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Found 202 results

  1. admin

    Navy SEAL dies in Parachuting Accident

    LAKE ELSINORE -- A Navy SEAL from Chula Vista practicing a freefall sky diving technique died during a training exercise Wednesday when his chute appeared to malfunction. Michael Bearden, 27, apparently died upon impact after falling into the Lake Elsinore flood plain in Riverside County, less than a mile from Skylark Airport. He was practicing accelerated freefall techniques at a civilian sky diving area, according to Lt. Cmdr. Jeff Alderson. The Navy Special Warfare Command is investigating. Riverside County coroners are treating his death as an accident. The unit was working on earning the necessary freefall qualifications to be a SEAL, Alderson said. A witness told the Riverside Press-Enterprise that it appeared Bearden's main chute had become tangled with a secondary chute. Steven Stetzel, who lives in a nearby housing tract, told the Press-Enterprise that he immediately called 911 after seeing the man plummet to earth. He rushed to the airport to report what had happened. Another SEAL from the group training with Bearden landed less than a minute after and tried to perform CPR, but investigators say the man almost certainly died on impact. The Riverside County Sheriff's/Coroner's Office is treating his death as accidental. Bearden is the third person to die in a skydiving accident in Lake Elsinore in the past four years, according to the Press-Enterprise. One of those deaths occurred after a skydiver got caught in one of the many "dust devils," columns of swirling wind and dust, that appear on the flood plain throughout the summer. The Corondao-based SEAL Team Five would continue its sky diving training, authorities said. The Associated Press contributed to this report
  2. When I started skydiving round parachutes were the only parachutes available. The landing under a round canopy had a high straight down component. Although Para Commanders had a noticeable forward speed under no wind conditions, landing in winds over 10 mph were again straight down. Due to straight down landings most injuries were to the ankles because one tended to sit down on the ankles during a less than perfect timing of the landing techniques required by round parachutes. Use of the Parachute Landing Fall (PLF) greatly reduced the extent and severity of landing injuries. Virtually all successful skydivers were experts at PLFs because not every landing was executed perfectly, no matter how many jumps one had, and sooner or later one had to land a round reserve. In the classroom it required a block of at least two hours to teach landing the parachute because so much of the time was devoted to teaching an actual PLF. The complete PLF technique is not a natural, readily apparent procedure. During the actual jump about half of the students would perform a PLF and the other half wouldn’t no matter how much time and practice was spent on PLFs. The injury rate was quite high. About 1 in 20 first jump students would suffer some type of ankle injury. With the advent of square parachutes, and particularly with the advent of placing students under square parachutes, the landing injuries changed. Each experienced person reading this article will realize that the injuries from landings that we see today are not limited to ankles. This is because the parachute is moving the jumper across the ground in almost all circumstances. However, there are cases were a person would be descending straight down even today. A high or rapid or deep flare by a student would be one example. In this case the PLF position for landing would definitely influence the ability of the student to walk away from their mistake. In my opinion there are instances when use of a PLF for a botched landing is NOT beneficial to the jumper. A downwind landing is such an instance. The PLF introduces a roll and a square parachute introduces a large amount of speed. For the sake of this example, assume the wind is blowing at ten mph. The jumper has made a mistake and is landing downwind. He/she has the presence of mind to have the toggles at his/her ribs (half flight) for an air speed of ten mph and a ground speed of 20 mph. Please bear with me for the easy math. 20 mph = 20 mph X 5280 ft/hr = 105,600 ft/hr 105,600 ft/hr = 105,600 ft/hr divided by 60 minutes/hour = 1,760 ft/min 1,760 ft/min = 1,760 ft/min divided by 60 sec/min = 29.33 ft/second At 20 mph ground speed a person is moving 29.33 ft per second across the ground. At half flight the downward speed (3 to 5 mph) would be somewhere between 4.4 ft/sec and 7.33 ft/sec. I believe that in this example the best outcome for the jumper would be to try to absorb as much of the initial downward velocity as possible with their legs (knees bent and pressed tightly together) and then NOT ATTEMPT A PLF. The danger inherent to a high speed roll/tumble is a direct result of the laws of physics. An example using a cylinder will illustrate the principle. I am 52 inches around the shoulders so let’s talk about a perfectly round cylinder, 52 inches in circumference, moving in the air just above the ground and oriented perpendicular to the line of flight. At touchdown the cylinder is going to pick up a rotational (angular) velocity based upon the speed across the ground (linear velocity) divided by the circumference of the cylinder. Excluding friction, which will slow the cylinder by scraping, the cylinder will initially roll across the ground at 29.33 ft/sec divided by 52” (circumference) per rotation. 52 inches divided by 12 inches per foot = 4.33 feet (circumference) 29.33 ft/sec divided by 4.33 ft / rotation = 6.77 ROTATIONS PER SECOND!!! If this seems quite a lot, it is. However, this is why occupants of a rolling vehicle are thrown so far from the vehicle in a rollover car accident (buckle up?). In the rollover case the rotational speed (angular velocity) of the vehicle rolling is translated to the linear velocity of the thrown body. The thrown objects, including unbuckled occupants, are thrown hundreds of feet. Returning to the skydiver, I am not a perfect cylinder. I am more of an imperfect ellipse (oval) seen from above. This is not to my benefit in a rolling landing as the ground (not perfectly smooth) will have a tendency to turn me into a round object by attempting to break off my protrusions (shoulders, arms, knees, etc.) This is complicated by the fact that the PLF was developed using round parachutes which did not have flare capability. As such the arms in a round canopy PLF were above the head, elbows bent and cushioning the head from the sides. This positioning essentially extends the arms along the long axis of the cylinder. With a square parachute our hands are down at our sides (hopefully) controlling the flare. During the rotation of a PLF, and particularly a rotation of 6.77 rpm, the hands and arms are thus exposed to quite a bit of trauma due to impact with the ground, more than once, as the roll proceeds. What one hopes for is the best case scenario where the jumper is rolling from shoulder to shoulder across the ground. The worst case scenario would be tumbling head to toe across the ground. Unless one is a trained gymnast this would expose the head and neck to several impacts with the ground. A real life roll/tumble would probably fall somewhere between these two extremes. At a rotational speed of 6.77 rpm a PLF would risk head and neck injury. At a rotational speed of 6.77 rpm, even a perfect PLF has great risk to shoulders, arms, hips and legs. There is a solution to this downwind landing possibility. It is easy to train and easily understood by newcomers and experienced skydivers alike. The simplest way to prepare for as many landing scenarios as possible is to assume the PLF position, fly the parachute and slide on one hip in the event of a forward motion, high speed landing. I teach our students to envision holding a dollar bill between their knees and squeezing a quarter between their glutes (“feet and knees, dollar and a quarter”). Actually doing so puts one into the PLF position. When the person discovers a downwind mistake has been made, he/she should assume this PLF position. At touch down the jumper should try to absorb as much as possible of the downward impact with their feet but lean back in the harness. Under no circumstances should the person allow themselves to be thrown head first. The jumper wants to stay on their feet as long as possible, tending to sitting down. As the person sits down he/she wants to transition (during the squat) onto a hip. One does not want to impact directly onto the butt. The spine will tolerate torsion (bending) but very little compression. Sitting down directly onto the butt could cause spinal problems on its own (disks and vertebrae). Absorbing the actual butt touchdown with the hip will allow the spine to flex. Hitting a rock with the tailbone while sliding across the ground could be quite painful as a likely result is a cracked tailbone. Hitting a rock with the hip while sliding across the ground might possibly bruise the hip, an easier recovery than any spinal injury. The jumper should perform a baseball slide into second base ensuring that they remain sliding feet first. The person will get dirty. Done properly, one may see damage to the leg strap cover on the hip, but a dirty/torn jumpsuit and/or a dirty/scraped hip cover will be all that one sees. During a proper landing (into the wind) and under reasonable conditions, if a person is in a PLF position (feet and knees, dollar and a quarter) accompanied by a flare anywhere near half–flight, the parachute will lay the student down in the first half of a PLF. This is all that is necessary with a properly sized square canopy. The “lay down” is a result of the fact that most students are not true into the wind at touchdown and thus the square parachute almost always imparts some degree of forward AND sideward motion to the student. The occurrence of downwind landings is relatively rare. However, bear in mind that most of these are done by a jumper off student status (off radio assistance). This person has received very little if any formal instruction since the first solo landing class. So the technique must be simple to learn, retain and execute months after the initial training. Since I began teaching this concept, decades ago, I have not had a single jumper injury related to downwind landings when my advice was put into practice. My motivation for writing this article comes from the words that I hear when traveling to other drop zones and the words that I read in articles such as “Incident Reports”, “…you should have done a PLF”. This is not always the case, particularly with today’s parachutes. A PLF is no longer a panacea for all conditions. I also want to point out that, in my opinion, the instructor showing a first jump student a PLF accomplishes nothing at all. Having each student perform a PLF on the ground is no better. For a person to learn a PLF requires repetitions by the student, MANY repetitions, from an elevated platform. A person or publication telling anyone that he/she should have done a PLF, which the person has never actually learned, is not accomplishing what the student needed and the knowledge that the publication is trying to disseminate.
  3. nettenette

    Your First Reserve Ride - Go Time

    Dave Rhea gives his Skyhook a workout over northern Arizona Photo Credit: Dave Rhea You’re as ready as you’ll ever be. Right? You know what a malfunctioning main looks like. You know the sequence*. You’ve done your homework (like we reviewed last time). Before you pull that handle, though, make sure you know the rest of the story: how to make that reserve ride as un-traumatic an experience as possible. 1. Do not overthink it If you believe that your main is unlandable, you are going to have a reserve ride. Lots of skydivers have landed under reserves, realizing later that the problem was solvable. Lots of skydivers have also gone in while striving to sort out malfunctions that did not get solved. Pick your poison. 2. Do not worry about stability This is the very least of your problems, as you are on the world’s most intractable timer. Worry ONLY about altitude. 3. Pull the cutaway handle until no lower than 1,000 feet If your pull is sufficiently low (shame on you for that, by the way--gotta say it) and you have an unlandable main, you’ll be testing your reserve’s opening characteristics in the most potentially lethal way. Take note: the USPA not-so-recently raised the minimum deployment altitude even for eminently experienced D-licensed jumpers. Initiating a reserve ride below 1,000 feet isn’t always deadly, but it has an unnerving tendency to be. Don’t take the chance. 4. Hold on to your handles ...or, y’know, do your best. If you manage it, you’ll save a bit of money, and you’ll save face when you land. 5. Make sure it’s out Arch and look over your shoulder for the reserve pilot chute. Reserves deploy fast, so this head position may rattle your neck – but if the pilot chute is somehow caught in your burble, this should either shake it loose or make it clear to you that you need to do some burble intervention, stat. 6. Keep an eye on your free-floating main However: do not try to chase it and grab it in the air. (People have died doing that, bigshot.) Don’t “chase the bag” if it means you’ll land in a dangerous LZ. Use landmarks to get a bead on where the gear is headed, then take a deep breath, leave it to the fates, and prioritize your mortal coil. 7. Remember: Your Cutaway, Your Business When you land a reserve, you’re going to be the talk of the DZ (for about five minutes, usually). During that five minutes – longer, if the loads are turning slowly – you’ll probably be approached by a gamut of big talkers and would-be mentors, questioning your malfunction and eager to discuss your decision to cut away. My advice: speak to your trusted mentors and co-jumpers about it in private, and tell the rest to go suck an egg. When you suddenly need to get proactive about saving your life in the sky, make no mistake: you are absolutely alone. In the entire world, there exists only you and two handles. Your cutaway is your business. You were there. They were not. Review your own footage to determine the nature of the malfunction and review alternative methods of correction, if applicable. 8. Buy a bottle of posh booze for the rigger who packed the reserve you rode, and keep the reserve pin for posterity. It’s tradition. * Arch, look down at your handles, grasp the handles, pull cutaway, pull reserve.
  4. admin

    Choosing Emergency Contacts

    One of the things that all most every Dropzone or Boogie waiver has is a space to list an Emergency contact. Most jumpers just fill this information in with the first relative or friends name that pops into their head as they fill out the waiver, but jumpers should fill this section out after carefully selecting a contact. Jumpers should put more thought into this decision then they do into what type of jumpsuit they are going to buy. There are criteria that make people better emergency contacts then others and jumpers should keep this in mind as they make their selection. Potential emergency contacts should meet the following criteria at a minimum: Potential emergency contacts need to be aware of any medical issues or conflicts that you might have. If someone is allergic to something and forgets to put it on their waiver the emergency contact might just be the last line of defense there is to prevent the emergency responders from giving them a potentially dangerous drug or drug combinations. Emergency contacts should have phone numbers to your immediate family members rapidly available so they may inform your loved ones about any potential incidents that might have happened. Poor choices for emergency contacts include people that have never met you or your family before you visit the DZ. At a minimum your emergency contact should have the phone number to contact the person that you would want to be notified of your injury or death first. Another trait that makes a good emergency contact is choosing someone that is not at the airport the same time you are. In the case of something like a plane crash or canopy entanglement you might be involved in the incident with potential emergency contacts. By choosing someone that is not involved in skydiving or at the airport at all you maximize the availability of contacts that DZ personal might be able to reach in the case of an emergency on the dropzone. Contacts should be someone that will be able to initially handle receiving potentially devastating news about you. Choosing someone that is known to be extremely emotional over the phone might be a poor choice as a contact if the Dropzone or medical teams need to ask questions of the emergency contact. Choose someone that will be able to calmly answer any potential questions after being informed that you are injured or worse. Having multiple methods of contacting emergency contacts makes the task of reaching the emergency contact a lot easier for the dropzone personal. Emergency contacts should have at least one phone number and if possible multiple phones. List every phone number in the order that they should be called. Listing mobile numbers, home numbers and work numbers should all be done at a minimum to insure the maximum possibility of reaching someone in a true emergency. Other things that should be used as criteria in potential emergency contacts include knowing who might be on vacation and out of reach at the time of certain boogies, knowing which contacts will be available to rapidly travel to deal with incidents if they happen, and in the case of international jumpers knowing the time difference and how that is going to affect the ability to contact your potential contact. Using these criteria to choose an emergency contact will increase the probability that the dropzone personal will be able to reach and inform people of emergencies involving you, plus it will reduce the anxiety factor on the dropzone staff side in contacting people if they know they will not have to end up calling 10 people to reach someone that has needed answers about you.
  5. Moments after a jury cleared him of any wrongdoing in the death of a skydiver, Michael Hawkes stood on the front steps of the Foley Federal Building and pointed skyward at the Air Force Thunderbirds as they performed maneuvers. "Hey! They're celebrating our win," Hawkes yelled over to fellow defendant Joe Herbst. "That's pretty good." On Friday a Clark County civil jury ruled that Hawkes, the owner of Skydive Las Vegas, was not responsible for the May 1998 death of Vic Pappadato, an Emmy-award winning videographer and skydiver. They also found that Herbst, a former teacher who jumped that day with Pappadato, did not contribute to Pappadato's death. In fact, they awarded Herbst $1, saying Pappadato caused the midair collision that led to his death and seriously injured Herbst. The four-week trial was held in the Foley Federal Building to provide extra space. The parents and brother of Vic Pappadato had claimed that Hawkes had a history of violating safety rules and on the afternoon of May 10, 1998, allowed a group to dive even though some of them had been partying the previous evening. The family's attorney said those mistakes led to Pappadato's death. Hawkes and Herbst's attorneys told jurors that Pappadato deviated from a pre-arranged plan, and his mistakes led to his death. They also pointed out that Pappadato had signed a waiver releasing Skydive Las Vegas from any liability. "It's been a long four weeks since the trial began and a long four years since the accident," Hawkes said. "I'm just very happy the waiver stood out and was upheld. Everyone who jumps out of airplanes knows it is potentially dangerous. "There's been a lot of pain and suffering on both sides. I'm very sorry for the Pappadatos' loss, but this lawsuit should never have happened." In a written statement, Vince Pappadato, Vic's brother wrote: "We accept the jury's verdict, although we do not necessarily agree with the outcome. Sometimes the truth cannot always be proven. "This is just another bump in the road for us, and Vic Pappadato will never be forgotten for the champion he was in the sport that he loved so much, for the son and brother that he is, and for the man he became that everyone loved and misses dearly." Vince Pappadato said his family also wished for peace for the Herbst family. Herbst, who suffered internal injuries and broken bones in the accident, said he regretted having to file his counter-claim against Pappadato's estate. He said he went ahead with the lawsuit to clear his name. "I have no animosity toward the Pappadato family, that's why I only asked for a dollar," Herbst said. Herbst, who has made 1,000 dives since the accident, said the accident happened as the result of a few bad decisions made over a nine-second period. "Who hasn't made bad decisions?" Herbst said. "I had forgiven Vic before I hit the ground." ~ LAS VEGAS SUN
  6. A Mandatory Service Bulletin, SB-1221, has been issued and posted on the Precision Aerodynamics website. SB-1221 affects original configuration Raven Dash-M reserve canopies and P-124 Emergency parachute canopies that were produced before April 12, 1999. SB-1221 does not affect any canopies in the original Raven series, Super Raven series, Micro Raven series, or Raven Dash-M canopies produced after April 12, 1999. SB-1221 requires installation of one additional bartack at each of the 'A line' and 'B line' attachment points, for a total of 16 additional bartacks on the line attachment loops. The Raven Dash-M and P-124 series of reserve parachutes were tested within a range of 300-360 lbs at 180 knots and developed opening forces in the range of 2168 to 3660 lbs as measured in accordance with Aerospace Standard 8015A, the drop test standard for parachutes certified under FAA TSO C-23d. Since the introduction of the Dash-M Series in 1996, we have seen hundreds of documented saves throughout a wide variety of emergency situations. Reserve parachutes are generally designed, rigged, and packed to open more quickly than main parachutes, but until recently we had never seen canopy damage when used within the Maximum Operating Limitations of Weight and Speed. Within the past 30 days, we have witnessed 2 separate occasions wherein the integrity of the line attachment system of 2 different Dash-M canopies has been compromised during normal use by persons who are documented as having been within the Maximum Operating Limitations of Weight and Speed. In both cases, the jumpers reported exceptionally hard opening shocks resulting in canopy damage and hard landings. Damage to the referenced canopies was consistent with canopies having been tested to destruction when dropped beyond the limits of Maximum Operating Limitations of both Weight and Speed, while at the same time tumbling or otherwise presenting a non-symmetrical loading scenario to the deployment sequence. Exceptionally hard opening shocks generated by the subject canopies have prompted this Service Bulletin. Forces generated during opening shock resulted in a cataclysmic compromise of the line attachment system, with collateral damage extending upward generating torn canopy fabric and downward generating broken lines. The initial point of failure appeared to be similar in both cases, beginning in the region of the off-center A line attachment point. Subsequently, transient loading migrated outward and rearward affecting the integrity of some of the adjacent line attachment loops. The failure mode was in the destruction of the .75 x T-III MIL T-5038 line attachment loop tape, manifested by pulling the attachment loop tape away from the canopy but leaving the associated stitching intact (image 2). Compliance with this Service Bulletin enhances the line attachment structure of the original Dash-M and P-124 configuration and subsequent test data indicate that it increases the line attachment integrity by more than 100%. For compliance details, please download a copy of SB-1221 from the Precision Aerodynamics website at http://www.aerodynamics.com Precision Aerodynamics Download SB-1221 from Dropzone.com
  7. admin

    Spectator hurt in demonstration jump

    Gloucester, UK - DENISE Peacock was enjoying what seemed to be a perfect day out in the sunshine with her family - but seconds later a freak accident left her lucky to be alive. The 36-year-old, from Coney Hill, was at a bumper May Day celebration in Gloucester watching a parachuting display when she heard a noise above her head. Before the mother-of-two knew what was happening, she lay writhing in agony on the ground after one of the parachutists lost control in heavy winds, sailed out of the arena, and careered straight into her and her young family. Today the Church Way resident is on crutches and off work - but she knows she's lucky not to have been more seriously hurt. The vending machine operator suffered tissue damage and severe bruising to her legs, while husband Lawrence, 37, and children Amy, 12, and Sean, eight, all sustained cuts and bruises. The parachutist is believed to have broken his leg, and remains in Gloucestershire Royal Hospital today. Ambulances rushed Denise and the parachutist, from the volunteer Falling Rocks parachute team, to the hospital. She was released after eight hours of treatment. He will remain in hospital for at least another week. The family were at Coney Hill Neighbourhood Project's May Day celebrations at Coney Hill Primary School on Bank Holiday Monday when the accident happened. The three-strong volunteer parachute team's performance, which took place at 2.15pm, was meant to be the highlight of the bumper event. "The winds were so strong we thought they wouldn't jump," said Denise. "They took off about 20 minutes late, and they were all over the place. "I don't have a clue how it happened, it was all so fast. "People said the parachutist shouted for me to watch out, but I didn't hear anything. "All I remember is lying on the ground in agony after he smashed into me, hitting the back of my legs. "I was rushed to hospital. I've got a huge lump on one of my legs and I'm told I sustained tissue damage in the other, so I'm stuck on crutches and I can't go to work. "The parachutist is in hospital at the moment - he's badly hurt. It was a nightmare." Parachutist Colin Laker, who landed safely just before his out-of-control colleague, denied the winds were too strong to take the jump - but he admitted he probably got caught in an unexpected gust. "It just happens once in a blue moon. We have to put it down to a tragic accident, I'm afraid," he said. "The wind was most definitely not too strong to take the jump. It was very comfortable for us and there was no question of us not doing it. "I understand the parachutist concerned landed beside the woman, and rolled over onto her - it was his momentum that caught her. "He must have been caught in a gust of wind when he was up there, and was knocked out of control. I can only apologise and put it down to a freak accident." Mr Laker said the parachutist did not wish to be identified. Denise claimed she never received an apology from anyone at Coney Hill Neighbourhood Project, who organised the event. But project spokeswoman Val O'Connor claimed it was not their responsibility. "We contracted the Falling Rocks team to do a piece of work for us - and the decision to do the jump was taken by them and them only," she said.
  8. A jump ship at Perris airport was involved in a collision with a fuel truck on Wednesday 24 May 2017. According to official reports, the plane was in the process of landing when it hit the fuel truck, causing damage to the front and the wing of the plane. The aircraft then spun out of control, stopping just short of one of the building structures. Despite a hard collision with the truck, and extensive damage to the plane, there was no fuel leakage from the truck after the incident. Only minor injuries were reported by one of the two individuals on board, both of whom declined any medical treatment at the scene. The situation could have been different had the fuel tanker leaked, or had the plane been going any faster. The 1976 de Havilland “Twin Otter” DHC-6 suffered severe damage to both the right wing and the nose of the aircraft. It wasn't immediately clear whether the aircraft was being rented by the dropzone or whether it is owned by Perris. After the series of plane crashes in the past 2 years, this incident will go down as a best case scenario, with no fatalities or severe injuries. The information as to exactly what happened to cause the plane to collide with the tanker wasn't immediately published, and would likely warrant an investigation prior to any public information being released.
  9. admin

    Survival Skills for Canopy Control

    Landing Accidents Avoid landing accidents by doing all you can to eliminate landing off the DZ. As soon as you're open, evaluate the spot. When faced with a bad spot, quickly find out how far you can go by using the accuracy trick. You can greatly extend your parachute's capability to get you back to the DZ by learning how to use the entire control range to your advantage. The accuracy trick will help you learn how to quickly choose the best toggle or riser position for any bad spot. Why deal with unfamiliar hazards off the DZ? Avoid them through better canopy control. A. The Accuracy Trick Defined Find the point on the ground that doesn't move. 1. Choose a point on the ground in front of you. If it seems to move towards you (the angle gets steeper in your field of vision), then you will fly past that point. If the point seems to move up or away (the angle to the point gets flatter in your field of vision), then you won't make it that far, unless something changes. If you keep looking between these two points, you will find one point on the ground that does not appear to move in your field of vision at all. (The visual angle doesn't change.) I call that point the "special point" that doesn't move. The visual angle to all other points on the ground seem to move outward from this point as you travel towards it. 2. If the winds never changed, and you never moved your toggles, you would end up crashing into the ground right on that special point! If the winds do change, you can tell right away because the special point that wasn't moving will start to move as soon as the winds change. That means there is a new point that doesn't move. A new special point replaces the old one. That special point will also start to move if you change your toggle position. B. Using The Old Accuracy Trick 1. When you have a tail wind and the spot is quite long: Find the toggle position that would take you to a point furthest past the DZ. Then you will arrive at the DZ with the most altitude (and most options) remaining. A simple rule such as, "on a long spot with a tailwind, fly half brakes," may be better than nothing, but it is far from ideal. To avoid the off-airport landing, you may need better performance than a simple guideline can give. With a strong tail wind, it is likely that going to deeper brakes will help even more, but how much brakes? Use the accuracy trick to choose what control position works the best in the particular tailwind you have at the time: Find the special point, then add some brakes. See how you have a new special point as you change the toggles? If the visual angle to the new point is flatter, you are doing better. The visual angle to the old point will get steeper and steeper. Now add some more brakes. If your field of vision changes again just as described, then you're doing even better. Each time you change the toggles, (or each time the wind changes), you will have a new special point. Add more brakes. You're flying really slowly now. If the visual angle to the new point is steeper, then you're not doing as well. If this is the case, the visual angle to the old point will get flatter and flatter. So reduce the brakes back to the optimum. 2. If you have a tailwind coming slightly from one side, and you have a long spot, quickly choose the right crab angle to fly a straight path to the DZ. You've turned towards the DZ and have chosen the best brake position that would take you to a point furthest past the DZ by using the accuracy trick described above. You can draw an imaginary straight line between you and the special point, through the intended landing point. If you start drifting off this line, immediately make a crab angle that will keep you on this line. See how the visual angle to the special point changes as you create the crab angle? Adjust the brakes to put that special point in the best position again. If you were really deep in the brakes, you will probably need less brakes after you create a crab angle. Do not "home" back to the DZ by pointing straight at it while drifting sideways. Since the crosswind will blow you slightly off the wind line, you will likely readjust your heading again and again to point back towards the DZ, without ever counteracting the crosswind at all. This means you will be flying a long arc back to the DZ. The quickest way back is a straight line, so crab rather than home! 3. What about a headwind on a long spot? If you have a headwind, the special point that doesn't move will be quite close to you. If you need to fly past this point to get to a safe landing area, you will probably need to use front risers. (Make sure your canopy is quite stable on front risers before using this technique) How much front risers? Use the accuracy trick to find out! Try a little front riser and the special point will move. (The angle will start changing). Try a little more and it will move again. Try a little more. Did the point move the wrong direction? That's too much front riser. See how this method works to determine the best control position in any bad spot situation? How about a headwind coming from slightly from one side? 4. Don't forget to leave yourself plenty of safety margin. Use the accuracy trick in this way to get back to a safe place, but be careful to avoid fixating on this technique so much that we forget to use our safe options while they still exist. Make sure you leave yourself plenty of altitude and maneuvering room to plan a safe approach and landing. II. Learn To Fly Defensively A. Defensive Flying Has Two Basic Parts 1. Developing such high skill that you get to the ground safely in spite of the stupid things people are doing all around you. 2. Developing such good judgement that you make your decisions in a way that helps create safer situations for yourself and others. B. Stage The Approaches To Avoid Heavy Traffic Many of the worst accidents are collisions that occur at landing time, often because there are just too many canopies going too many directions to be safe! Staging the traffic can help reduce this risk. 1.To create more seperation from other traffic. After opening decide quickly whether it is best to float or dive, assuming the spot is good enough to allow for some maneuvering. The goal is to prevent a high frequency of landings occurring in a short period of time. Less traffic density means less chance of an accident. This is similar to the idea that eliminating tailgating reduces the chance of accidents on the highway. To stage the approaches to the landing area, you must look way ahead and predict how the traffic will arrive at the landing area. Then, adjust your fight path so that you have as little traffic as possible when you are landing. The more people on the load using this technique the better! Noticing heavy traffic when you're already on final approach is too late! Planning is the name of the game. 2. How do you stage the approaches? First, look all around you after opening. See where everyone is. Ask yourself two questions: Are you near the top of the bunch or near the bottom? Is your canopy loaded more heavily or more lightly than the others? Then: If you're more towards the bottom, and have an average wing loading for the group: You should land as soon as possible. You're trying to stretch out the time period that all the landings will occur by getting the landing process started sooner. If you don't do this, you may start crowding up the traffic behind you, just like a car driver would if he drove slowly in the fast lane. If you're more towards the bottom, but have a big floaty canopy: The faster traffic will probably catch up and pass you. Where would you prefer this to happen? If you dive down and try to set up on final approach early, you will probably be passed during your final approach. In this case, assuming the spot is good, it might be better to float in the brakes right from the start. This will force the faster traffic to pass you while you are still quite high. Being passed up high is safer than being passed on final approach. If you're more towards the top: You should try to float in the brakes. You're trying to stretch out the time period that all the landings will occur, by landing later. This is easy if you are on a larger floaty canopy. What if you're more towards the the top, but you have a high wing loading? If you're loaded heavily, you can still probably float in brakes quite well. Try to stay up with the big floaty canopies, until you find the biggest gap in the traffic that is below you. Then you fly down and fill that biggest gap. That gap is usually just in front of the big floaty canopies. C. Learn The Habits Of Others Anticipating the actions of others will help keep you out of trouble.Here are some examples: 1. The indecisive slow poke. This is someone with a big canopy that likes to do sashays while in the final approach area. If you're flying a much faster canopy, don't follow him on his downwind leg. You may get stuck behind him, needing to pass him on late final. The problem is, you may not be able to predict where he will be when you pass! Better to pass him earlier on, or turn your base leg early, landing more up-wind than him. Perhaps you can land somewhere else. Just don't cut him off, because he might get overloaded by the whole thing and make a mistake, causing an accident. 2. The last-second hook turner. This guy loves to do low toggle-turns, way lower than you're willing to risk. If you're following him back from a bad spot, don't wait for him to turn into the wind before you do! You'll probably be turning lower than you want to be! If he is following close behind you and below you, he might be obstructing your turn into the wind. Remove yourself from this situation while there is still plenty of altitude. 3. Have you ever known someone who likes landing downwind for fun? In today's jumping environment, you have to be ready for anything, so keep lots of options open. D. Diffuse The Hot Landing Area This you do by taking the initiative to land somewhere else. Walking is healthy! It's better than being carried back on a stretcher. By choosing to land somewhere else, rather than joining into the already crowded traffic on final to the "cool" landing area, you'll make it safer for yourself, as well as making the "cool" landing area a little less crowded for the others. E. Check The Spot Early During The Skydive Many marginal spots are made worse by aimlessly wandering around for a few seconds while figuring out where you are. If you can do so quickly, check the spot during climb out if you're a floater waiting for others to climb out. Check it if you have an idle second or two during freefall. Checking the spot early and frequently will give you advance warning of a bad spot. You will know, right away, which direction to fly the canopy. You might even decide to leave a touch early, to start getting safe separation sooner, and therefore permit a little higher opening too. F. Improve Your Tracking You'll get safe separation sooner, if you improve your tracking. Then you can deploy your canopy higher and avoid problems with bad spots. This will help you avoid the off-airport landing. You can also get more separation, which will reduce chances of a collision during opening. 1. How much separation is necessary? The higher the wing loading on the load, the more separation is required. Most people are way too comfortable with way too little separation! You should be able to have an off-heading opening facing directly towards another jumper and still have enough separation to allow for a rear riser turn to avoid a collision. Blaming off-heading openings for canopy collisions is a major cop-out. 2. To Improve your tracking, first improve your attitude: be dissatisfied! You must be dissatisfied with your present tracking, or you will have no real incentive to improve. Satisfaction with your tracking is a trap and an ego protection device. This ego protection device helps you make your bad excuses for poor tracking more believable. One bad excuse is, "That jerk tracked right over my head when I was ready to pull." Really? Or did you track too steeply and not see where you were going? Be dissatisfied and you'll get constant improvement. 3. With your attitude changed, now experiment with technique. Many people have not really experimented with body positions for tracking, so you often see poor tracking. I suggest that you occasionally devote an entire skydive just to tracking. You'll have plenty of time to experiment. Make sure you track away from the line of flight, to avoid conflicts with other jumpers. 4. Avoid these common errors: Arching. This is OK for a beginner, but it causes a steep track. De-arching makes the track flatter. Try bending a little at the waist. Knees and ankles bent. This slows the track, making it mushy and steep. Straight knees and pointed toes are better, and they should push down onto the relative wind. Arms up, streamlined with relative wind. This causes a steeper track also. The arms should be pressing down onto relative wind to make the track flatter. Legs and arms too close together. This does not help the speed much, and usually causes difficulty avoiding a rolling motion side to side. A slightly spread position, with feet almost shoulder width, and hands 6" 12" from torso is better because it aids in stability and makes it easier to deflect more relative wind. 5. When you leave a formation and track up and away, rather than down and away, you're starting to get the hang of it! On most jumps the fall rate is fast while doing RW, and the body is arched. Since the track should be de-arched and flat, a good track may actually have a lower descent rate than the formation! III. Conclusions I have not covered reducing the risks of normal landings and swoop landings because that will be addressed in a different seminar. As you can see, I believe that most of the canopy survival skills are a combination of improving skills and developing better judgment. Because of my emphasis on improvements, there can be no end to this process, and no real conclusion. I do not wish to fall into the too common trap of thinking that I've completed my learning process and I'm safe from harm. I've seen that this is a deadly trap. That is why I would like to encourage you all to share your ideas on the subject with me. I hope I have presented to you some thought provoking ideas and concepts that you can use to help you reduce the risk of accidents at your DZ.
  10. admin

    What is In a First Aid Kit

    We all know that our sport can be dangerous and deadly when accidents occur. When they do occur the best defense is to be prepared to deal with the injuries that may be present. The local paramedics should be called right away but what if your DZ is isolated from the local town or maybe the injury is minor and does not need professional help. What sort of things should you have on your Drop Zone? Where should the first aid equipment be located? What involvement can the local rescue squad, fire department and police department have? All of these questions will be addressed. While one DZ with a trained medical professional may have first aid equipment items A, B, C, D and E. A local DZ without trained personnel may only have A and B. There are many things that can be useful in the case of an emergency but many medical supplies can be dangerous and deadly if you do not have the proper knowledge to use them. Every DZ should have a basic first aid kit. The kit should include bandages to control bleeding, ice packs for injuries, slings for upper extremity injuries, splints for fractures, ace wraps for sprains, sterile saline or hydrogen peroxide or isopropyl alcohol to clean cuts and abrasions. What else should you have? Shears or heavy scissors to cut off clothing, jump suits or rigs if the need arises. A watch with a second hand. This will allow you to accurately check the pulse or respirations per minute. A stethoscope and blood pressure cuff. These are fairly simple to use and you can learn quickly from a trained medical professional how to take an accurate blood pressure. A pen and notepad can be invaluable. They can be used to record the time of injury, pulse, respirations, blood pressure, phone numbers and also to mark where a pulse can be felt on an injured arm or leg. What else can be useful? There are many things that can be useful to someone trained in the medical field. Things that I have found useful at the DZ are oxygen tanks and masks, cervical collars and intravenous equipment to start fluid resuscitation to name a few. These are not things that should be used haphazardly and can be harmful if not used properly by trained medical professionals. However, if you are the DZO or ST&A; at a local DZ and have trained paramedics, nurses or physicians discuss with them what they would be comfortable having available in the event of emergency and have that equipment available to them. Where should you put the First Aid Kit The kit should be placed in a central location. It should be easily accessible and everyone that will be involved in the case of an injury should know its location. There is no point in having it locked in a locker or office if everyone has to go searching for the person with the key. At some larger DZ's there may realistically be a need for more than one first aid kit depending on the layout of the DZ. If you have a trained medical professional on the DZ and have supplies that should be used only by those with a medical license, separate the equipment. Have a central, accessible kit containing only basic equipment including bandages, ice packs, splints, etc. In a more secure location have a second first aid kit with more advanced equipment that will only be given to those who are trained to use it. Get People Involved For the past few years at Skydive Cross Keys the DZO has worked closely with the local fire department and rescue squad. Every spring the local departments come to the DZ with all of their equipment. On site at the DZ they practice extricating a skydiver from a tree and run drills with different accident scenarios. The fire and rescue personnel also get familiarized with skydiving equipment and learn first hand about the helmets, jumpsuits and rigs. Give your local squad a call and find out if they would be interested in doing similar drills at your DZ. Get the local authorities prepared if you are planning upcoming events at your DZ. If you have a boogie, competition or other large event planned let the local fire and rescue department know when the event will run and how many skydivers you expect. This allows the medical personnel to be prepared for injuries. Most large events that are held at my home DZ have an ambulance stationed at the DZ throughout most of the day. As the busy skydiving season approaches for many DZ's step back and evaluate if you are as prepared as you can be. Talk to local jumpers who are medically trained. Open up the old first aid kit that is on the DZ. Are there things that need to be replaced or added to make the kit complete? Call the local ambulance or fire department and invite them to come to the DZ, practice their drills and receive an introduction to the gear they might run into. Accidents do happen, and the best medicine is to be prepared when it happens.
  11. admin

    Wind Drift & Exit Order Graphic

    This graphic is based directly on the output of John Kallend's freefall simulation program set to the following conditions: Aircraft speed of 85 mph (125 fps) Fast faller exiting first Slow faller exiting second, 10 seconds later Winds aloft of 35 mph (51 fps), ending at 8000 feet To view a graphic of the same conditions but the exit order reversed, click here. This is what CAN happen under THESE conditions. It goes without saying that there are endless possibilities and variables besides those presented here. I believe it is important to note Kallend's remarks regarding the creation of his program: I tried to avoid anything that included the vagaries of human behavior, as far as possible. The two cases I consider could be considered as extrema. One is a belly flier who maintains constant attitude with respect to the relative wind, and falls at a speed achieving a 65 second freefall from 14000 ft. The second is a head down flier maintaining constant attitude and taking 50 seconds. I determined the ballistic coefficients by back-calculation (fancy term for "trial and error"). I don't think a belly flier will go less far in forward throw than my calculation, and I don't think a head downer will go farther. Someone who 'mixes it up' will go some intermediate distance. Most of the belly fliers I know maintain an essentially constant attitude unless they funnel. I suspect the head downers may vary (I don't freefly). Also missing are such things as systematic backsliding, freaking around, etc. I believe these will impose a random spread on the calculated paths." -John Kallend, Ph.D. Conclusion Many people have assumed, based on the arguments posed by this graphic, that it is a case for making fast fallers always exit after slow fallers. This is not the purpose of the graphic. There are instances where, as a DZO, I would have the fast fallers exiting first. An example might be if I had a DZ on an island and the spot was critical; I might consider the risk caused by a premature deployment to be less than the risk posed by drowning skydivers. At a wide-open DZ (like Skydive Arizona), out landings are less of a hazard, and the horizontal separation ensured by putting fast fallers out last becomes the deciding factor. The bottom line is that there is much more to consider than wind drift and fall rates. Every drop zone needs to adopt a policy that provides the best safety under the conditions and types of skydiving that take place. There is no single solution that works for everybody all the time. Perhaps most importantly, skydivers need to be educated about the effects of wind drift, fall rate, and time. Time is the key to understanding freefall drift; it is a basic observation that a slow falling group will experience more drift because it is drifting for a longer period of time than a fast falling group. While they are in the same moving air mass, they are drifting horizontally at the same rate, but they experience different periods of time in that air mass (in the above example, 29 seconds for the fast faller and 36 seconds for the slow faller). In conditions where there are extremely high winds aloft, it is possible for a slow falling group, exiting well after a fast falling group, to open up several thousand feet downwind of the first group. -Tim Wagner, D-10552 Further Resources: Winsor Naugler's Another Look at Descent Kinematics John Kallend's Interactive Java Freefall Simulation
  12. admin

    German video man dies at Eloy Arizona

    A videographer from Germany died on Monday February 28, 2000 at Eloy Arizona. Early reports suggest that the incident happened because of a Spectra suspension line snagging under the grommet on the main loop retainer on a Javelin rig. The main loop retainer was attached to the reserve divider wall. Reports suggest that his reserve was deployed into the trailing mess resulting in a main-reserve entanglement. Although the modes of malfunction was different this scenario is similar the incident on Saturday January 8, 2000 when James Martin a competitor in the Rumbleseat Meet at Perris Valley outside Los Angeles died during the first round of competition. James Martin spun in under a main-reserve entanglement after a suspension line snagged on the top main flap grommet. He was jumping a Reflex rig. This incident prompted Fliteline Systems to issue a Product Service Bulletin (PSB #FSI-SB-1004) for all Reflex containers. Relative Workshop has issued a PSB (#20000302) for all Relative Workshop Vector I & II Harness/Container Systems that have a closing loop retainer that incorporates a grommet on a Type 12 webbing extension, attached to the reserve/main container divider wall. The changes involve removing the closing loop tab permanently from the reserve wall and using the bottom flap grommet for a closing loop attachment point with an added modification. A similar incident occurred a few years ago in Australia and it is apparent that line hang ups have been happening more often than most people realize. No further details are available at this time.
  13. DAYTON TOWNSHIP. The third skydiver to die in eight days at Skydive Chicago in Dayton Township was killed Sunday afternoon. Bruce A. Greig, 38, of Jacksonville fell to earth at about 12:46 p.m. when witnesses reported his parachute failed to properly deploy, according to La Salle County Coroner Jody Bernard. Greig landed on Skydive Chicago property south of the hangar. He was taken by ambulance to Community Hospital of Ottawa, where he was pronounced dead at 1:30 p.m. An autopsy was scheduled for today and the Federal Aviation Administration was notified. Greig was an experienced jumper, according to his father, Curt Greig, of Jacksonville. "He loved skydiving and talked about it all the time", Curt Greig said in a subdued voice. He was there (Chicago Skydive) every weekend and loved that group (fellow parachutists) up there. Curt Greig said his son was a friend of Deborah Luhmann and Steven Smith, who died Oct. 6 in a skydiving mishap at Chicago Skydive and attended their funerals last week. Bruce Greig was a program installer with AGI based in Melrose Park.
  14. Curt Vogelsang captures some hot canopy-on-canopy action. Y’know when you don't feel like getting out of bed in the morning? Your main parachute is likely a lot brighter-eyed and bushier-tailed than you are, but every once in a good long while it just doesn't feel like getting out and doing its job. Y’know? Relatable. Kidding aside: When you throw your hand-deployed pilot chute but the container stays closed -- trapping the main deployment bag inside, helpless to deliver you a parachute -- you’ve gotchaself a pilot-chute-in-tow. In other words: you’ve got nothing out, which makes you the clenchy, concerned (and hopefully very temporary) owner of a high-speed mal. You’d better get on that, buddy. Stat. But how? Deploy the reserve immediately or cut away first and then deploy the reserve? One Handle or Two Handles: The Cagematch If you’re not sure which you’d choose,* you’re certainly not the first. This particular point has been the subject of roaring contention since the invention of the BOC, my friends. (Guaranteed: the comments section below will corroborate my statement. I can sense people sharpening their claymores and dunking their arrows in poison even now.) There’s a school that says -- well, duh -- get your damn reserve out, like right now what are you waiting for. There’s another school that calls that school a bunch of mouth-breathing pasteeaters. The latter group insists that you'd better go through the procedures you know lest you mess it up when it counts. They usually follow up by spitting on a photograph of the first group’s mother and wondering aloud why the first group is even allowed to skydive. Then they start punching each other. Images by Joe Nesbitt The USPA Skydiver’s Information Manual doesn’t make a move to break up the fight. It stands clear of the flying arms and legs and says, “Y’know -- they both kinda have a point.” Section 5-1 of the manual says this, verbatim: “Procedure 1: Pull the reserve immediately. A pilot-chute-in-tow malfunction is associated with a high descent rate and requires immediate action. The chance of a main-reserve entanglement is slim, and valuable time and altitude could be lost by initiating a cutaway prior to deploying the reserve. Be prepared to cut away. “Procedure 2: Cut away, then immediately deploy the reserve. Because there is a chance the main could deploy during or as a result of reserve activation, a cutaway might be the best response in some situations.” Let’s look a little closer at the options, then, shall we? Option One: Not Even Gonna Bother With That Cutaway Handle. Pro: Immediately yanking out that reserve saves a step. When AGL counts (and golly, doesn’t it?), saving a step can save a life. Many skydivers are quick to point out specific incidents in which jumpers with PCiTs have gone in with sealed magical backpacks, having failed to pull both handles (or pull any handle at all) while the clock was ticking. Gulp. Con: It takes the pressure off (in a potentially bad way). As the reserve leaves the container, there’s a chance that it can take the sealing pressure off the flaps that are keeping the main container closed. The main can then leap to freedom and deploy at the same time as the reserve. At this point, you might wind up with an entanglement, a side-by-side, biplane or downplane to figure out.** Option Two: Get Off The Field, Main Parachute. Reserve, You’re In! Pro: It’s the same stuff you’ve been taught to do for every other reserve-requisite malfunction. ...If you initiate the reserve deployment clearly, confidently, and as early as possible, of course. After all: making a one-off exception for a single kind of malfunction can be tricky. A jumper might well spend a little too much time thinking it over (‘Am I going for my reserve handle first right now? ‘Cause that’s weird. Is that okay?’) when they should just be yanking the stuffing out of their emergency handles. Going through the real-life motions of the little dance you do before you get on every load makes more sense to your body, for sure. Con: You’re adding more complexity to the situation than you may realize. Especially if you don’t have secure riser covers, the (jealous?) cut-away main risers might sneak out of the container and grab for the reserve as it deploys. Another thing: the main is very likely to wiggle free, detach from the harness as soon as it catches air and do its best to entangle with your Option B. The latter kerfuffle is made much more likely when you add a single-sided reserve static line to the mix, turning the already-dismaying situation into something of a tug-of-war. Neither of these choices sounds like the cherry on top of a lovely afternoon; I know. At some point, however, you may be forced to make one. If you do, you’d better have a plan in mind. Not in the mood to make that choice? Me neither. Luckily, there are some steps you can take to better your chances of never seeing a PCiT -- and in next week’s article, I’ll tell you what they are. --------- *If you have a Racer (or any container with a cross-connected RSL), you do not have a choice. You must pull the reserve without cutting away. Do not pass ‘go,’ do not collect $200. In that particular configuration, the main will choke off the reserve if the cutaway has been pulled. If this unnerves you, get thee to a rigger to discuss it. **Head over the PIA.com to check out a handy study they did in 1997 regarding the management of two-out situations. It’s called the “Dual Square Report.”
  15. admin

    Skydiving Glossary

    This glossary of skydiving terms accompanies the Student Skydiver's Handbook, by Bryan Burke. Click on the letter corresponding to the first letter of the word you are looking for: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T UV W XYZ Use the "Back" button on your brower to return to the top of the Glossary to search for more words. The Letter A AAD. Automatic Activation Device. A device that senses rate of descent and altitude and which will attempts to mechanically activate the reserve parachute if the skydiver passes below a set altitude at a high rate of descent. A/C. Aircraft. Accuracy. Also known as Precision Landing, this is a competition discipline in which the skydiver attempts to land on an established target. At the National level the target is 3 cm in diameter, about the size of a quarter. Accuracy landings of various difficulty, from 20 meters to 2 meters, are required for USPA licenses. See the SIM for details. AFF. Accelerated Free Fall. An AFF student receives training on freefall jumps of 40 seconds or longer, accompanied by a qualified jumpmaster, as opposed to Static Line training which does not involve long freefall in the initial training phase. AGL. Above Ground Level. Altitudes are in reference either to Ground Level of Sea Level (see MSL). Skydivers always use AGL when referring to altitude. Airspeed. The speed of a flying object through the air, commonly used in reference to aircraft or canopies. Altimeter. A device indicating altitude. Angle of attack. The angle at which the wing is presented to the apparent wind. With square parachutes this changes when the brakes are applied. Angle of incidence. The angle at which a canopy is trimmed to glide through the air. Apparent wind. The wind perceived by an observer. See relative wind. ASP. Skydive Arizona's version of AFF, the Accelerated Skydiving Program includes two tandem jumps and an enhanced version of the AFF syllabus. ASTRA. An AAD made by FXC Corporation. Aspect ratio. The ratio of a canopys width (side to side) to breadth (front to back). Seven cell canopies typically have an aspect ratio of about 2.2 to one, while nine cell canopies are usually between 2.8 and 3.0 to one. The Letter B Backslide. To move backward in freefall relative to a neutral reference. Usually unintentional and undesirable, caused by poor body position. Bag. The deployment bag in which the canopy is packed. Base. The core around which a formation skydive is built. Can be a single person or a group of people, depending on the number of skydivers involved. BASE jump. A jump made from a fixed object rather than an aircraft. BASE is an acronym for building, antennae, spans (bridges) and earth (cliff). Beech. Short for Beechcraft, an aircraft manufacturer. Usually used in reference to a Beech D-18, a.k.a. Twin Beech. At one time these were common skydiving planes, but they are becoming obsolete. BOC. Bottom of Container. Refers to the location of the pilot chute. An increasingly common position for main deployment devices, as opposed to belly or leg mounted. Body position. Ones freefall body posture. Variations in body position are what make a wide range of freefall maneuvers possible. Boogie. A gathering of skydivers, usually focused on fun rather than competition. Big drop zones host several boogies a year, often on long holiday weekends. Bounce. To land at unsurvivable speed. Also to frap, or go in. Box man. A neutral, face to earth body position in which the arms form right angles at shoulder and elbow, and the legs are spread at about 45 degrees from the long axis and bent 45 degrees at the knees. Generally considered the ideal position for Formation Skydiving. Brakes. The brake lines of the canopy are synonymous with steering lines. Used together, they slow the parachute. Used independently they result in a turn. Break off. To cease formation skydiving by tracking away from the formation prior to deployment. Bridle. The thin webbing strap from the pilot chute to the top of the canopy. Part of the deployment system which consists of pilot chute, bag and bridle. BSR. Basic Safety Requirements. BSRs are USPA guidelines. They do not have force of law but are generally regarded as excellent minimum safety standards. Burble. The area of turbulence behind an object going through the air, whether a person in freefall or a canopy in flight. The Letter C Call. The time remaining until you are to board the aircraft. For example, a fifteen minute call means you will board in fifteen minutes. Canopy. The construction of fabric and lines used to land safely after a freefall. Usually used in conjunction with a type reference (round, square, zero-p, main or reserve). Cascade. The point where two lines join together so they run smoothly into one. Cascading the suspension lines results in reduced bulk and drag. Cell. Square canopies are made up of pressurized cells, usually seven or nine. Each cell consists of a load bearing rib at each side to which the suspension lines are attached. A third, non load bearing rib runs down the middle of the cell. The cell is pressurized through the open mouth at the front and also through cross ports in the ribs. Adjacent cells share load bearing ribs. Center point. The point around which movement takes place. In an individual the center point is considered to be in the middle of the torso. In a group, it is the point that the formation centers around. Cessna. An aircraft manufacturer. Single engined Cessnas such as 180s, 182s and 206s are the workhorse of smaller drop zones, carrying four to six jumpers. Chute assis. French for sit flying, or freefalling with one's seat presented to the relative wind. Closing loop. The small loop that holds the flaps of the container closed once the pin has been guided through the loop. Coach. A skydiver with some formal training in the art of instructing freefall technique. Container. The element of the parachute that houses the canopies. Technically, the Harness/Container but usually just referred to as the container. Crabbing. A canopy is crabbing when it is flown at an angle sideways to the ambient wind, resulting in a path across the ground that is sideways as well as forwards. Creep. To creep is to practice formation skydiving sequences while laying prone on a creeper. Creeper. A board equipped with wheels on which a skydiver lays to simulate freefall maneuvers. Cross ports. Holes in the ribs of a cell that allow air to flow from one cell to another. Current. To "be current" is to have jumped recently enough to retain proficiency in the sport. Uncurrent skydivers, depending on their experience, must be supervised to some degree when they resume jumping. See the SIM. Cut away. To release the main parachute, cutting away is a standard emergency procedure prior to deploying the reserve. More properly known as a breakaway, the technique did involve using a simple release system activated by pulling a handle. CRW. Canopy Relative Work, now officially known as Canopy Formations. CRW involves flying open canopies in close formation, where the pilots actually take grips on each other's parachutes. CYPRES. A type of AAD. Made by AirTech of Germany, this is the most common type of AAD and the first modern design to be widely adopted by expert skydivers. The Letter D DC-3. A type of aircraft, the Douglas DC-3 is a large, twin engined airplane capable of carrying over 40 jumpers. Like the Twin Beech, DC-3s are being rapidly replaced by more modern turbine engined aircraft. De-arch. To flatten out or reverse one's body position from the normal arched box man. A de-arch results in a slower fall rate than an arch. Dacron. A common construction material for canopy suspension lines. Dacron lines are thicker and softer than so called "microlines". Data card. Every parachute carries a data card with information on the reserve parachute, including type, last date packed, owner, serial number, etc. Dead spider. Slang for de-arch. Decision altitude. The altitude at which a skydiver is trained to begin execution of emergency procedures. Usually 2,500 feet AGL for students, and 1,800 feet for expert skydivers. Deployment system. The components of the parachute that control deployment of the canopy. Includes pilot chute, bridle and bag. Dirt dive. To rehearse a skydive on the ground. Dive floater. A dive floater is a skydiver who is inside the airplane in the exit line up, but leaving prior to the base. This configuration only occurs on large formations. Dive loops. Many advanced skydivers have loops or "blocks" on their front risers to make it easy to grip the front risers for steering purposes. Also called front riser loops. Diver. Anyone diving out of the plane during a formation skydiving exit. Door jam. To practice an exit in the aircraft door of a mock up of it prior to the skydive. DOS - Double or Dual Action System Down plane. A CRW formation with two canopies, both pointed toward the ground. This can also occur to a single skydiver with both main and reserve deployed. Drop zone. Common slang for a skydiving center, also DZ. Dytter. A brand of audible altimeter. The Letter E Elliptical. A wing shape characterized by a tapering leading and trailing edge so that the middle of the canopy is wider, front to back, than the ends. This configuration is typical of many high performance canopies. End cell. The cell furthers out on a canopy. Exit weight. The total weight of the jumper and all equipment and clothing. The Letter F F-111. A fabric common in mid range canopies, F-111 is slightly permeable to air and wears faster than zero-p fabric. Pronounced "F one eleven". FAA. The Federal Aviation Administration is the agency of the US government that regulates aviation activity, including skydiving. FAI. Federation Aeronautique International. The international organization governing air sports. FARs. Federal Aviation Regulations, the laws governing aviation. Fall rate. The speed at which a skydiver falls. Matching fall rate is essential to successful formation skydiving. This is done with jumpsuits, weights and body position. Finger trap. A method of installing a loop in a brake line without producing rough spots on the lines, the finger trap is accomplished by sliding one line into the other. The loop serves as a method of setting brakes in the desired position for the parachutes deployment. Flare. The act of pulling down the brakes of the canopy in order to slow it down, resulting in an increased angle of attack and reduced descent rate. Floater. Skydivers who leave the airplane before the base are called floaters since they must use a slow fall rate to get up to the base. Floating also refers to an exit position outside the airplane. Freestyle. A type of skydiving characterized by acrobatic individual flying, reminiscent of gymnastics. FS. Formation Skydiving, formerly known as relative work. In FS, skydivers attempt to go through a predetermined sequence of freefall formations. Formation. 1) A freefall skydiving formation of more than one jumper. 2) A flight of more than one jump plane. Funnel. A funnel occurs when one or more skydivers find themselves in an unstable body position and end up in a skydivers burble. The resulting loss of stability for the other skydivers usually causes the formation to break up. FXC. A company manufacturing AADs. One FXC design is common on students but considered by many to be unsuitable for expert skydivers. A new FXC design, the ASTRA, went on the market in the spring of 1996 and is relatively unknown. The Letter G Glide ratio. The distance a canopy flies forward compared to down. A canopy with a 3:1 glide ratio flies three feet forward for every foot of vertical descent. GPS. Global Positioning System. By picking up signals from satellites, a GPS receiver can tell the user position over the ground. Used in skydiving aircraft to spot the exit. Grips. Using the hands to hold onto another skydiver in freefall or during the aircraft exits. In formation skydiving, the formations are scored as complete when every skydiver has taken the correct grips. Grippers. Hand holds built onto formation skydiving jumpsuits to make it easier to take grips. Ground speed. The speed of an airplane or skydiver over the ground, as opposed to through the air. The Letter H Hand deploy. To activate the parachute by manually deploying the pilot chute as opposed to pulling a ripcord. Harness/container. The webbing and fabric holding the main and reserve canopies to the skydiver. Heading. The direction an aircraft, skydiver, or parachute is facing. The ability to recognize and maintain heading is crucial to jumping with others successfully. "On" or "off" heading are terms commonly used to describe exits and deployments. Holding. When a parachute is flying directly into the ambient wind, it is said holding. See running and crabbing. Hook knife. A small knife carried in the jumpsuit or on the parachute harness, the hook knife is designed to cut lines or webbing. A small razor blade is recessed in a hook shaped handle to prevent unintentional cuts. Hook turn. A turn of 90 degrees or more executed close to the ground. Because of the high risk associated with this maneuver, hook turns have an unfavorable connotation. Hot fuel. When the airplane does not shut down during fueling. Do not board the aircraft while fueling is in progress. The Letter I In date. A reserve packed within the previous 120 days is said to be "in date". If more than 120 days have elapsed since the reserve was packed it is"out of date" and illegal to use. Instructor. Someone who has held a USPA jumpmaster rating for at least one year and passed an Instructor Certification Course. IPC. The International Parachuting Commission oversees sport parachuting. It is a committee of the FAI. The Letter J Jump run. The flight path taken by the jump plane to put the skydivers in position over the airport. Jumpsuit. A cover all type garment designed for specific skydiving applications such as FS, freestyle or accuracy. Jumpmaster. Someone who has successfully attended a USPA Jumpmaster Certification Course. A jumpmaster has all of the privileges of an Instructor except that they cannot supervise a first jump course, sign off licenses, or manage a student program without an instructor's supervision. The Letter K Key. A signal to move on to the next step in a skydive. King Air. A turbine aircraft made by Beechcraft and common in medium sized drop zones. The Letter L Line of flight. An imaginary line corresponding to the jump plane's path over the ground, the line of flight is a useful reference line on larger formation skydives. Also, during the jump run the skydivers will be distributed along this line of flight. Log book. Like pilots or sailors, skydivers log their activity and achievements in order to document their experience. LORAN. A navigational system similar to GPS except based on ground transmitters, LORAN is relatively obsolete. The Letter M MSL. Mean sea level. Used by pilots when defining altitude, MSL refers to feet above sea level as opposed to above the ground. Pilots always use MSL when referring to altitude. Main. The primary parachute. Manifest. 1) The list of skydivers on the jump plane. 2) The act of going to the office where this list is maintained to put yourself on a plane. 3) The location where manifesting takes place. MARDS - Main Activated Reserve Deployment System Microline. A modern type of suspension line considerably smaller than dacron line. The Letter N The Letter O Organizer. Someone with leadership skills and skydiving expertise who plans formation skydives. Otter. The DeHavilland Twin Otter, a very popular turbine jump ship carrying up to 23 jumpers. Out landing. Landing off target. Out of date. See in date. The Letter P Packing data card. See data card. Peas. Pea gravel, used in the landing area as a target reference and because it is forgiving of hard landings. Pin. 1) The skydiver who first gets to the base. Base/pin are the two people around which many formations are built. 2) The act of docking on the base. 3) The closing pin of the main or reserve container, which should both be checked prior to jumping. Pit. The pea gravel area. Pilot chute. A small, round parachute that acts as a drogue to extract the main parachute from the container and deploy it. PLF. Parachute landing fall. A technique used to minimize injury during rough landings, a PLF distributes the landing shock along feet, calves, thighs, hip and shoulder. Porter. A single engined turbine aircraft carrying up to ten jumpers. Post dive. Review of a skydive after everyone has landed. PRO rating. A USPA rating indicating competence to perform difficult demonstration jumps. Pull out. A type of hand deploy pilot chute where the pilot chute is packed inside the container and pulled out using a handle with a lanyard to the pilot chute. Pull up cord. A piece of cord or line used to pull the closing loop through the grommets of the container. Pud. Slang for the handle on a pull out pilot chute system. The Letter Q The Letter R RSL. Reserve static line. This is a line from the main risers to the reserve cable. In the event the main is cut away, it may pull the reserve pin. Note: this system is only effective in malfunctions where the main is at least partially deployed. RW. Relative work, the term used to describe formation skydiving until a change in nomenclature made by the International Parachuting Commission in the early 90s. Relative wind. The apparent wind felt by a jumper in freefall, relative wind is the result of the skydiver's speed through the air. Reserve. The auxiliary parachute carried on every intentional parachute jump. Rip cord. The deployment system on all reserves and most student parachutes. The ripcord is a piece of cable with a handle at one end and a pin at the other. When pulled, the pin comes out of the closing loop holding the container shut, and the pilot chute is released. Rig. Skydiver slang for the entire parachute, including main and reserve canopies and the harness/container. Rigger. Someone with a certificate from the FAA stating they have successfully met the requirements to be a parachute rigger. Rigger's certificate. The certificate possessed by a rigger as proof of competence. Senior riggers may make minor repairs and pack reserve and main parachutes. Master riggers may make major repairs and alterations as well as packing parachutes. Risers. The webbing that connects the harness to the suspension lines. At the bottom of the risers will be a mechanism for attaching and releasing the risers and harness, usually in the form of a three ring release. On the rear risers are the brakes/steering lines. The suspension lines attach to the top of the risers with connector links, also known as rapid links. Round. 1) A formation where each skydiver has grips on the arms of those next to him, also known as a star. 2) A round parachute, as opposed to a modern ram-air "square" parachute. Running. When a canopy is flying with the ambient wind it is said to be running. This produces the greatest possible ground speed. The Letter S S&TA. Safety and Training Advisor. The S&TA is a volunteer representative of USPA who attempts to disseminate information about safety and act as a liaison between the DZ and USPA. Most S&TAs hold instructor ratings. SCR. The oldest award for formation skydiving achievement, for those who have been in a star of at least eight people in which each person left the aircraft separately and flew to the formation. SIM. Skydiver's Information Manual. Published by the USPA, the SIM is a comprehensive manual on USPA policies and training methods. It also includes FARs pertinent to skydiving. SOS. Single Operation System. This system simplifies emergency procedures by combining the functions of the cut away and reserve handles in a single handle. Seal. Reserve parachutes have a small lead seal on a piece of red thread around the closing pin. This seal indicates the reserve has not been opened since it left the riggers hands. Sentinel. A type of AAD. Single operation system. See SOS. Skygod. Although on the surface this term refers to a superior skydiver, in drop zone use skygod is a derogatory term for a skydiver whose ego has grown faster than his skydiving ability. Slider. A rectangular piece of nylon fabric with a grommet at each corner through which the canopy's suspension lines are routed. Packed at the top of the lines, the slider controls the opening of the canopy by preventing the parachute from expanding too rapidly. Slot. A position in the skydive or on the plane. Uses: "dock in your slot", or "two slots left on the next Otter". Spectra. A material from which microline is made. Spot. The position of the aircraft when the jumpers exit. Spotting duties (selecting the spot) can be done by a skydiver or the pilot. Square. A ram air parachute as opposed to a round parachute. Stabilizer. The vertical strips of cloth depending from the end cells of the canopy. Stabilizers improve the canopy's ability to fly straight ahead and enhance efficiency by reducing tip vortices. Stall. When the angle of attack of a wing becomes too high to sustain lift, the wing is said to be stalled. Static line. In static line deployments the parachute deployment system is attached to the airplane, with a cord ten to fifteen feet long, resulting in deployment immediately after exit. Steering lines. The lines that run from the steering toggles on the rear risers to the trailing edge of the parachute. Steering toggles. Handles attached to the end of the steering lines to facilitate their use. Toggles and lines are configured so they can be stowed in a partially down position to enhance the opening of the parachute. Stow. To neatly arrange suspension lines on the deployment bag or steering toggles in their keepers. Style. A type of freefall competition where an individual skydiver attempts to execute a predetermined sequence of maneuvers in the shortest possible time. Suspension lines. The lines from the risers to the canopy. They are normally in four groups, labeled from front to back as A, B, C and D. They can be further divided into right and left or front and back riser groups, and by type of material. Swoop. 1) To dive down to a formation or individual in freefall. 2) To aggressively approach the landing area in order to produce a long, flat flare and an exciting landing. The Letter T TAF - Tandem Accelerated Freefall where the 1st 3 or 4 stages are done on tandem and then the AFF one on one jumps are done as per the standard AFF program. Tandem. Parachute jumps in which two skydivers, usually an instructor and student, share one parachute system. The student is in a separate harness that attaches to the front of the instructor's harness. Terminal velocity. The speed at which drag matches the pull of gravity, resulting in a constant fall rate. Typical terminal velocity for formation skydiving is in the 120 to 135 mile per hour range, but speeds as high as 300 miles per hour have been reached. Three ring. A parachute release mechanism that utilizes three rings of separate size in a mechanical advantage system. Invented by Bill Booth in the late 70s, the three ring release is almost universally considered the best cut away system available. Throw out. A deployment method in which the pilot chute is stowed in a pouch on the belly, leg of bottom of container. Toggles. Handles on the steering lines. Track. To assume a body position that creates a high forward speed. Used to approach or depart from other skydivers in freefall. TSO. Technical Standard Order. A technical standard that all American parachutes must meet before they can be marketed. Unless specifically exempted by the FAA, a parachute must have a TSO placard to be legal. Turn around load. When the aircraft does not shut down between loads, but lands and picks up skydivers for immediate departure. The Letters UV Uppers. The upper winds, or winds at exit altitude. The "uppers" are often much stronger and occasionally from a different direction than ground winds. USPAThe United States Parachute Association is a non profit skydiver's organization. USPA offers guidance and assistance to skydivers in training, government relations, competition, and many other fields. Most drop zones require USPA membership of individual skydivers because such membership includes third party liability insurance. The Letter W Wave off. Prior to deployment a skydiver should make a clearly defined arm motion to indicate to others nearby that he is about to open his parachute. A good wave off is essential to the avoidance of deployment collisions. WDI. Wind drift indicator. A paper streamer thrown from the jump plane to estimate winds under canopy and determine the spot. Weights. Many lighter skydivers wear a weight vest to allow them to maintain a fast fall rate. Wuffo. Skydiver slang for people who don't jump, from "Wuffo you jump out of them planes?" Wind line. An imaginary line from the desired landing area, extending directly along the direction the wind is blowing. Winds aloft. See uppers. Wing loading. The ratio of weight born by a wing to its surface area. In the US, divide your exit weight in pounds by the square footage of the canopy. The Letter XYZ Zero-p. Common slang for a type of fabric relatively impermeable to air. The less air that flows through the fabric wing of a ram air parachute, the more efficiently it flies.
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    Exit Order Safety

    Brian Germain and wife Laura Kraus launch an exit over Voss, Norway. Photo by Ron Holan There are many different views on exit order, although only some of them are based in science. The following exit order plan is based on the principle of "prop blast penetration": the degree to which a jumper remains under the aircraft based on the drag produced by their body position. When a jumper assumed a low drag body position, head down for instance, they follow a longer arc through the sky on their way to vertical descent. The fastest falling skydivers are freefliers, which means that they remain under the aircraft longest. If freefliers exit the aircraft first, their trajectory will take them toward, and often beyond the trajectory of flat flyers exiting after them. This fact has been proven time and again in the numerous close calls that have led to the creation of this exit order model. Therefore, the best way to create maximum separation between jumpers at deployment time is to have the FS "flat" jumpers exit before the freefliers, regardless of deployment altitude. Beyond this, we must also consider formation size when planning exit order. Since the last groups out of the airplane are more likely to land off the dropzone, large groups tend to exit before small groups based on the "needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few" principle of human civilization. I concur that this is a good plan, but for another set of reasons. Large groups tend to open lower than small groups due to task fixation and the need for adequate tracking time to create safe separation. This means participants of large formations should open closer to the dropzone. Further, smaller groups have the option of breaking off early, tracking perpendicular to the jumprun and pulling high to compensate for long spots, while the complexity of building a large formation makes it difficult to take such steps toward safety due to the peer pressure associated with the situation. Photo by Ron Holan The Exit Sequence So this brings us to the preliminary plan of sending the flat flyers out first, in groups largest to smallest, then the freefliers. However, since inexperienced freefliers most often remain under the aircraft for a shorter period of time than vertically oriented freefliers performing perfect zero angle of attack exits, the order should be lowest experience to highest. This also allows the more experienced freefliers to observe the exits of the novices, giving them the opportunity to give helpful advice, and to provide extra time in the door if necessary. If the previous skydiver or group is still under the airplane, do not jump. When in doubt, wait longer. Following the flats and then the vertical skydivers, we have the students and tandems. The order can be varied here, although there are some reasons to support sending the tandems out last. First, landing a tandem off the DZ is safer than landing a student into an unknown location. Second, students can sometimes get open lower than planned, which not only increases their risks of landing off, but puts the instructors at risk of landing off even more as they open lower than their students. Tandems on the other hand have the option of pulling whenever they see fit, which allows the camera flyer to get open high as well. The last groups to consider are those involved in horizontal skydives, such as tracking, "atmonauti" or steep tracking, and wingsuit pilots. The truth is, experienced horizontal skydivers can safety get out of the way of other jumpers quite easily, and can exit in any part of the order. However, in the case of two or more horizontal skydiving groups, plans must be created and followed with vigilance. For instance, one tracking group can exit first and track out and up the right side of the jumprun, while another group can exit last and offset toward the left side of the jumprun. Three horizontal groups on the same aircraft are best handled by adding a second pass, although there is a great deal of room for creative answers when wingsuit pilots are involved. Photo by Ron Holan Timing the Exits The amount of time between groups must vary based on the groundspeed of the aircraft. On a windy day, with an into-the-wind jump-run, the aircraft may move quite slowly across the ground, reducing separation between jumpers. This requires significant time between exits, perhaps as much as 15 seconds or more on a windy day or a slow airplane. The separation between groups can be increased quite easily on windy days by crabbing the aircraft with respect to the upper level winds, a practice that has become increasingly common at large dropzones. For a scientific explanation of exit separation, please read John Kallend’s PowerPoint, found here. Many jumpers believe that once the freefall is over, there is no way to prevent a collision. However, given the glide ratio of modern parachutes, we have the ability to close the gap quickly after opening by pointing our canopies in the wrong direction. Given the fact that the vast majority of skydivers will be opening reasonably close to the jumprun, immediately flying up or down the line of flight is pretty much always a poor choice. Therefore, once you have cleared your airspace and pulled, your job is to look for traffic in your immediate vicinity and then fly your parachute perpendicular to the jumprun heading. I like to call this “Canopy Tracking”. Once you verify that the others are open and note their location, you can begin to navigate toward the play area and then to the pattern entry point. This all requires a great deal of awareness and adaptability, as even the best plan can change quickly in a complex environment. The bottom line is this: keep talking. Every load is a brand new set of circumstances, and requires a good deal of thought and planning. Make sure everyone arrives at the loading area no later than the ten minute call to allow for healthy preparation time. Most accidents and close calls could have been easily avoided by skydivers talking to skydivers, and skydivers talking to pilots. Take your time in the door, keep your eyes open and take care of each other. It is a big sky up there, and when we work together, safety is the likely conclusion. Brian Germain is a skydiving safety advocate, and has written numerous books and articles on the topic. He has a regular spot on Skydive Radio called Safety First, and has made over 150 safety related videos, all available through AdventureWisdom.com
  17. admin

    The Evolution of Jetman Dubai

    Image by Max Haim There's been a ton of social media hype this week about the new Jetman Dubai video released by XDubai. The video, available in 4k quality, has already amassed over 2 million views on youtube within 48 hours of release. But what is the story behind Jetman and will this venture see an evolution to methods of human flight? Back in the mid-2000s, Yves Rossy of Switzerland set history by becoming the first person to fly with the use of a jet-propelled wing. A step that closed some of the gap between wingsuit flying and aircraft piloting. Before venturing into jet-propelled human flight, Rossy was both an air force and commercial pilot, serving in the Swiss Air Force before flying for both Swissair and Swiss International Airlines. Rossy first began skydiving, then looking to wingsuiting and skysurfing in order to maximize his flight time, but neither of these were able to satisfy what it is he was after. Rossy didn't want to be freefalling, but rather flying, with as little restrictions and as much freedom and agility as possible, while still ensuring the longest possible flight time. This is what then prompted him to begin his development on the original jet propelled wing. After developing an inflated wing design in order to achieve more flight time, Rossy then began to design the first jet propelled wing, which was flown in 2004. This first propulsion based wing was only a dual jet propultion system, which allowed him to maintain flight level. In 2006 he changed the design to use 4 jets instead of the original 2. This change allowed Rossy to go from merely being able to maintain flight level, to being able to ascend while in flight too. Since 2006, Yves Rossy, the Jetman has flown in several high profile flights and accomplished impressive achievements. Rossy is now primarily flying in Dubai, with Skydive Dubai seemingly being the sole sponsor of the venture at this point in time. Teaming up with Skydive Dubai has meant that Rossy has been able to get some crazy video footage of his latest flights, with Skydive Dubai being notorious for their video production quality. The Next Chapter In early May, Jetman Dubai began hinting at the announcement of a new development in the Jetman Dubai project and after a few social media teasers, a video was released on the 11th May which announced that Yves would no longer be flying solo. Instead, he would be joined in the air by Vince Reffet, a well known skydiver and BASE jumper. Vince was born into a family of skydivers and did his first jump at just 14 years old. Now just in his 30s, Vince already boasts an impressive tally of over 13 000 jumps. The French protege is specifically recognized for his freeflying skills, and is best known for his position on the Soul Flyers team. The training of Vince by Yves Rossy has opened up far more opportunities for the Jetman Dubai project, with the most noteable being that of formation in flight. According to the Jetman Dubai website, Yves began training Vince as early as in 2009. The visuals of these two individuals flying together are so outstanding that it has many calling fake on the videos. However the truth is that what you see is the result of some extremely skilled pilots, working together to create something majestic. The Jetman Wing The Jetman Dubai wings weigh in at a total of 55kg with a wing span of 2 meters, and contain 4 Jetcat P200 engines. Speeds on descent can reach 300km/h, while ascent speeds clock in at around 180km/h. The flight will typically last for between 6 and 13 minutes. Flight begins with an exit, most commonly by helicopter, and when the flight time is over, a parachute is deployed for landing. A question on a lot of people's minds seem to be whether or not this type of jet propulsion system could work its way into the public. Though it seems that those keen to do some jet flying of their own should not hold their breath, apart from a large budget, it's difficult to see any situation in the near future whereby the safety aspect associated with these wings will allow for public use. In the mean time however, we can sit back, watch and enjoy. Who knows what is next for the now Jetman Dubai duo, but we can't wait to see it...
  18. admin

    Acampo Sky Diver Dies in Jump

    Nicole Cadiz wanted one more sky dive before the day's end, but she never expected it to be her last. The 26-year-old woman died Saturday evening after winds ripped off her harness during a 13,500-foot free fall at the Parachute Center in Acampo, just north of Lodi, according to the San Joaquin County Coroner's Office. Cadiz, an experienced parachutist with more than 1,000 jumps under her belt, had executed eight leaps earlier in the day. Then, on her ninth just before 7:40 p.m., high-velocity winds snatched her harness and chute off her back. Parachute Center owner Bill Dause said Cadiz then attempted, but failed, to get back into her harness, and she plummeted to the ground. Paramedics found her in a neighboring vineyard. Her new husband, Anthony, was one of seven others making the jump with Cadiz. Dause attributed the accident to an unclipped chest strap -- which he could not explain -- and Cadiz's upside-down position in midair. "Skydiving is a high-risk act, but with the equipment we have, it's got to be a combination of things that go wrong for that to happen," he said. "It wasn't just that the chest strap was undone, but also her position in the air." The National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration investigates parachuting accidents, but representatives from the agencies could not be reached Sunday. Cadiz, an Acampo resident, worked as a manicurist in Lodi, though friends said her real passion was sky diving every weekend at the Parachute Center, where she first learned the sport seven years ago and became adept enough to work as a sky videographer. "She loved sky diving, she was always here," said a 21-year-old friend who was one of seven others with Cadiz on her fatal jump. "She was well-liked by everyone here. Her whole life was this drop zone." "It's just devastating, we're all devastated by this," added Jan Davis, who was editing a parachuting videotape on Sunday. The last parachuting death in the Sacramento region occurred at the Parachute Center last October when a 23-year-old Orangevale man committed suicide, said coroner's Deputy Al Ortiz. Nationwide, 32 of the 3.25 million parachute jumps made in 1997 resulted in fatalities, according to the U.S. Parachute Association, an Alexandria, Va.-based group that sets safety and training guidelines for the sport. Some at the Parachute Center were visibly shaken Sunday, but they still moved about the hangarlike building, packing their parachutes and watching others descend from the sky. Dause said parachutists understand their sport's inherent dangers and know that tragedies like Cadiz's can happen. Still, their love of the sport compels them to continue. "Everybody's sad," he said between flights. "But we've just got to bite our tongues and keep going." To see more of the Sacramento Bee, or to subscribe, go to http://www.sacbee.com © 2000 Sacramento Bee.
  19. billvon

    Downsizing Checklist

    While I was an S+TA, I spent a considerable amount of time telling people they shouldn't be loading their canopies so heavily. 90% of the time it didn't work. Skydivers can have a bit of an ego, and when I told them they probably shouldn't downsize yet they heard "I think you're a crappy canopy pilot who can't handle a smaller wing." So they downsized and broke their legs, backs and pelvises with some regularity. A few years back I met up with Brett, one of the people I'd been lecturing to whle I was an S+TA. He told me that he wished he'd listened to me back then. He had broken his femur during a botched landing, been out of the sport for a while, and then came back and really learned to fly his canopy. He took a canopy control course and actually upsized to get more performance out of his canopy. He ended up coming in first in one of the events at the PST that year. That started me thinking. Maybe the approach I was taking was wrong. Since jumpers tend not to listen to other people who tell them they're not as good as they think they are, perhaps if you could give them better tools to evaluate themselves they could make better decisions about canopy choices. It's one thing to have some boring S+TA guy give you a lecture about not having any fun under canopy, quite another to try to perform a needed manuever under canopy - and fail. In that case there's no one telling you you can't fly the canopy, it's just blatantly obvious. So I came up with a list of canopy control skills everyone should have before downsizing. Some are survival skills - being able to flat turn would have saved half a dozen people this year alone. Some are canopy familiarization skills - being able to do a gentle front riser approach teaches you how to judge altitude and speed at low altitudes, and how to fly a parachute flying faster than its trim airspeed, a critical skill for swooping. It's important to do these BEFORE you downsize, because some manuevers are a little scary (turning at 50 feet? Yikes!) and you want to be on a larger canopy you're completely comfortable with before trying such a thing. The short version of the list is below. Before people downsize, they should be able to: flat turn 90 degrees at 50 feet flare turn at least 45 degrees land crosswind and in no wind land reliably within a 10 meter circle initiate a high performance landing with double front risers and front riser turn to landing land on slight uphills and downhills land with rear risers Details: 1. Flat turn 90 degrees at 50 feet. This is the most important of all the skills. The objective of this manuever is to change your direction 90 degrees losing as little altitude as possible, and come out of the manuever at normal flying speed. Coming out at normal flying speed means you can instantly flare and get a normal landing. If you can do this at 50 feet, and come out of the manuever with normal flying speed at 5 feet, you can flare and land normally. Every year people die because they decide they simply have to turn at 100 feet and know only one way to do it - pull down a toggle. The parachute dives and they hit the ground at 40mph. To prevent this, not only do you have to know how to flat turn, but you have to practice it enough that it becomes second nature. Then when you do need it, you won't have to think about it. To pull off this manuever, start by toggle turning the parachute gently. IMMEDIATELY follow that with some opposite toggle. The idea is that you want to flare just a little to counteract the canopy's desire to dive. Continue adding opposite toggle until you've stopped the turn. At this point let both toggles all the way up. If you feel the parachute accelerate after you let go of the toggles (i.e. it feels like you just flared) use less opposite toggle next time. If you feel like the parachute is diving, like you just did a toggle turn, use more opposite toggle next time. Basically you want to start the turn with one toggle, stop it with the other one, and use just enough toggle to keep the wing from diving but not so much that it does a flare. It should go without saying that this manuever should be practiced up high before you ever try it down low. If and when you do try it out low, start at lesser angles (i.e. try a 15 degree turn first) make sure the pattern is clear and make sure conditions are good (soft ground, good winds.) Work up gradually to a full 90 degree turn. I do think it's important to try at least a gentle flat turn very low; we are horrible judges of exact altitudes when we're at 1000 feet, and it's hard to tell if you've lost 50 feet or 200 in a turn. By trying it out down low, you'll get a better sense of what it can do for you, and you'll have the "sight picture" better set in case you have to use it for real one day. A variation on this is to go to half brakes and then let one brake up. This gives you a flat turn, but by flaring first you "use up" some of the canopy's energy so you can't turn as effectively. On the plus side the turn happens more slowly. If you are about to hit a tree and want to make a last minute turn, this variation might be the way to go, as it combines a turn and a flare, thus reducing your speed before impact. A version of this is currently taught in the ISP, so it might be a good way to make your first flat turns before transitioning to the less-braked variety. 2. Flare turn at least 45 degrees. This does two things - it gives you another tool in your arsenal to dodge last minute obstacles, and teaches you to fly your canopy all the way through to the landing. The #1 mistake jumpers with new HP canopies make is to "reach out to break their fall" while they're flaring; this of course turns the canopy in the direction they are reaching. Most people decide that this is due to a side gust just as they're landing. I remember one jumper at Brown who, amazingly enough, experienced a side gust seconds before he landed (and always from the right) 40-50 times in a row! Learning to flare turn will help eliminate this problem. To flare turn, start with a normal flare, then flare slightly more with one toggle. The canopy will turn. Bring the other toggle down to match it, and the canopy will straighten out. It's a dynamic process; rather than put the toggles at a certain position, you have to speed up one toggle for a second, then speed up the other to match it, before you level them and finish the flare. If you balloon upwards, then don't flare as quickly. If you drop to the ground, bring both toggles down more aggressively when they are 'split.' One thing that helps people is to think about where your canopy is rather than what it's doing. Use the toggles to put it off to one side for a moment, then use them to put it back over your head. This can be hard to practice with a large canopy. I can pull off a 45 degree turn on a Manta, but the flare is over so fast that it's hard to explain what I just did. It's much easier on a canopy loaded around 1:1, so you may want to wait on this one until you get to that loading. Note that if you combine a flare turn with a flat turn, you can pull off nearly a 180 degree turn at just above 50 feet. Also note that knowing how to do flat and flare turns doesn't mean you can always turn at 50 feet and get away with it - sometimes it's better to accept a downwind landing than make a turn at a dangerously low altitude. But if you do have to turn low (say, you're on course for the electrified fence around the pit bull farm) a flat/flare turn will let you either turn and land normally or turn and minimize the damage caused by landing in a turn. 3. Land crosswind and in no wind. These are straightforward. No wind landings are pretty easy; the only issue is that your perception of speed and altitude will be off. Since you seem to be moving faster over the ground when there's no wind (which you actually are) it can seem like a good idea to add just a little brake to 'slow you down' before you land. Resist that urge! Keep that speed in your canopy; you can turn the speed into a good flare only if you start the flare with decent (i.e. full flight) speed. Crosswind landings can be a little more tricky because of that strong tendency to want to "reach out to break your fall." Counter this by flaring with your hands in towards the center of your body. You may have to PLF on these landings, since you'll have some decent forward speed and have some sideways motion from the wind. If you want to get fancy, try a flare turn after you start your flare on the crosswind landing - you can easily pull off a standup landing if you get turned enough before you put your feet down. If these work well you may want to try a downwind landing. The benefit to doing that is it will prepare you to accept a downwind landing in the future; you won't be tempted to turn too low to avoid it. Choose an ideal day for this one, with a slippery landing area (wet grass is perfect) low winds and a clear landing area. Prepare to PLF, and think about "laying it down" on your thigh as you land to start sliding. You can slide across grass at 30mph without getting hurt, but planting your feet and cartwheeling at those speeds can be very dangerous. 4. Land reliably within a 10 meter circle. This is essentially the PRO requirement. This is critical because your accuracy skills are what will keep you from having to turn low. It's very comforting to know that you can land in any 50ish foot clearing if you find yourself having to land out; it's especially important as you get to smaller canopies that need longer and longer runways to land well. Your only option may be a section of road, and you may have to hit the beginning of the road dead-on to have enough room to slow down. The subject of canopy accuracy is too long to do justice to here, but the top 3 hints I've heard are: - If you're not sure if you're going to make it over a wire or tree, look at what it's doing with respect to the background. If more background is appearing from beneath the wire or tree, you're probably going to make it. - As you look at the ground, most points will seem to move away from a central point. Some will rise, some will fall, some will go out to the side. If you look long enough you'll find one point that's not moving - that's where you're going to land if the winds don't change all the way in (which is rare.) - Going into brakes usually makes you land short in high winds, but can extend your glide in no wind. Front risers almost always make you land shorter. 5. Initiate a high performance landing with double fronts, and a front riser turn to landing. I am pretty convinced that front riser high performance landings are a lot safer than toggle turn high performance landings, and double fronts are the safest of all. If you do it too low, or become worried about the landing - just drop the risers and you're back to normal flight. For double front riser landings, set up a normal landing, aiming for a point a little farther away than you normally do. At 100 feet or so, pull down both front risers. Your canopy will drop and accelerate. At some point above the ground (30-10 feet depending on your canopy) drop the front risers. Your canopy will begin to recover. Before it completes the recovery to normal flight, you should be at flare altitude. Start the flare normally. You may need to use less toggle than normal, since the canopy is now going faster than you're used to, and the same amount of toggle gives you more lift. You will also plane out farther, since you have more speed you have to bleed off before you come to a stop. For front riser turns to landing, first try front riser turns out above 1000 feet and get used to how your canopy recovers. Then start by coming in 10 degrees off the windline, and making a gentle front riser turn to line up with the wind at ~100 feet. The canopy will dive and accelerate, so be prepared to drop the front riser instantly and flare if you have to. Also be prepared to steer in the flare, since the canopy may not have stopped turning completely before the flare begins. Done correctly, you'll start the flare with more forward speed, giving you a longer planeout. Make sure your flares are smooth for this! A smooth flare generates more lift for a longer period of time than "stabbing" the brakes. However, don't start the flare at 30 feet - starting the flare that high will slow the canopy down, negating the effects of the front riser approach. If you do find yourself stabbing the brakes to prevent hitting the ground, move the altitude at which you start front risering up. Probably the most critical skill you will get from this exercise is the development of the "sight picture." Below 200 feet your altimeter is pretty useless, and you should be looking at traffic and the landing area anyway. Eventually you'll develop a sense of what "picture" you should see just before you start that riser turn. The picture will vary with wind, landing area etc. If you arrive at the point where you would normally start the front riser turn, and the picture's not right - abort it and land normally. Once you have the picture down, and are doing front riser turns that transition to gradual flares, then start increasing the angle. Once you get to 90 degrees you're going to be gaining a lot of speed, so be sure to adjust your sight picture up to compensate. As always, bail by dropping the risers if you feel like there's anything wrong. Once you drop the risers, level the wing with your toggles and prepare to flare. At worst you'll have to land crosswind - but that's a skill you should have by this point anyway. 6. Land on slight uphills and downhills. Often, land away from the DZ isn't perfectly flat; sometimes you can't tell this until you're at 20 feet. To prepare for this, find a place in your LZ that's not perfectly flat, scope it out, and plan on landing there. There's not too much magic concerning landing on a slope. You flare more aggressively to land going uphill, less aggressively to land going downhill. Obviously not all DZ's have slopes. If you don't have a good slope on your DZ somewhere, you may have to put this one off until you're at a DZ that does have one. Beaches are a good place to practice this, since they have pretty predictable slopes down to the water, and overrunning the landing just means you get wet. 7. Land with rear risers. Knowing how to land with rear risers can help you deal with a canopy problem like a broken or stuck brake line, and can help you make a better land/cutaway decision when you do have such a problem. Again, this is best practiced up high. See how far you can pull the rear risers before the canopy stalls. It will stall much earlier with rear risers; memorize where that happens so you don't do it near the ground. When you try it for real, choose an ideal day - steady moderate winds, soft ground, clear pattern. Be sure to try this for the first time on a largish canopy (one of the reasons you should do these things before downsizing.) Leave your hands in the toggles and wrap your whole hand around the rear riser. That way if things go awry you can drop the risers and flare normally. Start the flare at a normal flare altitude, and prepare to PLF. You may get the sort of lift you're used to, but you probably won't slow down as much before you're near that stall point. Make sure your feet are on the ground (sliding preferably) before you get there. On smaller canopies, you may want to start the flare with rear risers. Then, once the canopy is leveled out, drop the risers and finish the flare with the toggles (which are still around your hands.) That way you get your vertical speed to zero, which is the critical part of a safe slide-in landing, and can still stop the canopy without hitting the ground going too fast. (This is also a technique used by swoopers to extend their swoops BTW.) The above list is not meant to include all the skills you need to safely fly a canopy; it’s just a checklist for a cross-section of skills you should have before downsizing. Some of these will be easier on a larger canopy, and can be practiced right away. Landing downwind, for example, is easier on a larger canopy simply because it can slow you down more before stalling. Some skills are more difficult on a larger canopy. It can be difficult to get a planeout at all on a larger F-111 canopy, so practicing things like a flare turn may best wait until you approach a 1:1 loading on a ZP canopy. At that loading, the canopy begins to perform more along the lines of how we expect a HP canopy to fly. More importantly, skills like the flare turn become both possible and necessary to practice, so you can hone your skills while you are under a canopy that tolerates minor mistakes. As I mentioned in the beginning, these are skills you should learn before you downsize, although some (like the flare turn) can be difficult to practice at very light loadings. If you can't do some of them yet? Get some coaching; it makes a lot more sense to learn them on your larger canopy, before you start jumping a smaller canopy that scares you. Once you can do them all, then try the smaller canopy. And if someday someone cuts you off under the smaller canopy, you'll have the reactions you learned under the larger canopy. Even if you haven't completely adapted those manuevers to the smaller canopy yet, those reactions will more likely than not save your life.
  20. nettenette

    Jumping at a New DZ: Your Battle Plan

    Photo by Jeff Agard Just moved across the country? Heading out to boogie in a strange new land? Impromptu road trip? If you’re not used to jumping at new-to-you DZs, reorienting yourself to a new conveyor-belt-to-the-sky is a bit daunting. But never fear, brave adventurer: if you walk in knowing what you need to do, you’ll be golden. Here’s a checklist to help make the process a little easier on you. Before you arrive: 1. Do a preliminary scan for unpleasant surprises. Find out as early as possible if the dropzone (or the specific event you’re planning to jump) has special requirements that could keep you on the ground. 2. Budget. Get pricing on jump tickets, DZ accommodation and registration fees. This is a good time to check the jump-ticket refund policy and find out if there are extra charges for credit cards. 3. Ask about facilities. If you’re going to be squaring up to swampy summertime port-o-lets, miles-off RV hookups, co-ed showers (rawr) or anything else outside your comfort zone, you’ll want to know as early as possible so you can make a battle plan. 4. Make sure you’ve packed all your documentation. At the very least, you’ll need an in-date reserve repack card, your parachuting organization ID and your logbook. In some cases, you’ll also need your AAD travel documents and proof of medical insurance, too. Travel insurance is never a bad idea, either. When you arrive: 1.Get the lay of the land. You’ll be spending a lot of time in the hangar and in the waiting areas, so get oriented. Pick a prime spot for your gear (hopefully, near an electrical outlet). Find the bathrooms and the fridge. Identify the load monitors, if there are any. Find out if there’s a separate window for manifest, or if the main office does it all. 2. Rock up to the office. Fill out the waiver, get a gear-and-paperwork check and buy your tickets. 3. Get briefed. You’ll likely be pounced on when you land in the office, but just in case: Pin somebody down to give you a complete briefing of the dropzone’s map and rules. Do not get on the plane without a briefing. Get clear on the manifest procedure. It seems like every DZ on the planet does this differently, and it can really get in the way if you’re not on board. Are you going to have to pay in advance, pay as you go, or pay at the end of the day? How does the ticket system work? Learn the exit order and separation rules. Many drop zones have very specific procedures in place, while others assume you should know where you belong. Watch how the local jumpers organize themselves, and ask lots of questions if you don’t get clear instruction. Check out the satellite map. You can expect a dropzone representative to use an overhead map of the dropzone and its surrounds to brief you. The rep will describe how to use recognizable landmarks to spot the dropzone from the air and review landing area obstacles, power lines, bodies of water, nasty neighbors, turbulence, the “beer line” and uneven terrain. Use this time to memorize your outs. Find out if there’s a special hard deck for this DZ. If there is one, it might be (way) higher than your personal hard deck. Check out the wind indicators. Find them on the overhead map, then peek at them in person while you take yourself on a tour of the main (and alternate, if applicable) landing areas. If there are tetrahedrons, ask if they’re trustable or if they’re “sticky.” Know the landing pattern. Landing patterns are not the same across dropzones, ranging from first-one-down-sets-it to a regular Busby Berkeley choreography of established patterns that never, ever change. Until you’ve internalized the unique rhythm, it’s best to give the main landing area a wide berth for your first handful of jumps at a new DZ. Make sure you know the rules and areas for swooping and hook turns, whether or not you plan to do them. (Don’t be the big canopy that tugboats lamely across the zoomy canopies’ path.) Figure out the loading procedure. Find out how the calls are announced and where you need to be to hear them. If there are shuttles to the plane, you’ll need to know what the call is to be on the shuttle. If there’s a retrieval from the landing area, make sure you know where it is (and hoof it over there right after touchdown). 4. Get on a load! Make an organizer friend (or be your own organizer friend) and keep an open mind about what jumps you want to do. 5. Buy the good beer to share at greenlight. It’s basically, like, a housewarming that you throw for yourself. You’ll feel at home before you know it.
  21. Experienced skydiver Tony Weber, died Memorial Day weekend from injuries sustained from a hard landing at Cedartown Georgia, Atlanta Skydiving Center. During a holiday road trip with friends, to celebrate college graduation, Tony made a hard landing under a relatively new Vengence 150, at the DZ. He was airlifted off the DZ and died of his injuries 4 hours later. Tony was a regular jumper at SEMO Skydiving. He was the president of the SIU Skydiving Club. He was a great role model for the new jumpers, and a positive influence on skydiving in general. He was working on his instructional rating and would have been an asset to our club, or any skydiving operation. He was a really good guy. His parents moniter the NG if you would like to make a positive comment. I have the address of his parents if anyone would like to send a card. We are all saddened by his loss, and will miss him. He died doing what he loved best...skydiving. Paul Gholson SEMO Skydiving D-17101 instructor
  22. Just wanted to show you guys a video that I took this Saturday (15 June 2002). I am sure that you have heard about the fires here near Denver. We were jumping at Longmont, just north of Denver, my home DZ. There were slurry bombers flying over the center of the airport, at 3000' agl, despite several calls to the US Forestry Service. View the Video The tankers were not listening to the airport frequency, looking at the sectional charts that indicated that Longmont had parachute activity and didn't talk to Denver Center or Approach. The DZ was operating strictly according to USPA guidelines. The jump plane pilot tried to contact the pilots of the slurry bombers on several frequencies, to no avail. End result - after a great head-down jump with a friend of mine, we broke off at ~6000', and I planned on falling until about 2500', and then pull. At 3000', I heard a plane fly under me from the north, and I fell in between the vertical stabilizer and elevator. Notice the tail fly under me in the video. Peter Konrad
  23. TAIPING: A police parachutist suffered a bad fall from a 1,500m jump after his parachute strings became entangled mid way before the landing. Safaruddin Mohd Ariffin, 36, who suffered head and neck injuries, was rushed to the Taiping Hospital in the 10.45am incident at the old airport in Tekah here yesterday. A member of Special Task Force formerly known as Vat 69--an elite police commando unit based in Ulu Kinta near Ipoh--Safaruddin was among 25 members in a parachuting test at the old airport over the last three days. Safaruddin was transferred to the Ipoh Hospital where his condition is reported to be stable. The father of three children from Teluk Intan had made 18 jumps in the past. It is learnt he had safely jumped out of a light aircraft at a height of about 1,500m but his parachute strings became entangled mid way before he landed. Seven others who jumped with him landed safely.
  24. HANSEN -- His friends warned him not to jump. It was too dark. The wind wasn't right. The water was too high. But 29-year-old Roger Butler, an experienced BASE jumper who once parachuted from the Stratosphere hotel tower in Las Vegas, apparently died Sunday after jumping from the Hansen Bridge and disappearing in the water. "All of them tried to talk him out of it, but he had to do it," said Cpl. Daron Brown of the Twin Falls County Sheriff's Office. "The guy was experienced, but he made a bad choice." With the help of a brand-new underwater camera, search and rescue teams from Jerome and Twin Falls counties continued searching the frigid Snake River Monday for signs of Butler and his parachute, but the search was called off as sundown neared. Water flow at the Minidoka Dam was stopped late Monday to lower the water level and aid searchers when they continue this morning. The counties don't know the cost of the search. Butler, who had made more than 600 BASE jumps, spent Sunday with three friends parachuting from the Perrine Bridge, a popular spot for BASE jumpers because it is legal to jump there. BASE stands for building, antenna, span and earth. In October 1999, this same group had parachuted with a woman the day before she broke her back in a jumping accident at the Perrine Bridge, said Nancy Howell, spokeswoman for the Twin Falls County Sheriff's Office. The group was headed back to Ogden, Utah, Sunday before stopping at the Hansen Bridge, where jumping also is legal. With his friends videotaping, Butler jumped from the west side of the bridge and glided toward the water without a hitch, but he ran into trouble after hitting the river, Howell said. It wasn't immediately clear what happened, but shortly after landing in the water Butler and his chute disappeared below the surface. Neither has been seen since, she said. Butler was not wearing a life jacket, and he was jumping into a highly inaccessible area of the Snake River Canyon, Brown said. "BASE jumping is like whitewater rafting," he said. "It's a self-saving sport. You can't expect to jump off a bridge and have someone come and save you." Butler's taste for daring jumps was passed down from his father, a parachuter for 30 years, said Paul Butler, an uncle who drove to Twin Falls after the accident. Roger Butler watched his father nearly die in a 1998 parachuting accident that almost cost the older Butler his leg. But a year later father and son were parachuting together again during a Fourth of July celebration, Paul Butler said. "He just loved to do this," Paul Butler said of his nephew. "He loved to fly."
  25. admin

    Skydiver died from mid-air collision

    An experienced skydiver died when he fractured his skull in a mid-air collision with one of his best friends, an inquest heard on Tuesday. Robert Monk, 39, from Bedminster in Bristol, was on holiday with two friends at a Spanish parachuting centre when the accident happened on 28 July. Mr Monk's friend, Elliot Borthwick, also 39 and from Bristol, told the inquest at Bristol coroner's court that the three had skydived together many times and were planning to jump in a "sit-up" formation, with their legs linked as they were free-falling. At the last moment before jumping out of the plane, they decided to open their parachutes earlier than usual, but Mr Monk apparently forgot about the change of plan. When the other two opened their parachutes, Mr Monk remained in free-fall at a speed of 130mph and crashed into his friend John Carew's leg, fracturing his skull. "We were smiling and laughing and having fun," Mr Borthwick recalled. "When we separated I flipped over and opened my chute. I looked under me and saw Rob and John [Carew] still linked together." He saw Mr Carew jettison his parachute and use his reserve parachute, but he could not see Mr Monk. "Because we were so far from the drop zone, when it came to break away at 6,000ft, I think Rob reverted to our old thing of coming back together after we had broken off," said Mr Borthwick. He thought that Mr Carew was unaware that his friend had flown back towards him, and as he opened his parachute his leg collided with Mr Monk's head. Rescuers found Mr Monk's body near Castello de Cempurias, about 30 miles from Gerona in north-east Spain. Two hours after the accident Mr Carew, 35, from Birmingham, was found unconscious in a field of maize. He awoke in hospital to find surgeons had had to amputate part of his leg. Mr Carew spent a week in a Spanish hospital before returning to Birmingham. The fatal jump was the group's final one on their holiday in Emporia Brava, one of Europe's biggest skydiving locations. The Avon and District coroner, Paul Forrest, recorded a verdict of accidental death. "There was a mid-air collision which resulted in the deceased free-falling to his death. He received a fracture of the cranium, as was certified in Spain," he ruled.