need to recruit a friend, which takes time. 3. Disposable Income. How many of us have an extra few hundred dollars lying around? Many mass media ads for activities are more affordable than your average price for a tandem skydive. Combine the obstacles of having to consider making a jump, recruiting a friend and saving money and you’ll find that a lengthy amount of time has gone by before the phone begins to ring. Some will argue that advertising creates brand awareness and this is true, but there will only be a small percentage who see and hear an ad that follow through all of the steps to make it to your DZ. Bottom line: a poor return on investment. Most DZO’s have been happy to break even on their mass media campaigns after they’ve launched. The Affordable and Effective Approach The most effective kind of marketing harnesses the exhilaration of your current customers. Firstly, give these guests a reason to come back to make a second jump. No longer does this need to be a ‘once in a lifetime experience.’ These guests will recruit their full-retail paying friends to experience life’s greatest adventure. Secondly, equip your guests with a means to advertise your DZ utilizing social media by sharing videos, photos and check-ins. Top Five Marketing Basics Every DZ Should be Implementing Online Reservations. If you’re a DZO who says that you don’t want to miss on the personal interaction with guests while making a booking, then this is the first marketing change to be made. If someone desires to spend money with your company at two o’clock in the morning, let them! Don’t force your potential customers to spend money with you on your terms. Social Media. The biggest corporations in the world are actively engaging with people through social media. If you are putting a couple posts out here and there then you’re missing a huge opportunity that the business world has come to embrace. Creating a social media plan is necessary, should be organized and well structured. This is a legitimate and inexpensive way to market the business. Video E-mails. Embrace your customer’s enthusiasm by using a service to e-mail guests their videos. Be sure the DZ’s branding, phone number and website is included because these videos will be shared everywhere. This is an example of getting your customers to market for you. Database Collection. Updating your DZ database is a critical piece to the marketing pie. Collecting e-mail addresses will allow for broadcasting your marketing message to a clientele that knows how great you are. A professionally designed newsletter offering specials during the holidays will reap rewards to the bottom line. Surveys. How do you know your strengths and weaknesses? Allow your customers to tell you by seeking their feedback. This should never be done at the DZ ten minutes after your guests have jumped. An online survey should be sent 24 hours after a jump allowing for anonymity and comfort to provide honest insight about the experience. In order to have a finger on the pulse of the operation and understand the weakest areas of the customer experience, surveys are invaluable. Finally, the best marketing is word of mouth. Examine every interaction your guests experience with the operation from the website, cleanliness of bathrooms, presentation of the instructor, cleanliness of jumpsuits etc. and be sure to amaze your customers. Having a plane with instructors who can safely execute skydives is not enough. The details that surround the experience is just as important as the skydive to ensure your customers aren’t just happy, but thrilled with the experience.
  3. admin

    Dive with ad'oh, not Dubya

    A poll conducted by a British charity has found that more people would rather participate in a tandem skydive with Homer Simpson than with George Bush. Twenty per cent of respondents said they would trust a skydive with the daft cartoon dad, compared with eight per cent for the US president, according to the poll for the Leonard Cheshire organisation. Eighteen per cent trusted Anne Robinson, host of the BBC game show The Weakest Link. Least trusted was Charles Ingram, a former army major convicted of cheating on Who Wants to be a Millionaire? at three per cent. "Homer Simpson might not be the sharpest tool in the box, but he has a good heart - and his laughter value alone would make him an invaluable skydiving partner," said TV psychologist Gladeana McMahon. Leonard Cheshire, a disability charity, commissioned the survey of 1,000 people across Britain to find out their attitudes towards different challenges. Its new fundraising initiative, called Challenge for Change, offers individuals the opportunity to try different sports - including skydiving.
  4. Adam Martin and David Winland are here to tell you that skydiving saved their lives: from self-destructive tendencies, depression, drugs, and possibly even the emotional quicksand of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). They call it “Action Therapy”, and it’s the working title of a grassroots documentary they are creating on an iconic summer road trip to as many dropzones as possible before their money runs out. Their mission is to highlight the sport’s everyday stories of beauty and personal meaning: no high-profile stunts here, just tales of transformation. These two friends, who met through skydiving, have different but equally harrowing stories. Three and a half months after his father committed suicide, Martin decided to go skydiving. His family assumed that the grieving son had a death wish. On the contrary, the idea of taking a previously unimaginable risk was a way of pulling himself out of a self-destructive spiral. Winland, on the other hand, speaks freely about surviving childhood abuse: “Everyone has dysfunction in their families and lives, but mine was really bad. I had cigarette burns on me. There were some terrible people. Instead of getting counseling, I bottled it up and started using drugs and fighting. I’d go out and just raise hell.” Martin, 30 years old, and Winland, 38, both largely credit skydiving with their recovery. Winland, a single dad, says he was burned out and worried about his ability to sustain relationships: “When my daughter was born, that just kind of got better. But I still had that really severe issue of, I didn’t communicate well and I didn’t trust anyone. I love my daughter and she was the focus on my life, but I was still angry. Once I started jumping, I was just able to let everything go. I’m a single dad. I have custody of my daughter. I don’t know if I would have been able to do that if I was the same person I was before jumping. I got custody right as I started in the sport, and it has helped. That’s why we have the name Action Therapy. Both of us have been helped so much just by exiting that plane.” The duo hopes that sharing real stories will reach people in a dark place. “I hope someone watches our documentary and says, that kid was going through a shitty time in his life, and he did something to pull himself out. So if it helps someone get out of a bad time, whether through skydiving, or something else – go do it,” says Martin. He goes on, “My father was a medic in Vietnam, and there’s no doubt in my mind he had PTSD. But he was raised on a Montana ranch where men kept their feelings bottled up, so we never really talked about it. Maybe this could have saved my dad. Maybe if my dad had something like skydiving, he wouldn’t be gone right now.” In addition to Martin’s father’s service, Martin and Winland were deeply inspired by a meeting with Todd Love, the triple-amputee wounded warrior who has refused to let his circumstances prevent him from skydiving (as well as wrestling alligators, going white-water kayaking, and completing the challenging Spartan Race). Along the way, they hope to raise awareness and funds for the Wounded Warrior Foundation. These two newer jumpers (Martin has 230 jumps and Winland 296) have the easy banter of friends who have spent too much time in a car together already. They are an odd couple: a tattoo artist who hates golf (Winland) and a golf pro (Martin), now living and working together towards a shared dream. “Skydiving is a great equalizer, a crazy group of people,” says Martin. They can almost finish each other’s sentences, and the words of encouragement flow easily. When Martin talks about his father (“I can’t bring him back – I have to move forward in the right way”), Winland chimes in: “He’s so proud of you and your accomplishments!” And when talking about how skydiving has helped ease his fatigue with the world of golf, Martin adds, “I know it’s helped David with his tattooing, too.” The philosophy is simple: no matter how heavy the burden, skydiving will lift it. “It’s not the adrenaline rush every time,” says Martin, “It’s just fun and it puts a smile on my face, so I keep doing it.” Winland adds, “I was always quick to pull my roots up. The people I’ve met jumping feel like home.” If you want to get some Action Therapy, share your story, or just give this enthusiastic two-man team a high-five, you can find them at Skydive Chicago’s Summerfest boogie or on the last stop of their tour, the Lost Prairie boogie in Montana. Keep up with them online at the Action Therapy Facebook page. They have already visited: Skydive Arizona, Skydive San Diego, Tsunami Skydivers (Oceanside), Skydive Perris, Skydive Elsinore, Monterey Bay, Bay Area Skydiving in Byron, Skydance Skydiving in Davis, Sacramento, Lodi, and Oregon.
  5. admin

    Man Parachutes From Eiffel Tower

    PARIS –– A French parachutist was detained after he jumped from the top of the Eiffel Tower to win a bet, police said Monday. The 38-year-old Paris man was arrested early Sunday. He had jumped from the third and uppermost floor around 1 a.m., sailing down to land smoothly near the foot of the tower. He was immediately detained by police. The parachutist, whose identity was not revealed, entered the tower while it was open to the public and hid after closing time. Police had not decided whether to press charges. The third floor of the Eiffel Tower is 940 feet above the ground. The total height of Paris' best-known landmark is 1,056 feet.
  6. admin

    10 skydiving myths and facts

    10 Skydiving myths and facts 1. Talking while falling? So, unlike many blockbuster films like Point Break, you cannot hear anything while in free fall. During a tandem skydive the wind travelling past you at over 100mph makes it pretty much impossible for you to hear your buddy! 2. Parachute deployment What happens when you deploy your chute? Do you go back up? No. No you do not. What you are seeing in many skydiving videos, is all an illusion. What actually happens is the cameraman continues falling when the other opens their chute, giving the impression that you go back up. 3. Most skydives in a single day The current record stands at 640 jumps. Jay Stokes of Greensburg jumped on average every 2.25 minutes, using 3 planes to get up to the right height quicker. 4. Youngest ever skydiver The youngest person to have skydived is four year old Toni Stadler from South Africa. Toni was strapped to Tandem Master Paul Lutge's chest as they leaped out of their single-engine plane 10,000 feet above the earth, free falling for half a minute before opening the parachute. 5. Oldest ever skydiver Frank Moody has the record for the oldest skydiver, at age 101, he made a tandem jump on 6 June 2004 in Australia. 6. Will opening the parachute hurt?Skydiving myths facts Many people think that when they open a parachute that the sudden 'jolt' from falling at 120mph to just 5mph will cause some kind of injury. However, modern parachute designs mean that the canopy opens gradually and the fall in speed is also gradual meaning you experience little or no jolt at all. 7. Fastest ever free-fall Felix Baumgartner holds this record from his Red Bull Stratos space jump. He reached a speed of Mach 1.24 or 834mph, breaking the sound barrier! 8. Most skydives Don Kellner Has jumped over 41,000 times in his life! Making him the most experienced skydiver, EVER. 9. Biggest formation skydive The current world record for the largest formation skydive is 400 people, set in Thailand in 2006. They held the formation for just over 4 seconds. 10. Skydiving is safe! Approximately 3.1 million skydives occur annually. Out of this, the average number of fatalities is around 55 which is less than 1% of the jumps that take place! For more skydiving updates and information, follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook.
  7. Be Aware of the Risks Choose a method of training Find a Drop Zone Set a date and jump! Get licensed Depending on how much time you have, how much cash you've got to spend, and how strong your nerves are, you have three options for what method of skydiving you'll use for your first jump: tandem, static line, and accelerated freefall (AFF). These methods vary in that some are designed to give you a quick experience and introduction to skydiving while others start with full blown first jump courses that will set you on the path to becoming a certified skydiver. Consider your options. Think about the experience you'll get out of each of these and your reasons for doing it. Then pick one. Whichever method you choose to expose yourself to the sport we know you won't regret it. You'll have fun, broaden your horizons and shift your boundaries. Tandem Jumping Tandem jumps are a very popular way to make your first jump. They allow the curious potential student to experience, first-hand, the thrills of skydiving without the stress of AFF or SL progression. Most dropzones are set up to offer tandem skydives under two different scenarios: the "one-time fun jump"", or as part of a hybrid training method sometimes called "tandem progression." The former only requires about 30 minutes of ground preparation; the latter is generally completed after a fairly standard First Jump Course (FJC) which can last up to four hours or more. Tandem jumping, by definition, consists of an experienced jumper called a "Tandem Master" or "Tandem Instructor" and the passenger. The tandem master rides on the back and wears an extra-large parachute system capable of carrying weights of up to 500 pounds; easily able to safely suspend two people. The passenger (or tandem progression student) wears a specially designed harness that attaches in four points to the front of the tandem master. A tandem freefall generally lasts between 45 and 60 seconds, followed by a four minute canopy ride to the ground. Tandem jumping provides an obvious advantage for the adventurous spirit who cannot adequately meet the physical or proficiency requirements for the S/L or AFF jumps. By relying on Tandem Master's skills, they will still be able to experience the thrill of skydiving. It should be noted that, in the United States, tandem jumping is conducted in two different modes: as a "ride" by manufacturer-rated Tandem Masters, and as bona fide skydiving instruction by USPA Tandem Instructors who also hold the manufacturers’ ratings. Only USPA-rated Tandem Instructors can teach tandem as a part of hybrid skydiving instruction. In most of these hybrid courses, a student makes three or four tandems and then finishes training starting with a level four AFF jump. The utility of this hybrid method is that there is never more than one instructor involved in any one skydive, thus freeing up staff to more quickly train the student load. Jumps made with a USPA-rated Tandem Instructor count towards student proficiency, those made with a non-USPA rated Tandem master do not. Tandem jumps range in cost from as low as $70 dollars (US) to over $300, so it’s best to shop around for the best deal. Static Line Training (S/L) This method has evolved over the last ~30 years from its military origins into a successful method for training sport parachutists. The student gets 4-5 hours of ground training and is then taken to an altitude of about 3000 feet for the jump. The jump itself consists of a simple "poised" exit from the strut of a small single engine Cessna aircraft, or the side door of a larger aircraft. As the student falls away from the plane, the main canopy is deployed by a "static line" attached to the aircraft. The student will experience about two to three seconds of falling as the parachute opens. Subsequent S/L jumps require about 15 minutes of preparation. After 2 good static line jumps, the student will be trained to pull their ripcord for themselves. The student then does 3 more static line jumps where they demonstrate this ability by pulling a dummy ripcord as they leave the plane (the static line is still initiating the deployment). The student is then cleared to do their first actual free fall. The first freefall is a "clear & pull", where the student initiates the pull sequence immediately upon leaving the aircraft. Next is a 10 second delay jump. Subsequent jumps go to progressively higher altitudes with longer delays. After 25 free falls, and meeting certain other basic requirements, the student receives their A license and is cleared off student status. Accelerated Free Fall (AFF) The AFF program was instituted in 1982 as an "accelerated" learning process as compared to the traditional static line progression. The AFF program will give you a true taste of modern sport skydiving. The ground training is a bit more extensive than S/L (~5 hours) because the student will be doing a 50 second freefall (that's right!) on his/her very first jump. The student will exit the aircraft at 10,000-12,000 feet along with two AFF instructors who will assist the student during freefall. The instructors maintain grips on the student from the moment they leave the aircraft until opening, assisting the student as necessary to fall stable, perform practice ripcord pulls, monitor altitude, etc. The student then pulls his/her own ripcord at about 4000 ft. The official USPA AFF program is a 7 level program. Levels 1, 2, & 3 require two AFF instructors to accompany the student. These dives concentrate on teaching basic safety skills such as altitude awareness, body position, stability during freefall and during the pull sequence, and most importantly- successful ripcord pull. On level 3, the instructors will release the student in freefall for the first time, to fly completely on their own. Levels 4, 5, 6, & 7 require only one freefall JM (less $$) and teach the student air skills such as turns, forward movement and docking on other people, moving forward, "superman" exits from the plane, etc. Each AFF level is designed to take one jump, and requires about 45 minutes of training. After successfully performing the objectives of each level, the student moves on to the next level. After graduating Level 7, the student enters a less structured educational program called the Integrated Student Program, where they jump on their own and with coaches to improve their skills and learn more advanced maneuvers. Once they reach 25 jumps they are ready for their A license. Once they have their A license they are free to jump however they choose, within the dictates of good judgment and the guidelines of the USPA’s Basic Safety Recommendations (BSR’s.) Prev: Be aware of the risks Next: Find a Dropzone Prev: Be aware of the risks Next: Find a Dropzone More related information: The Student Skydiver's Handbook Sample: AFF Course Material Safey and Training Articles Safety and Training Forum Skydiving Glossary
  8. How to Set Yourself Up For Success Image by Joel Strickland It’s time. You’re ready. You’re going to point your belly button away from the ground when you fall out of a plane. YES. You’re gonna point it at the horizon. You’re going to point it at other people. You’re going to sit around and look at it while you slide backward. You’re going to take your belly button on an amazing adventure. But wait: is your container ready to join you on this journey? The discipline you’re about to enter -- freeflying -- makes more demands of your skydiving rig than belly flying does. Now that you’re going to start moving around at a full range of angles in the relative wind, you need freefly-friendly equipment. But what is a freefly-friendly skydiving rig? The simple answer is that it’s a skydiving container, with all of its flapping bits under control, that fits close to your body. To get a little more specific, we’ll look at a few examples of non-freefly-friendly rigs -- and we’ll see how to get them fixed. The “Reclining Chair” What’s the difference between making a great skydive and hanging out in a poolside sun lounger? Uh...everything. If your leg straps are slippy, your sitfly might end up looking like a lounge-fly -- and the resultant harness ride-up might put your chest strap into your throat. SO importantly, this look is also humorously unflattering in photos and videos. This might be the easiest issue to fix -- it could be a simple issue of improper strap adjustment. Before you send your kit in for surgery, see your S&TA;, rigger or instructor to check your current gear-up method and adjust accordingly. If it’s truly an issue of fit, your rigger can amend your harness, leg pads and leg straps accordingly -- and add one of those fetching little butt-bungees to keep your leg straps managed. The “Incredible Floating Container” If the laterals on your rig are too long or the leg straps are too loose, you’re going to have one of these -- a container that floats away from your freefallin’ body while air rushes in to separate the two of you. The fixes for the Incredible Floating Container are similar to the Reclining Chair -- first, check with an expert to make sure you’re kitting up correctly; then, if the problem persists, send it to the loft. The “Flippy Floppy Flapper” Guess what? Your pin flaps -- and riser-cover flaps -- love to flap. They just love it. They’ll use any excuse to get out there and do their name proud. To keep the flaps under wraps, you’ll need to look closely at the condition of each component. Make sure the stiffeners aren’t broken, warped or loose. Check for weak Velcro and/or magnetic closures. If you find something, don’t despair: Your rigger can revitalize wiggly tuck tabs, replace ragged-out Velcro, install (or replace) magnets and/or repack your reserve to adjust where its bulk places pressure on the system. The “Premature Popper” If your BOC doesn’t hug your pilot chute snugly enough, the multi-orientational pressures of freeflying make it much more likely that said pilot chute is going to make an early escape. Even if you’ve gone ahead and bought yourself one of those fancy low-profile freefly puds, that’s not going to save you if your BOC is loose, holey or inelastic. Note: if you’ve recently downsized in addition to switching up your discipline, be extra careful -- the BOC system relies on a snug, correctly-fitting main in the tray. Another pop-preventer: maintaining a frayless closing loop of the proper length. The “Put Me In, Coach” The Put Me In, Coach is another variation on the Premature Popper. It’s an even less-fun one: an instantaneous reserve ride without the screamy good time of a malfunctioning main. It happens when the Velcro on your handles is weak, or when you bumble into a limb or foot that grabs your D-ring. Make sure that the Velcro on your handles is strong and mated completely on both sides. It should take a moderate tug to separate the handle from its cozy home. Also: it’s not necessary to replace your D-ring with a pillow when you transition to freefly, but there’s a reason it’s so commonly done: that capital D is a big, shiny, shoe-sized liability. The “Velveteen Rabbit” If your rigger tells you that your rig is impossible to freeflyify, you may be the soon-to-be-ex owner of a Velveteen Rabbit rig. Don’t be too sad: it has probably been very loved for very many years, and it’s ready for retirement. Give it a viking funeral if you want, but don’t insist on flying it -- let it go. Making the hard choice to get rid of it might just save you -- and your wandering belly button -- a lot of unnecessary misery.
  9. The principles of freefall flight are quite simple; after all, you are dealing with just two things: your airfoil (body) and the wind. In a perfect, relaxed arch, or box man, you will fall straight down at a constant rate. To an observer falling along side, you appear stationary. You only seem to be falling relative to someone not in freefall, such as an observer in the airplane or on the ground. The box man is the neutral freefall position from which all maneuvers are carried out. Relative to a stationary observer, by altering your body position you can turn in place, move up and down, backwards and forwards, or sideways. You can even turn upside down or fly standing up. In fact, no one really knows the limits of body flying yet! From the box position you can easily initiate turns, forward, backward, and sideways movement, and changes in fall rate. From the side, the body presents a continuous smooth curve to the wind. The head is up, the arms higher thanthe body, and the legs are bent at a 45-degree angle, leaving the lower leg slightly extended into the wind. From above, the elbows are straight out from the shoulders and the hands are at least as far out as the elbows. The knees are slightly spead so that the feet are as wide apart as the elbows. Seen from the front, there is a smooth curve from side to side with the hips at the lowest point. Note that head, shoulders, and knees are all held high relative to the hips and chest. The basic moves are well understood. The most commonly used maneuvers are turns, forward and backward movement, and faster or slower falling. All are accomplished by changing the flow of air around your body. If you think of your box man as being balanced on his center in a neutral position, all he has to do to turn left is deflect more air off his right arm than his left. This is done by simply banking like an airplane - left arm down slightly, right arm up in proportion. The turn will continue until he resumes the neutral position. Lowering one knee relative to the other accomplishes the same thing. That's why an unintentional turn can often be stopped by assuming a neutral position and then giving a little "legs out" to increase awareness and balance the legs. Turns are also based on deflection of air. In the neutral position, equal amounts of air spill off both sides of the body. To turn right, our box man banks his arms, just as an airplane does in a turn. More air flows off the left side, creating a right turn. Note that the position of the arms relative to each other does not change; both arms tilt as a unit. The rest of the body remains neutral. To stop the turn, simply return to neutral. Forward motion works on the same principle of deflection. To deflect more air to the rear, resulting in forward motion, bring your arms back a few inches and extend your legs. This tips your body slightly head down, air rushes back off your torso and legs, and you slide forward. The two elements combine to create forward movement. Naturally the opposite motion - arms out and legs in - will make you backslide. Now think about how to go up and down. Everyone knows that given the same power, a streamlined vehicle can go faster than one that isn't. It slips through the air easier, just as a canoe knifes through the water more easily than a barge. So to speed up, you simply arch more, letting air slip off easily. Flatten out, or lower your knees and elbows, and you will fall slower. Incidentally, the faster you fall the more stable you are because your center of gravity is further below your control surfaces (arms and legs.) Test yourself: 1. If you reverse your arch, what will happen? Is this position stable? 2. Think about forward and backward motion. What would you do to fly sideways? Proceed to Chapter 4 (The Skydiving Universe)
  10. A Grande Prairie man is suing the operators of the Edmonton Skydive Centre for $5.4 million over a jump that went wrong and left him a quadriplegic. In a lawsuit filed with the Court of Queen's Bench, John Minue says he took parachuting lessons through the centre in September 1999 which included basic training in jumping from an airplane and landing. His instructor told him that to land safely he had to "flare," a procedure that controls the speed of the parachute as it approaches the ground, according to the statement of claim. The instructor was supposed to let him know over a one-way radio when to flare, the lawsuit says. It alleges that once Minue jumped, he was directed away from the landing zone to a field, but communication ceased before he was told to flare. Minue claims he landed at high speed and out of control, making him tumble forward when he hit the ground. This caused serious injuries, including spinal-cord damage that resulted in quadriplegia, fractured neck vertebrae, a broken thigh and a dislocated shoulder, the lawsuit says. The document says that as a result of his injuries, he will need care and supervision from an attendant for the rest of his life. It doesn't state what his current state of health is, however. Minue contends his instructor and Para Aerosvc Inc., which operates the centre, were negligent for not telling him he might need to flare on his own if radio communication failed. They also breached their agreement to provide adequate training for a beginner to learn to skydive safely, the lawsuit says. Among other problems, he claims he wasn't properly instructed in landing procedures and shouldn't have been directed to an area where it was harder to land. Statements of claim contain allegations which haven't been proven in court. No statement of defence has been filed in the case.
  11. admin

    First jet powered Birdman flight

    Tuesday 25th October 2005 - It was an untypical crisp October morning in Lahti, Finland when Visa Parviainen and the BirdMan Rocket Team attempted to make the first ever jet powered, birdman flight. The team set up camp in a small park in downtown Lahti, to prepare for the jump. The locals appeared to be not-at-all phased by the fact that some person was igniting a jet engine in their tranquil little park while they were walking their house pets. The launch platform selected for the day was provided by the famous Finnish Balloon Bros, who graciously offered their services for this historic event. Visa had designed a unique launch platform to hang outside the balloon to avoid 'cooking' the balloon occupants during the ascent to altitude from the exhaust gases of the jet engines. Once Visa had adorned his birdman suit and rig on the ground, it was time to test the rocket boots. Each jet engine provides around 16kgs of thrust, and is primed with a mix of butane and propane. Once ignited, the engines rely on a steady supply of kerosene (JetA1) fuel. This fuel burns at around the rate of 0.5 litres per minute, on full power, for each jet engine. The combined thrust of both power plants was calculated to be enough to sustain level human flight in a wing suit for an average weight skydiver. Once all the gear checks were made and rigorous safety procedures executed on the ground, it was time to inflate the hot air balloon for the ascent. The Balloon Bros provided a smooth and relaxing ride up to altitude over the beautiful vista of the humble town of Lahti in middle Finland. The Balloon ascended over the unpopulated areas around the lakes and forests of rural Lahti, visa primed and started the rockets prior to exit. After warming up the engines in the cold surrounding atmosphere, it was time to make the attempt. The high pitch whine of the jet engines sounded surreal in the calm stillness of the hot air balloon. Tensions were high that this attempt would be a successful one. It was time to go, as the fuel was rapidly running out, Visa gave the all clear sign (a quick grin) at around 2300m (7000ft) before 'edging' off the platform into the first rocket-powered-human-flight attempt. The exit was stable and on-heading, after attaining normal bird-man flight, Visa requested full power from the engines, which responded smoothly in horizontal acceleration. After checking the altimeter several times, it was apparent that there was no appreciable loss in altitude for this period of time. Visa next changed his angle of attack by redirected the thrust and changing his body position to attain vertical climb. This caused a loss in horizontal speed, and stalled (the body?). Recovering from the stall was made easy because of the agility of the human body to change flight profile easily. A few more attempts at this exercise yielded the same result. Pretty soon it became apparent that fuel consumption would soon terminate the level flight portion of the jump. Visa simply rode out the rest of the jump in level flight following the highway until the fuel ran out. Visa then continued in normal bird-man flight until deployment altitude. The deployment sequence was normal, and the landing was uneventful. The jump has proven empirically that level human flight is possible and sustainable using the combination of jet engines and a bird-man suit. The strength required to control level flight was relatively easy, and controlling the direction of flight feels surprisingly natural. The duration of flight is simply a factor of the consumption of fuel of the engine(s) powering the flight. Visa Parviainen has proven that with a little innovation, determination and courage it has been possible to realise the dream of uninhibited human flying.
  12. There are lots of things you can learn about on the Dropzone that will aid you understanding of how all the elements involved in a skydiving operation fit together to make things work. Even just focusing on the assessment of the jumping conditions demonstrates several moving parts that all need to operate effectively to function as a whole. Remember, there are things that you must know, but also things that you can know that will make you better and safer. A helpful way to evolve your knowledge is try to see things from the perspective of others. What Other People Know: Chief Instructor: Whoever is employed to be in charge of the daily dropzone proceedings will not only be generally very well experienced but likely also highly practised under the conditions of that particular location. You can learn much from this person. When things are busy they will likely juggling many things in their head to keep everything running smoothly, but when quietness descends seek them out and pick their brains as they probably have many, many excellent stories to share - each with an important lesson behind it. The Pilot: To become a pilot you have to read books and do tests and stuff. A lot of this is about the weather. While you are trying to gauge the strength of the wind outside by listening intently from under a duvet - a good pilot will be up checking many sources of information to be able to perform their job properly. The information analysed by pilots is a very good place to head if you are keen to take your knowledge about flying conditions to the next level. The Jump Master: The person who is in charge of the load needs to be very aware of what is going on both on the ground and in the air. Being tasked as jump master is a serious job that happens relatively early in your skydiving career and while easy to perform with the correct level of awareness carries serious responsibility when there is some kind of incident. Are you confident enough in your decision to take the plane around or bring it back down after spotting a big mess at altitude and have the courage of your convictions when faced with an angry dropzone owner? Being all over the details will make you look like a goddam pro when anyone starts quizzing you. What were the winds doing at the bottom and the top? Which way was it going? What kind of clouds were they and at what altitude? The Other Skydivers: Does everyone on the plane know what they need to know? Are the people you are jumping with or those in the group next to you clueless idiots? Should you worry about them? Who is going to tell them the correct information? You do it - for your own benefit as much as theirs. Also worth considering is the perspective of the tandem masters and the camera pool - they keep the dropzone going and thus operate day-in and day-out under all conditions and circumstances. If the plane goes up then almost certainly some of them are on it and their collective knowledge is well worth mining for information about functioning at the fringes of what is possible or acceptable on your particular dropzone. Conclusion: Applying some time and effort to learn more about weather conditions will create a return on investment with your ability to judge further out if jumps are going to happen or not. Skydiving is an expensive hobby and happens quickly - so everything you can do to maximise your effectiveness on each jump helps, and understanding more about the weather will make you a better, safer skydiver. Learning about all of the conditions you will be faced with will not only facilitate making good calls when you are jumping, it will also help you to get more out of your jumps when they happen. Nobody is right all the time but the more educated you are the better your guesses will be - and as such you ability to decide wether to drag your ass out of bed before dawn and get down to the dropzone or do something else with your day. Also try remember that there is nothing to be gained from being angry at the sky - it does not give a shit. Also, it is probably healthy to do something else now and then - if your life is a constant battle with the weather you might well end up batshit crazy and living in a caravan on the airfield with mushrooms growing in your hair. On a dropzone you are surrounded with ways to learn, and the first time you apply some extra-curricular knowledge in a practical way is immensely satisfying. Every now and then you come across someone who seems to have magical powers when it comes to predicting what the sky is going to do - but they are most likely just a regular human that knows things.
  13. A plane crash near Topolów, Poland this weekend killed eleven people and left one seriously injured. Shortly after departure from Skydive Rudniki, given the statements of witnesses on the ground- it would appear that the plane began experiencing problems, with reports of strange noises coming from the engines. The twin engine Piper Navajo aircraft was carrying 11 skydivers and the pilot when it crashed. There were conflicting reports with regards to the final moments before the crash, with some saying the plane caught fire on impact, while other witnesses were quoted saying that the plane caught fire moments before impact, when it was seen flying close to the houses. Another quote from a witness suggested that some of the skydivers may have tried to exit the aircraft prior to impact. At the time of publication, there was no official cause of the accident. Though some news reports indicated that the plane was over capacity.
  14. Note: This article refers to skydiving and regulations in the United States. Refer to your country's civil aviation regulations for how to do this safely and legally in your country. Disclaimer: The interpretations of the regulations referenced in this article are that of the authors. Abbreviations and acronyms: FAA: Federal Aviation Administration CFR: Code of Federal Regulations (new designation) FAR: Federal Aviation Regulations (old designation, still often used.) FSDO: Flight Standards District Office Important web pages and documents: FAA web site: www.faa.gov FAR 105, Parachute Operations. Can be found in Section 9 of the USPA Skydiver's Information Manual (SIM) Advisory Circular AC-105-2C, Sport Parachute Jumping. Can be found in Section 9 of the USPA Skydiver's Information Manual (SIM) FAA Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM) Why we need this information It seems like every skydiver eventually wants to skydive into an area or event that is not at a regular dropzone or skydiving center at an airport. And no wonder, because it is fun, exciting, and a challenge, plus the scenery is sometimes much better. Imagine jumping at your family reunion into a huge field out on your uncle's farm in the country, and bringing along some of your skydiving buddies. You can't get much better than that. But it does take a bit of preparation to do jumps like this safely and legally. Unfortunately, nearly every time a skydiver asks about how to go about jumping somewhere other than their normal dropzone, they will get a number of answers that are incorrect or incomplete. Why the confusion? Well, one reason is because the regulations associated with parachute jumping, FAR 105, changed in 2001. Many of us who have been skydiving a long time tend to remember the wording of FAR 105 before this change. Jumping into the various type of airspace For a detailed explanation of the airspace in the U.S, you can refer to official FAA airspace documents. There are also many tutorials on airspace, as pilots must learn about airspace classifications when learning to fly. Related Section: FAR 105.25, Parachute operations in designated airspace (a) No person may conduct a parachute operation, and no pilot in command of an aircraft may allow a parachute operation to be conducted from that aircraft— (1) Over or within a restricted area or prohibited area unless the controlling agency of the area concerned has authorized that parachute operation; (2) Within or into a Class A, B, C, D airspace area without, or in violation of the requirements of, an air traffic control authorization issued under this section; (3) Except as provided in paragraph (c) and (d) of this section, within or into Class E or G airspace area unless the air traffic control facility having jurisdiction over the airspace at the first intended exit altitude is notified of the parachute operation no earlier than 24 hours before or no later than 1 hour before the parachute operation begins. Paragraph 1 refers to two special types of airspace. It is unlikely that you will ever want or need to jump into that airspace unless you are with the military or with an exhibition skydiving team. It includes airspace around government and military buildings and installations. Paragraph 2 refers to airspace into which you must get authorization to jump. It includes controlled airspace up to, and above altitudes of Flight Level 180 (18,000 feet MSL) and above, airports with operating control towers and/or radar approach control. It is possible that you might want to jump into such areas and airports. Paragraph 3 refers to airspace that is the most likely type of airspace that you will encounter in rural areas or away from larger cities. "Giving notification of the parachute jump to Air Traffic Control" is the key information in this paragraph. Advance "notification" to Air Traffic Control is not required when jumping at a location in Class A, B, C, or D Airspace because an advance “authorization” is required from the respective controlling agency. The requirements for communication with Air Traffic Control during the jump are specified in FAR 105.13, Radio equipment and use requirements. NOTAMs A Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) is defined as "time-critical aeronautical information, which is of either a temporary nature or not sufficiently known in advance to permit publication on aeronautical charts or in other operational publications." NOTAMs are filed (by phone or online) with an FAA "Flight Service Station". A Flight Service Station is an FAA briefing facility that provides information and services to pilots, for example, providing information related to flight planning. If a parachute jump is planned at a location where jumping is not normally done, filing a NOTAM for this activity will increase the safety of flight in the vicinity, because pilots that look up the NOTAMS during their flight planning will know about the planned jumping. NOTAMS for parachute jumping are not normally required, but are a good idea, especially if you will be making a number of jumps on a particular day. Filing a NOTAM (with a Flight Service Station) is not sufficient for "giving notification" as described in FAR 105.25 paragraph 3. Notification needs to be made with the Air Traffic Control facility of jurisdiction, in most cases an Approach Control Facility or an Air Traffic Control Center. Although the phone numbers for these facilities can be found in various locations they can usually be obtained by contacting the Flight Service Station (FSS) at 800-WX-BRIEF (800-992-7433). Here is where the confusion lies The following is from the 1997 version of FAR 105. Sec. 105.23, Jumps in or into other airspace (a) No person may make a parachute jump, and no pilot in command of an aircraft may allow a parachute jump to be made from that aircraft, in or into airspace unless the nearest FAA air traffic control facility or FAA flight service station was notified of that jump at least 1 hour before the jump is to be made, but not more than 24 hours before the jumping is to be completed, and the notice contained the information prescribed in Sec. 105.25(a). Notice that "notification" is required, but that back then this notification could have been given to the nearest Air Traffic Control facility or to a Flight Service Station. Most of the time the notification was given to Flight Service, because pilots were used to contacting Flight Service while planning flights, and because contacting flight service by phone required only remembering a single nationwide phone number. Contacting the "nearest" air traffic control facility or the facility with "jurisdiction" required more research. It is likely that back then, when notification was given to Flight Service about a parachute jump, that Flight Service personnel simply referred to the "notification" as a NOTAM, thereby perpetuating the misconception that a NOTAM was being filed, or even that it was required. Jumping at another airport (where skydiving is not normally done) Related regulation: FAR 105.23, Parachute operations over or onto airports (b) For airports without an operating control tower, prior approval has been obtained from the management of the airport to conduct parachute operations over or on that airport. There are additional requirements for jumping at an airport with a control tower, but paragraph (b) is the important part for when you want to make a jump at a small airport. You must have the approval of airport management. The FAA changed it from “manager” to “management” at some point in the past, presumably, to require permission from the Airport Board, City Authority, etc, to preclude a single “Manager” from giving permission where a larger body actually has control. Certainly, most private airports would only have a “manager” but proceed with caution when receiving approval from an “airport manager” at a public airport. For a number of reasons it would be much better to have written approval from the actual airport management. Advance "notification" to Air Traffic Control is not required when jumping at an airport in Class A, B, C, or D Airspace because an advance “authorization” is required from the respective controlling agency. The requirements for communication with Air Traffic Control during the jump are specified in FAR 105.13, Radio equipment and use requirements. Demo (Exhibition) Jumps Related regulation: FAR 105.21, Parachute operations over or into a congested area or an open-air assembly of persons (a) No person may conduct a parachute operation, and no pilot in command of an aircraft may allow a parachute operation to be conducted from that aircraft, over or into a congested area of a city, town, or settlement, or an open-air assembly of persons unless a certificate of authorization for that parachute operation has been issued under this section. What constitutes a "congested area" or an "open-air assembly"? Well, now we are getting into the interpretation of the regulations. Parts of Advisory Circular AC-105 were written specifically to cover these questions, but there is still a bit of interpretation to do, and the FAA may interpret a particular landing area differently that you might. If you are jumping into an event like an air show, much of this documentation may already have been taken care of by the organizers, who may have simply added "skydivers" to the show's performers, but you would of course need to check with the organizers to be sure. The FAA will usually require that a "Certificate of Waiver or Authorization" (COA) be obtained for most exhibition jumps of this type, which will require that a FAA Form 7711-2, "Application for Certificate of Waiver or Authorization", be submitted. This application may need to be submitted in advance of the planned parachute jump(s), because the FAA has ten days in which to respond to the request. The Certification of Waiver or Authorization that you receive in response to your request will specify the conditions and limitations of the jump. These conditions may include the requirements that you give notification to Air Traffic Control of the jump and/or file a NOTAM. Either or both may be specified. Note: the completed, original COA is usually required to be on board the aircraft at the time of jump operations. The requirements for communication with Air Traffic Control during the jump will exist as usual, plus, Air Traffic Control radio frequencies and other procedures may be specified in detail in the COA. Note: This section of this article is not intended as a tutorial on organizing exhibition jumps, but is included mainly to compare the regulations associated with exhibition jumps with those of jumping into other areas. The best source of information about exhibition jumps would be a jumper that has organized exhibition jumps in your particular FAA region and has worked with that region's FSDO. The USPA Skydivers Information Manual (SIM) also contains a section "Exhibition Jumping and Rating". Jumping at the family reunion So the bottom line question becomes, “How do I legally jump into my family reunion on my uncle's farm out in the country?” First of all, make sure that everyone jumping into the area is qualified and skilled enough to safely do so. If you are a USPA member, please realize that you must still follow the BSR’s whether you are jumping at a USPA Group Member DZ, a non-Group Member DZ, or into your uncle’s farm. The BSR’s apply to each individual member regardless of where they make the jump, for example, the landing area requirements. Make sure it is really “out in the country” (Class E or G airspace.) A pilot will help you determine that if you do not know how to read aviation maps. If it is close to a town you will need to determine whether it is really an “uncongested “ area, and this includes both the landing area on the farm, and the place you will be exiting. This means not over a subdivision and not over a school. The FAA will always err on the conservative side when determining if an area is congested, so you will want to be conservative too. Advisory Circular AC-105 includes guidance on this. It is suggested that you not contact your local FSDO. Simply providing the required "notification" should be sufficient, assuming that the airspace is Class E or G. Provide notification as required by FAR 105.25. This notification will usually be to a “Center” or Approach Control facility. As the facility may not be one that routinely receives such notification, it may be helpful to have a copy of FAR 105.25 in hand so that you can read it to the individual if they are not familiar with it. Always be polite but remember that you are giving a notification, not asking for permission. Make sure the pilot knows to communicate as required by FAR 105.13. Look for other air traffic as usual while spotting. Jump and have fun!
  15. admin

    Breast by far

    Cup a load of this, girls! Forget the Wonderbra, here comes the no-blunder bra. Gorgeous TV presenter Gabrielle Richens shows off her curves in a futuristic creation which promises to keep a firm grip on ample bosoms at very high speeds. Designer Louise Cain, a keen skydiver, came up with the idea after seeing what effect the extreme sport had on well-endowed girls' assets. The G-Force resistant bra uses shock-absorbing springs and hydraulics in its high-tech cups to prevent bounce. It will also leave breasts the pairfect shape at any angle - even upside down. Louise - who unveiled her prototype in London recently - said: "Skydiving does the most unflattering things to your chest. When I was pregnant my breasts ballooned to a double F but I still did a lot of sports. It left me wishing for something that would keep them under control. "I also have a couple of large-breasted friends and one said after a night out clubbing, she was so painful from all the jumping around." The 36-year-old, of Catford, south London, took inspiration from hit PlayStation 2 game WipEout, an anti-gravity racing simulation, and aimed to create a bra that responded to movement but also looked good. She added: "Every way you move, the springs and hydraulics work together to readjust and keep the bra's shape. We've had very positive feedback from those who have worn it. They couldn't believe it at first." Sexy Gabrielle, 26, who presented Channel 5's Desert Forges and modelled for Asda, agreed. She even hailed it as the bust thing to happen for women since push-up bras. The stunner said: "It feels fantastic and is incredibly comfortable. It gives great cleavage and is the type of bra you can where for sport because it keeps everything well contained. "Push-up bras are actually quite uncomfortable and this is definitely an improvement." Louise is now looking for support from lingerie manufacturers to get her sexy number out in front of shoppers. Two versions are planned, one for clubbing and one for sport. But she hopes it will also prove a winner with female astronauts as it promises a firm round breast in any atmospheric pressure. And if Gabrielle's planets are anything to go by, it's sure to send sales rocketing. ~ The Sun
  16. admin

    The Great Book of BASE - Review

    Base jumping is something that I’ve not had a desire to do, so it was understandable that when I was presented with the opportunity to read and review "The Great Book of Base" that I did so with some level of skepticism. You see, I've always had preconceived ideas about BASE jumpers, their discipline, and the personality types involved - ironic when you consider the very notion, a pet peeve of mine, general skydivers have regarding canopy piloting/swooping. "The Great Book of BASE" helped turn that thinking on its head. The Author, along with oftentimes anecdotal experiences with other BASE jumpers, paints a vivid yet methodical view of the world of BASE jumping. The book itself begins with a rather heavy handed push warning readers of the dangers of BASE jumping. Something, that while necessary, wears a little bit on the reader at times. It was the only part of the book I found a little difficult to get through - not because the warnings were invalid, or not to be heeded, but rather it felt like the Author was attempting to offset any potential future litigation. There is something about this book that should be clearly stated: This book will NOT teach you how to BASE jump, nor is it the intention of the Author for it to do so. What the book does do, and in my opinion does very well, is give the reader a solid sense of a path to follow in the BASE world. It's a guide and a reference book, something you read multiple times in your BASE career and refresh the things you need to. For newer (and perhaps even some seasoned jumpers) the book discusses the myriad of things a BASE jumper should consider from etiquette (site burning, etc), mentorship (something the Author is a avid believer in), various types of BASE jumps and locations, detailed explanations on various weather phenomena that can affect the outcome of the BASE jump, and even the types of skydives a future, or current, BASE jumper should spend time working on to give them the greatest chance of having a positive BASE experience. Also noteworthy is how the Author takes some time to dispel myths, largely prevalent in the regular skydiving community, about altitude BASE jumps. All the subjects mentioned above are discussed in depth, but not so much so that they become a chore to read. Quite the opposite in fact, and the Author does a spectacular job of keeping the reader engaged in the topic being discussed - not always an easy task when discussing technical topics. The book is well edited and written. The only real complaint I had about the layout, and it's a minor quibble, is that the Author refers to DBS (Deep Brake Setting) at one point, but doesn’t actually explain the acronym until a later chapter. As a non-BASE jumper, this term had me scratching my head until it was later explained. So what does this mean for you, the reader? Well while I still have the opinion that BASE jumping is not for me I have a newfound respect for participants in the sport. Additionally I can say that if I ever were to reconsider my BASE jumping career, I would certainly have this book on my bookshelf and use it for guidance on the next steps to take. I definitely will be recommending to some of the local BASE jumpers I know. Safe BASE jumps. Overall: Highly recommended
  17. admin

    Skydivers win $600,000 for crash

    A SKYDIVING school has been ordered to pay two of its students more than $600,000 in damages after they collided during a jump. Sydney Skydivers Pty Ltd was found to have breached its duty of care and ordered to pay damages for injuries and loss of work suffered by the men. The NSW District Court heard that Christopher Charles Morton, 33, was making his first jump and Michael Richard Warren, 26, his third when the collision occurred on December 14, 1997. They had both attended a training day before they jumped out of the plane near Picton, south-west of Sydney. The instructors were the first to reach the target area, marked by a large cross. They were then to direct the movements of their students using large arrows and batons. When Mr Morton and Mr Warren were about 30 metres above the ground and had their parachutes open, they collided and fell to the ground "with considerable force", Acting Judge Clifford Boyd-Boland said today. He blamed the collision on one of the instructors, Helen Perry, saying her sense of direction was confused when she landed just 90 seconds before the students. She therefore pointed her student, Mr Morton, in the wrong direction, Justice Boyd-Boland said. "I find it was the conduct of Perry and the confusion she had, surrounding the direction she was giving, which led to the collision," he said. He rejected a suggestion that Mr Morton had failed to follow the direction indicated by Ms Perry's arrow. The collision could also have been avoided if the two students had more than a 20 second interval between them when they jumped out of the plane, Justice Boyd-Boland said. Despite the 20 second gap, both students were at the same height when the collision occurred. "It became an added risk in an already risky procedure and would be best avoided," Justice Boyd-Boland said. Mr Morton suffered a fractured pelvis and injuries to his right shoulder, spine, head and severe shock in the fall and was today awarded almost $277,000 in damages. Mr Warren received fractures to this right arm and injuries to his spine, head and severe shock, and was awarded about $328,000. ~ From AAP
  18. DSE

    Managing Media on the Dropzone

    Managing Media on the Dropzone Whether for positive or negative reasons, every dropzone in the world should expect a visit from local news media at some point in time or another. This is a short guide to help you best understand how to manage modern media on the dropzone. For starters, understand that the media generally considers skydiving as an "extreme sport" so they're often willing to portray it from a perspective using terms like "dare-devils," "Adrenaline junkies," "thrill-seekers," and so forth. It's not necessary to encourage these labels; they'll exist anyway. Remember always, that any press is good press, but well-managed press is GREAT for the DZ and the sport. INVITING THE MEDIA TO AN EVENT AT THE DROPZONE If you've got an event at the dropzone, such as a celebrity jump, someone's Xthousandth, a war hero, multiple generations of a family, competitions, special guests, etc, you'll likely want to invite the media. It's not quite as easy as it may seem. Here are some rules and practices of etiquette that will enhance your chances of succeeding in bringing the media to the dropzone. -Send a short press release no further than four weeks out. Follow up two weeks out. Follow up one week out, and send a final release the day before the event. Press releases should NEVER be longer than one page. -Make sure the press release contains at least two contact phone numbers. At least one of those numbers should be an after-hours number. It should also CLEARLY state the date and time the event is taking place. -Include some action statements and if you're creative, you might consider generating one or two subtle headlines. "The Family that Jumps Together, Lands Together," "World-Record Skydiver Visits XXXX Dropzone," "Human Birdmen Flock to XXX Dropzone," etc. These headlines will almost assuredly not be used, but will spark the creativity of the reporter or editing staff, and most importantly, the assignments desk. -Have a place for the media at your dropzone. Assign a dropzone liason to stay with the media during the entire event. This person is not only there to answer any questions, but to also guide the media to safe areas during landings, help them to find the best angle with safety in mind (they'll almost always want the sun at the back of the camera operator), and more importantly, act as their friend during what is likely an unusual experience. It's a good idea to have cold bottled water on hand if it's a hot day. They're your guests, treat them as such. The person assigned to act as a media liason should be well-spoken and well-groomed. Articulation is very important. Remember, this person is representing YOUR dropzone and our sport to the masses. He/she may not appear on camera, but if he/she will appear on camera, be sure they're wearing clean, non-wrinkled clothing with neatly groomed hair. They should be able to start and complete a sentence without "ummmmm," or showing a lack of confidence. They should be able to smile and speak with a slowed cadence. If it's an exciting event, great. But fast speech is slurred in most instances, unless they're a trained speaker. They should know the language of "sound bites." Like it or not, the MOST airtime your event will receive is 2.5 minutes and that length of time is fairly rare. Being able to speak in concise, clear sentences will assure that you'll get maximum airtime, and likely increase the chances of the media wanting to return for future events. RULES OF ETIQUETTE -Don't send photos or video via email before the event. Send links to downloadables, links to photos, or make it clear that photos and video will be made available on the day of the event. -Don't ask a reporter if they received your email. -Don't ask for a copy of the story. If you want it badly enough, go get a copy for yourself. The reporter has other things to do. Your event is a big deal to you; to them...it's just another story. -Never provide gifts of any kind to reporters. It's bad form, and could be misconstrued. -Don't expect reporters to do tandems. If they ask, great. If not, don't push. Some reporters have clauses in their contracts that prevent them from doing anything considered to be a "high risk." You don't want to be known as the dropzone that broke the reporters leg or tailbone. -Don't call reporters during deadline hours. It's a good idea to ask a reporter when the best time to reach them might be. Don't repeatedly call; it may be seen as harassment. Don't be "that guy." -Don't spam every reporter at the media source. If you don't have a cultivated contact, send email to the City Desk or assignments editor. DEALING WITH THE MEDIA IN TIMES OF AN INCIDENT "If it bleeds, it leads." Period. That's ALWAYS the axiom of the news media. Deal with it. Death, mayhem, corruption make for more interesting stories that up ratings. Depending on the story, it can quickly go huge. Cases in point, my own incident went nationwide due to my small celebrity stature. Another case in point, the guy that dropped his paraplane into a crowd and injured six people, including small children. Both generally small stories, but mine occurred on a slow news day, and the paraplane story had great footage from an amatuer camera. Understand you can't stop this from occurring, and trying to keep the media away from injuries or fatalities only piques the interest and will make your dropzone look as though you've something to hide. You cannot win against the Fourth Estate. Deal with it. If you have a fatality or unusual incident, you should; -have someone pre-designated to speak to the press. This is critical, and this person hopefully has already rehearsed or has spoken to the press before. As previously mentioned, this person should be capable of articulate, intelligent speech. -NEVER speak off the record. Ever. There is no "Just between you and me" with reporters. Ever. Gossip is the fodder on which they eat. Shut your mouth. -Do not provide details about an incident; it's usually too early to provide details anyway, depending on how quickly the press arrives at your dropzone. This is not the time for some arrogant, ego-driven jackass to be promoting his authority on the subject of skydiving. Merely by appearing on camera will give an air of authority, and a brief sound bite is all that is needed. Later, we'll look at some general methods of speaking. -Do not allow the press to shoot images of any aftermath if possible. There are alternatives to managing this better, such as a Crisis Kit or EPK (Electronic Press Kit). Every dropzone should have one of these. -If you have footage of the incident occurring, the DZO, DZM, or S&TA; should be given a copy, and its usually a good idea to have the videographer turn over the original work so it doesn't show up on YouTube or similar. Bear in mind that any video may be retained by the police or investigators as evidence. Fatalities are treated as a crime scene in most areas. Help, don't hinder.Skydivers are our own worst enemies. Case in point, at the USPA Board of Directors meeting, I was informed that the FAA has watched several wingsuits buzzing tandems. They're watching. They've also watched videos of DZ's busting clouds and I'm aware of at least one DZ that was visited and ramped, simply due to a video of skydivers busting clouds. Keep a tight lid on footage of incidents and have someone worthy of responsibility and sound judgement decide what to do with the footage. This is why one reason I've encouraged my home DZ to institute a "Work for Hire." Tandem footage or hired aerial camera footage belongs to the DZ, not the camera flyer. -Keep statements short and as glib as possible. Here is an actual (shortened) transcript of a Dropzone Operator speaking to the press; "The guy was doing a low turn, he turned low with his toggles, turning too close to the ground. When the parachute turns close to the ground, it loses altitude and his body slammed into the ground. He made a mistake and he's now badly hurt. We'd talked to him about low turns before but he just kept doing them...." The DZ rep was still talking as the press cut back to the news room. In other words, he desperately needed to show his superior intelligence about the sport of skydiving and was reveling in his 15 minutes of fame. And wouldn't shut up. Not good. For anyone involved. Additionally, the end result of this poor presentation is that the skydiver ended up having his insurance company challenge various aspects of their payments, citing that he willfully put himself in a bad situation by turning low, and that he was negligent. Do you really want to put one of your buddies in that situation regardless of what may have occurred? Finally, if you're hot-headed, avoid being near the press. Incidents are emotional, and hot-heads and high emotions don't mix with the media. A recent incident had a skydiver become aggressive with a news camera. The news station gathered unflattering footage that may be trotted out whenever there is a skydiving incident, and the station has a prejudiced view of skydiving in general, simply because of an immature, emotional person that felt they needed to keep the media off the DZ. In the future, do you think the media will present pleasant, happy stories about skydiving? Keep these sorts of people away from the media. A better example (and a paraphrased version of another incident report); "We're not yet exactly certain what happened. All we know at this time is that unfortunately, one of our friends has been injured, and we won't know the cause until we talk to everyone who actually observed what occurred. We will be providing a full report of the incident to the USPA, and that report will be available to you as soon as we have it." Simple, short, and sweet. It doesn't degrade the skydiver, doesn't give the news a "push" to assure it meets the "bleed." And it's all true. Be brief and stay on point. You'll also get more questions. Answer them confidently, briefly, articulately. Don't be afraid to say "It's too early to know that," or "That's a great question, and we hope to have an answer very soon." Additionally, don't be afraid to say that "Skydiving is a high-risk activity, and sometimes accidents occur." If you do want or feel a need to provide details, keep them as factual and simple as possible, and explain that we train for these scenarios, etc. Remember, your dialog with a visual media reporter is a 'performance' as much as it is a dialog. Stay confident, look in one direction, avoid moving your eyes around. Try to avoid "uuhhh,,,, mmmmm,... weeeeellll,...and other verbal distractions. Just because you're the DZO or DZM doesn't mean you're the right person to speak to the media. Find that nice-looking, articulate guy or gal on the dropzone and have them represent you and your DZ. The media serves one purpose and one purpose only. They need to bring a story back to the station. DZO's, S&TA;'s, or media personnel at the DZ can shape the voice of the story, and help direct the flow of the story by being courteous, professional, and helpful. Or, they can create a bad image for the DZ and the sport by reacting badly. Just as you have a job on the DZ, the press has a job too. One way or another, they're going home with a story. Wouldn't you rather have a say in how that story is presented? BUILDING A CRISIS KIT/EPK A Crisis Kit or Electronic Press kit is a great tool for DZ's whether it's used for crisis management or event promotion. This kit is a DVD that contains: -Contact information and a headshot of the DZO, DZM, or other authorities for the DZ that are permitted to speak to the media. -A "fact" sheet of statistics related to skydiving. This is available from the USPA website. -Random video clips, well labeled, that show happy times in skydiving. Hoop jumps, tandems, RW, VRW, wingsuiting, etc are all good to include. These clips should not be more than :30 in length. These provide the media with cutaway shots, and will quell their desire to create more than the "real" story in the event of an incident. It also will help promote your DZ in a positive manner, regardless of what has brought the media to the dropzone. I recommend delivering in a .mxf format, high definition is preferable today. Any news station can open a Material eXchange Format file. DV is next best, preferably widescreen. -Contact information for the USPA, assuming you're a USPA dropzone. The USPA has a PR team there to support and help you. Provide them as a resource. Most savvy DZO's know that any press, good or bad, is good for business. However, if you can work with the media, provide them tools and assistance, make them feel welcome and appreciated regardless of their role on the DZ, they can become a weighty ally for your dropzone whether you're promoting a competition or just sponsoring an Easter Egg hunt. The media can be free advertising and provide a draw to your location. Used wisely, you can dramatically increase traffic around your dropzone. Blue skies and puffies, ~douglas
  19. Para-Gear is interested in photographic submissions that you may have for the 2005 -2006 Para-Gear Catalog #70. We have taken the time to briefly describe the format and certain criteria that we look for, in order to help you to see if you have something worth submitting. We have included examples of previous catalog covers for your reference. Over the years Para-Gear has used photos from all of skydiving's disciplines. We do not have a preference as far as what type of skydiving photo it is, rather we look for something that either is eye-catching or pleasing to the eye. In light of the digital age, we are also able to use photos that in one way or another may be less than perfect and enhance them, removing blemishes, flipping images, altering colors, etc. The following are preferences. However what we prefer and what we get, or choose, are not always the same. If however we came down to a choice between two photos of equal quality, we would opt for the one that met more of our preferences. We typically prefer that the photo be brighter. In the past we have used sunset photos and even a night jump photo, although by and large most of the photos are daytime. We like the subject of the image to have contrast with the background. Subjects that are wearing brighter more colorful clothing usually stand out more. We prefer to have the people in the photo wearing equipment since that is what we sell. Headgear, goggles, jumpsuits, altimeters, audible altimeters, and gloves are all good. We also prefer to see skydivers wearing head and foot protection. We do not print any BASE jumping nor any Tandem photographs. No submissions of these will be accepted. Our basic criteria is as follows: Vertical Format. The front and back covers of the catalog are both in a vertical format. We can use a horizontal (landscape) shot, as opposed to a vertical (portrait), and then crop it as long as the image lies within a vertical cropping. Photo Quality. The front and back cover shots will be printed as 8 ½ x 11 in 300 dpi format. Any film that can hold its quality up to this size and print dpi is fine. Slide film is preferred. In the event of a final cover choice, we prefer to be sent the original slide for getting the best quality out of the image. Back Cover Photo. The back cover photo is no different from the front except in one respect. We need to have room on the left side of the image for the thumb index. In the past we have taken images and been able to horizontally flip them thereby creating this room. Originality. Anything that is original, eye-catching, or makes someone take more notice of the catalog covers is something we look for. It could be a photo from a unique camera position or angle, a scenic skydive, shots under canopy, landings, etc. We look for photos that have not been previously published and most likely would not accept them if they have, as we want a photo that no one else has seen yet. We also do not want any photos that are chosen as the front or back covers to be used for other non Para-Gear advertising for a period of one year. Para-Gear offers $250.00 each for both the front and back covers we choose. Our current deadline for catalog cover submissions is March 18th 2005 . Sending sample pictures by e-mail or mail are both fine. We will return any mailed in photos or slides after we are done with them. Please feel free to contact me directly with any questions. Para-Gear Equipment Co. Inc. 3839 West Oakton Street Skokie, Illinois 60076 USA Ph: 847-679-5905 Fax: 847-679-8644 E-mail: sales@para-gear.com Internet: http://www.para-gear.com When replying, please advise your full name, address, e-mail, phone/fax and copy our e-mail or refer to the subject so we can reply easily back to you. Thank you.
  20. admin

    Vicar takes a plunge for charity

    A daredevil vicar has raised more than £1,000 for his parish by parachuting from 13,000 feet over a Nottinghamshire airfield. Reverend Simon Foster, vicar of St Mary's Church in Anstey, Leicestershire, made his jump over Langar on Tuesday. "Just for one brief second I was very scared, but as soon as we were falling I thought: "I am going to do this'," he said. Clive Taylor, a friend who suggested and helped organise the skydive, said: "It is a good way of collecting money and he is a great guy. I hope he enjoyed the view." His tandem skydiving instructor, Chris Harrison, said it was a good dive. "He enjoyed the landing and was very happy. Before the jump Mr Harrison said: "He is going to see his boss a little closer than usual."
  21. admin

    Skydiver drops lead weights

    Bystanders at Rotorua Airport were sprayed with lead shot after a pair of 2.5kg skydiver's weights plummeted 762m, hitting the ground with such force that witness thought they were exploding bombs. The weights, made from black fabric bags filled with lead, are used as ballast to keep a falling skydiver stable. But during a routine jump on Sunday afternoon, skydiver Gregg Eagles left his weights tucked into the pouch that held his parachute secure in its backpack. When he released the ripcord, they fell to the ground, landing near the airport entrance with such force that police were called to investigate reports of homemade explosives being detonated. Police thought they might have been dealing with explosives left by a bomber and detonated when a car drove over them. They began an investigation to see if similar incidents had happened at other airports. Reports of the "bombs" were sent out on the news wires. One woman was slightly injured when she was peppered with lead pellets, but Detective Sergeant Mark Loper said someone could have been killed if the bags had scored a direct hit. Mr Eagles, a veteran of more than 500 jumps, had no idea he had lost the weights until he got a phone call yesterday morning. He said he did not see the weights because they "blended in" and he usually used larger ones made from 4-litre oil cans. "I really don't know how it happened ... I won't be using those weights again. "When I found out I thought, 'Oh no, what have I killed?' Somebody could have been really badly hurt," said Mr Eagles. Dr Chris Tindle, a physicist at Auckland University, said it was difficult to know the speed and force the weights would have reached when they hit the ground. But they were probably falling at terminal velocity. They would have had enough force to easily cave in a car roof and anyone hit would certainly have been killed. "It would put a great big dent in almost anything it hit." The Civil Aviation Authority is investigating.
  22. uspad2410

    John Willsey obits

    Started jumping with John Willsey in 1972 at various Arizona DZs after getting my D at Elsinore in 68. We made the first 23 way at Casa Grande in 73. He came to it me on Maui about 12 yrs ago. Never was a nicer guy. Just heard about death Oct 30, 2015. Anyone with details can e-mail me at tubem@hawaii.rr.com
  23. WILSON -- Marni Evans literally "dropped in" for her 90th birthday party Saturday afternoon, jumping from an airplane cruising over her farm at 12,000 feet. She said she wanted to show her friends that age is just a state of mind, even when you're nearing the century mark. More than 100 well-wishers waiting in a pasture at Springhill Plantation craned their heads upward as a dot in the sky slowly became recognizable as the form of Evans and skydiving instructor Tom Tharp dangling from a red-and-white tandem parachute. Scott Smith of Jackson and Keith Nielson of Lafayette, who followed Evans and Tharp from the plane, landed first, drawing "oohs" and "aahs" from the crowd for their flawless touchdowns. A few seconds later, applause rippled around the pasture as the guests watched Evans and Tharp float to the ground. The crowd rushed forward to capture on film and videotape the big smile lighting Evans' face while she wriggled out of her jumpsuit and gear. "It went flawlessly. It was a super day and a super crew. I'm proud of all of them, especially my mom," said son Kirwin Ross, as he aimed his camera at the group. "It's going to be like stepping on a pillow," Smith had predicted before the skydivers took off from the landing strip at Jackson. Except for Evans losing her balance when Tharp bumped into her, Smith's prediction was on the money. Still, more than one person waiting in the audience was apprehensive. "Some people were hoping it would rain so she wouldn't get hurt," guest Henry Chase said. But the weather couldn't have been better. Before climbing into the Cessna 210, Evans wisecracked with pilot Tom Allain of Baton Rouge and the others almost nonstop, but grew serious for a moment to explain the purpose of her adventure. "The whole objective of this is to let these young people know that you don't have to get old just because you've been here a long time," Evans said. "Stay active ... stay alive as long as you live," she said. Evans is the oldest student Tharp has tutored in the sport of skydiving. "I've jumped with an 84 (-year-old), so this is my record," he said during the flight preparations. "She doesn't have to worry; this is my second jump," he joked. As she donned her jumpsuit and harness, Evans told the group the jump would be a first, but not for wearing a parachute. She explained that she had strapped a parachute on all the time while learning to fly in her younger days. Evans' exploits were a theme among the guests as they watched the plane make lazy circles in the sky to gain altitude. They spoke of her athletic prowess, her earning many awards in Senior Olympics competitions, her volunteering to lead exercise classes at a nursing home and her arriving at her 80th birthday party in a helicopter. Arriving for the party, Ann Reiley Jones held a sheet of paper in her hand. "We were asked not to bring gifts, but I wanted to do something, so I wrote down 90 adjectives to describe Marni," Jones said. "It wasn't hard. I thought of 10 more on the way over here."
  24. admin

    GRAVITAS - LED Wingsuit Video

    Regardless of how you feel about the sponsor giant, Redbull have continued to show what a large budget can do in terms of both stunt orchestration and production quality of video footage. One of Redbull's latest productions, titled GRAVITAS, puts together the ingredients of wingsuit pilots, drum and bass and LED lights to create some stunning skydiving eye candy. According to Redbull.com, the pilots, Marco Waltenspiel, Georg Lettner, David Hasenschwandtner and Dominic Roithmair exited at 13 000 feet with LED lit wingsuits. Once in flight they began their choreographed maneuvers to the music of Camo & Krooked. Other companies involved in the project include Paranormal Unicorn and Frame Fatale.
  25. ChrisD

    Peripheral Vision

    Measuring “Spotlight Effect” Interference On a Peripheral Vision Matching Task. ChrisD Abstract In historical peripheral studies, peripheral stimuli are presented and measures are taken on known central task behaviors and the effect on the main task is measured. In this experiment a dual task peripheral stimulus is presented and a central task is presented using Eriksen & Eriksen’s (1974) “Attentional Spotlight” paradigm. What makes this study interesting is that the central field is completely flooded with stimulus thus making parallel processing aka Treisman’s “features and objects” paradigm compared with very fast and multiple serial searches, independent of the search/ experimental paradigm used. Thus regardless of the serial or parallel search debate, effects of a central stimulus presented in a varying attentional spotlight area can be measured reliably regardless of the attention demands of a task. Early results suggest stimuli presented within the attention spotlight have a pronounced and unavoidable linear negative effect on varying levels of peripheral task performance. Discussions on subject age and behavior/ occupation requiring a high degree of attentive awareness/ vigilance such as driving or piloting are discussed also. Introduction Current perceptual/ cognitive research may be limited by methodological hindrances. Computer screens by their very nature limit current visual field measurements, which generally cover 1 degree to 20 degrees of the visual field depending upon the subjects distance from the computer screen. Further complicating visual research paradigms is the fact that perception is mainly a binocular phenomenon. This complicates visual search paradigms considering pre-attentive features that may or not, “pop-out” (Treisman, 1986), primarily a parallel search process, as compared with more attention driven, serial search paradigms. Further complicating this is the switch from a wide processing area to a relatively small and restricted area for intense serial processing during periods of intense concentration or high stress (Murata 2004). Understanding these two paradigms has great implications for any subject that depends upon these visual perceptual systems for their particular task, such as pilots or motor vehicle operators. Many researchers have suggested two distinct visual attentional systems. One wide area resource gathering system that quickly switches to a serial search with a very narrow, less than 2 degrees of visual field angle, field of view which is also called the “spotlight effect.” (Spotlight effect known about since the 1950s, generally attributed to Eriksen & Eriksen, 1974, and Posner, various.) This switching effect which Rufin VanRullen (2004) points out is highly dependent on attentional load or how many tasks an individual is involved in. He refers to dual task activities as the: “…two distinct attentional resources paradigm.” However with small computer screens this visual spotlight effect, parallel, serial search processing paradigm suffers as subjects can readily switch search areas or due to the narrow visual field, they can readily conduct a quick search of relevant features with their attentional spotlights. As an example Crundall, et al., (1998, 2002) research supports this as when experienced drivers visual information acquisition is different than compared with inexperienced drivers that use different and limited visual field areas as an example (Ruff 2004, et al.). This highlights the parallel/ serial confound by studies using limited visual areas as the subjects can utilize fast serial searches due the restricted viewing area and or utilize parallel searches due the same reason. Other research paradigms present realistic driving simulators and or real driving studies and label the driving task as the primary or spotlight effect and vary and measure the effects of various peripheral stimuli and the effects of these peripheral stimuli upon the central (spotlight) task performance (Ruff 2004). Frequently the perceptual tasks whether dual or single, complicated or simple place extraneous demands upon the simulation (Recarte et al. 2003, Ivanoff et al. 2003). Additional studies have subjects attend to varying visual tasks to measure the area of this attentional visual field narrowing by varying central task loads (Horrey et al. 2004). This amounts to a perspective switching in a sense as too exactly which is the spotlighted effect or the peripheral task becoming the spotlighted area. Perspective switching between central tasks being affected by varying peripheral loads or intrusions, compared with peripheral tasks becoming the central task. In other words the subject can move the spotlight; the subject determines which is the spotlighted area merely by directing attention to the stimulus, whether in the central area or the peripheral area! A corollary to this idea is the general dearth of research on central field of view influence on peripheral tasks. Whereas there is much research and a generally accepted view that certain peripheral stimulus can attract attention even in high attentional demanding environments, this experiment tries to study the effect of a central stimulus while performing a dual peripheral vision task, independent of the constraints imposed upon the subject by narrowed visual fields popular in computer research and imposed by the dominance of task experienced in real or driving studies. I.e. in real driving or acquisition type studies the subject by the very nature of the task is pre-occupied with that same task! In this experiment the peripheral area is flooded with stimulus and the effects of a central intrusive distractor flood the area of this spotlight regardless of any search paradigm or eye position. Thus the effects of this spotlight can be discerned from a peripheral task when the subject (hypothetically) is unable to use the central spotlight to complete the peripheral task. Additionally discussed are general effects of the narrowing attentional spotlight whether it is a perceptual phenomenon or a cognitive phenomenon and the effects of stress upon subjects of varying ages (Roge 2004, Recarte et al. 2003,) and of particular concern is the phenomenon of perceptual blindness/ inattentional blindness experienced by some subjects during the course of this experiment (Simons, Chabris 1999, Lavie 2005). Method Seven participants ranging in age from 24 to 72 “volunteered” to be subjects for this experiment, although not all subjects finished a full set of trials. Occupations ranged from retired, full time professionally employed, disabled, to college students. The setup and apparatus included commercially available emergency warning “strobe” lights, a hand stopwatch and various manual switching devices and a power supply. The lights came from the factory with 12 pre-programmed flash patterns, depending upon pattern selected, the flash patterns ranged from a simple one second flash to a barely discernable 4 flash in 500 millisecond alternating with a persistence delay of 250 milliseconds with an intervening blank period of 150 milliseconds. The lights were, according to the manufacturer capable of being synchronized to a very high degree of reliability less than 50 milliseconds of variance and the flash duration less than 1 millisecond of residual after glow. Two amber lights capable of 3000/ meter candela (daylight) were positioned at the periphery of a centrally seated subject at about 180 degrees to 160 degrees of visual angle. The lights were roughly 5 feet apart. The lights were synchronized to flash in various patterns. The patterns were categorized into three distinct degrees of difficulty: easy, med., and hard, based upon subjective subject reports, and initial practice runs based upon increasing reaction times for a correct response. Responses were limited to “same” for conditions when the right and left peripheral lights flashed the exact same pattern. And “different” for when the flashes were not the same pattern. A central distractor white light was positioned roughly in front of the subject about 30 inches away, this light was capable of 16,000 candela’s (roughly the amount of light on a clear day in a blinding reflecting snowfield.) All lights were adjusted to roughly the subject’s eye level in height from the floor. Gender and age information was the only personal information taken although most subjects volunteered any relevant medical and occupational information. All subjects were asked if they had any prior epileptic or seizure medical conditions, as lights of this intensity and duration have induced seizures in test subjects sensitive to these disorders. Basically a triangular pattern was formed with the subject in the center. The procedure consisted of setting the peripheral side amber lights to flash either the same or different, only response times for correct trials were collected as it became problematic to collect incorrect identifications, either the response time persisted into minutes or a correct discrimination was impossible. See Recarte 2003 p. 124 for a more complete discussion of this rational. 10 combinations of flash patterns were selected, categorized and presented to subjects in a random fashion. Two sets of these patterns were a repeated designs measure to enhance internal and construct validity. After an initial 500 or no millisecond delay a white distractor flash was concurrently presented in all trials, the only thing that varied as far as the white distractor was the initial onset of 0 millisecond delay to 500 millisecond delay. This created two conditions: a peripheral matching task, and a peripheral matching task with a central distractor, the white distractor delay could not be accurately measured and was not included to make more than two conditions. Initially the distractor was presented immediately after the matching task, but it became evident that a rapid identification was taking place so the distractor presentation and matching tasks were randomized to eliminate this “learning effect.” A more robust and or accurate timing system to measure reaction times was desired by this experimenter to see if any interaction effects could be discerned as this setup only allowed for reaction times to be roughly taken for the two conditions of correct responses. Some subjects reported “they thought” they had an initial decision but the central field distractor delay “might” have influenced this. More accurate reaction time measures could have teased this out. Sample Data Collection Form: Flash Pattern RT RT + Distractor Single Flash + Single Flash ------------- ---------------- Single Flash + Double Flash ------------- ---------------- Signal Alert + Signal Alert ------------- ---------------- Double Flash + Double Flash ------------- ---------------- Double Flash + Signal Alert ------------- ---------------- Signal Alert + Signal Alert ------------- ---------------- Signal Alert + Double Flash ------------- ---------------- Single Flash + Com Alert ------------- ---------------- Double Flash + Double Flash ------------- ---------------- Comet Flash + Com Alert ------------- ---------------- Gender Age --------- ----------- Data: Paired Samples Test Paired Differences t df Sig. (2-tailed) Mean Std. Deviation Std. Error Mean 95% Confidence Interval of the Difference Lower Upper Pair 1 EasyFlashDistractor - EasyFlash 1.43773 2.55078 .54383 .30678 2.56868 2.644 21 .015 Paired Samples Test Paired Differences t df Sig. (2-tailed) Mean Std. Deviation Std. Error Mean 95% Confidence Interval of the Difference Lower Upper Pair 1 MedFlashDistractor - MEDFlash .62842 1.38316 .31732 -.03824 1.29508 1.980 18 .063 Paired Samples Test Paired Differences t df Sig. (2-tailed) Mean Std. Deviation Std. Error Mean 95% Confidence Interval of the Difference Lower Upper Pair 1 HardFlashDistractor - HardFlash 1.76200 1.26944 .56771 .18579 3.33821 3.104 4 .036 Results and Discussion: The results show a very pronounced distractor effect on the peripheral matching task, the reaction time increase of 1.44 seconds for the easy condition, .63 seconds for the medium condition, and almost 2 seconds for the hard condition. Cited in Horrey (2004), Horrey & Wickens (2002) found reaction time losses of up to 2.9 seconds in a study where they manipulated two peripherally located tasks, in fact they found that one peripheral task and one central task was about as half demanding as the two peripheral task. Recarte (2003,) also found similar reaction times and adds: “The abrupt onset of a stimulus may produce a stimulus-driven attentional capture…This capture may or may not occur or may lead to processing impairment” (p.120). This matching task experiment when in the distractor mode is in agreement with this “exogenous” shift (Ivanoff et al. 2003). In other words some of these real world peripheral events are not under the subject’s control. Endogenous shifts are defined as having some “volitional control,” where exogenous shifts are an automatic process (Ivanoff 2003). This experiment tries to produce distractions of the exogenous shifts in attention. Which means the spotlight effect is or takes place wherever the subject places his/ her attention. This also places great weight that topics such as cognitive workload and visual field funneling are cognitive processes more than a perceptual phenomenon. Joe Lin Chiuhsiang phrases this as: “…higher the cognitive task the worse the performance… (2006). In other words any stimulus that takes away from the task at hand has the ability to reduce the performance of the primary task at hand. Two subjects in this experiment whose data was not included in the mean totals may have experienced this perceptual blindness, as evidenced by the repeated measures results. In the first trial the subjects including the 71 year old male performed reasonably well, being able to discriminate matching patterns in the easy and med. Categories. Then by random assignment a hard perceptual task was presented. After the hard task which basically “locked-up” the subject, poor across the board performance was noted and the subject was unable to finish all of the trials. This same subject reported that “they were highly concerned about their performance” and “by trying harder” (greatly increased cognitive load) they were unable to “see the flashes, anymore.” In an effort to show the subject in fact the peripheral flashes were different or same the visual angle was moved successively decreasing to about 5 degrees of central visual angle. At this point in time the subject was able to discern correct responses only if they were over 1 full second, whereas a few minutes before hand they were doing reasonable well with 250 millisecond discriminations. This is exactly similar to what Chun & Wolfe (2000) mean when they say: “What you see is determined by what you attend to…,” this is also the danger hidden in Simons and Chabris work. On an Aquatics blog the following quote sums up many researchers’ findings and opinions on this subject: Real-life case studies of this blindness include drivers running over bicyclists, train engineers plowing into cars, submarine pilots surfacing under ships and airline pilots landing on other planes. In each case, the object or obstruction should have been easily noticed but was not. That’s because even though the observers were “looking” right at the missed events, their attention was focused on other visual stimuli, or they were otherwise cognitively engaged (e.g., talking on a cell phone). Strikingly, those involved in these crashes usually have no idea there was an object there, and cannot explain their failure to have seen it. http://www.aquaticsintl.com/2004/nov/0411_rm.html One observation worthy of mention is in the medium task difficulty category mean time is less than the hard or easy category. This is the point where the experimenter noticed different strategies being applied to the matching task. As the difficulty level increased as compared with the easy condition the subjects could no longer count the flashes or turn their head fast enough, it was at this point the matching experiment truly became a peripheral task and also a stumbling block for many of the older subjects and some younger ones as well. Many studies: Olsson et al. 2000, Crundall 2002, and others also refer, sometimes indirectly, to various search/scan paradigms, that differing levels of experience and training on subjects has on performance. A complete discussion of this is beyond the scope of this paper but the author is well versed on the subject. Suffice to say older drivers and many others have physical as well as cognitive strategies that narrow the useful field of vision whether perceptual or cognitive required to operate complex fast moving machinery where mistakes have dire consequences. This experiment supports much of published studies similar in nature and should be kept in mind every time you place a cell phone call, reading a road map, eating anything, dropping anything, looking at road signs, following too closely, or just about any activity other than…while operating this equipment. References Australian Transport Safety Bureau. Australian Government. Limitations of the See and Avoid Principle. 1991/ 2004 reprint. Chun M., & Wolfe J. (2000). Visual Attention. Blackwell Handbook of Perception, Chapt. 9. CogLab reader, Various. Crundall D., & Underwood G. (1998). Effects of experience and processing demands on visual information acquisition in drivers. Ergonomics, V. 41. N. 4. 448-458. Crundall D., & Underwood G., and P. Chapman (2002). Attending to the Peripheral World While Driving. Applied cognitive psychology, 16, 459-475. Department of Transportation, Electronic Billboards and Highway Safety 2003. Goolkasian P. (1994). Compatibility and Location effects in target and distractor processing. American journal of Psychology, Vol. 107. No. 3. Pp. 375-399 Horrey W., & Wickens C. D. (2004). Focal and Ambient Visual Contributions and Driver Visual Scanning in Lane Keeping and Hazard Detection. Proceedings of the human actors and ergonomics society, 48th Annual Meeting- 2004 Ivanoff J., & Klein R. (2003). Orienting of attention without awareness is affected by measurement-induced attentional control settings. Journal of Vision, 3. 32-40. Lavie N. (2005). The role of perceptual load in visual awareness. Brain Research, Elsevier Science Direct, Umass Boston Healy Library, 1080. 91-100. Olsson S., & Burns P. C., (2000). Measuring Driver Visual Distraction with a Peripheral Detection Task. Volvo Technological Development Corporation, Sweden. Recarte M., & Nunes L. (2003). Mental Workload While Driving: Effects on Visual Search, Discrimination, and Decision Making. Journal of Experimental psychology: Applied2003, Vol 9, No. 2, 119-137. Roge J., & Pebayle T., et al. (2005). Useful visual field reduction as a function of age and risk of accident in simulated car driving. Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, May. V. 46. N. 5. Simons D., & Chabris C. (1999). Gorillas in our midst: sustained inattentional blindness for dynamic events. Perception, 28. Pp. 1059-1074. VanRullen R., & Reddy L., & C. Koch (2004) Visual search and dual task reveal two distinct attentional resources. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 16:1. Pp. 4-14. http://www.aquaticsintl.com/2004/nov/0411_rm.html http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/departments/nrd-13/driver-distraction/Topics033080034.htm various other sources…