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Found 202 results

  1. 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.
  2. For all who know Mago, This Sunday we will remember Mago in our hearts We'll Fly at sunset thinking of your Dream, the dream of Flight, Pure Human Flight, which is also our dream in which we truly believe, instinctively. We'll think of the Dream of the Flying Crew, your Dream, our Dream. We'll think of the beautiful energy that you brought to us, like Magic, and you still bring to us. We'll keep your Dream Alive. This is our commitment. Thank you with all our heart for everything you did for us as a group and you will do for us as a group. You are in a new dimension now and can see and feel things far beyond our own perceptions. Right now you Are, you truly Are. We miss you a fucking Lots MAGICIAN OF ROME in the Air and on the ground! There's a phrase that I was reading in a book, for coincidence, or not, right the day before you Flew a away in your new dimension. It is from The Book : The Vision Quest from Thomas Brown, even if the phrase comes from Marcus Aurelius: "Man should fear not dying, what man should fear is Not Having Lived at All." You lived your life at the fullest and always being true with yourself, always bringing Good Energy, never giving a chance to the bad energy to be fed upon bad feelings or week feeling of your own or the others around. Foreseeing much deeper into Reality and the Future and of course the Past, always seeing people for what They Really Where, without being driven out of track by the appearance or by the outside stories.... your reaction to this instead have been feeding us the Dream of Flight with your Art, your Music Art, your Flying Art your Video Art. In this you've been a great teacher as you you will always be. Ciao Magico ! You are Strong ! Stefania and the 1st School of Modern Skyflying, The Freefly Circus, The Flying Crew Love you for ever ! Keep the Dream Rise to the Top to The Top ! Italian freefly champion Mauro "Mago" Tannino died at Ravenna in Italy on August 12th. He was filming a student when he expereiced a mulfunction. Unable to cut away he deployed his reserve and died on impact under resulting the main-reserve entanglement.
  3. admin

    Skydiving Plane Crashes near Estacada

    Beaver Oaks, Oregon - A team of skydivers leaped from a crippled airplane Saturday, moments before it crashed into a stand of trees near Estacada. The four trick-parachute jumpers aboard and the pilot survived without injuries. Their small Cessna C-182 crumpled into trees near Highway 224 and burned before Estacada firefighters arrived. The plane was flying at 10,500 feet over the “drop zone” for the parachutists. Investigators believe the second jumper’s parachute opened early as he jumped, wrapping around the plane’s tail. The plane then began to drop as the pilot lost control. The jumper, Rick A. Liston, 46, of Clackamas, cut himself free and used his secondary parachute to escape. The other skydivers – Craig N. Wilwers, 50, of Portland; John C. Allen, 49, of Tillamook; and Chris I. Lattig, 42, of Tualatin – then bailed out. The pilot, Travis William Marshall, 23, of West Linn, followed. The plane crashed shortly before 7 p.m., about 200 feet from Highway 224. Nobody else was hurt. The plane belongs to an Eagle Creek man and had left a private airfield at Beaver Oaks. The Oregon State Police and the Federal Aviation Administration are investigating. The state Department of Environmental Quality will oversee the cleanup of a small amount of fuel that spilled into a nearby pond.
  4. A four-way and videographer exited a twin otter from 13000 feet. The videographer filmed the 4 way and everything about the skydive was normal at break-off. The pre-arranged pull altitude for the videographer was 4000 feet. Members of the 4 way observed the videographer at 2500 feet with the main bag-locked. At the scene it was observed that the main suspension lines were wrapped around the eye piece of his camera helmet. The reserve pilot chute was entangled in the main and the last stow of the reserve was out. The reserve ripcord was pulled and not found at the scene. The cutaway release was found near the hand of the deceased. The deceased had repacked the main prior to the jump and the reserve had been repacked on February 21, 2001. While he was visiting from New Hampshire, he had made 55 jumps in the last month -- most of them had been camera jumps. He was very current and during the month he jumped at Carolina Sky Sports was observed to always follow very safe skydiving practices. Morten Berger Pedersen Manager Carolina Sky Sports Personal Information of Deceased Richard Lancaster USPA membership 143136 B21593 Total number of jumps 323
  5. admin

    Blue Skies, Mr. Chesworth

    Craig Chesworth was killed in an accident at Skydive Sebastian, located in Florida. After reading numerous incident reports with the ubiquitous and certainly ambiguous statement "the parachute failed to open fully", I decided to find out what type of malfunction he experienced. As a jumper, I find that articles written by the mainstream media often say that "the parachute failed to open", when it is often other causes which created the fatality. And as a jumper, I feel that one way to honor the deceased is to learn from their mistakes. So, this morning, I called and spoke with Mr. Mick Hall, the Safety and Training Advisor at Skydive Sebastian. Mr. Hall was gracious, accepting an unannounced call from me with no hesitation. He was forthcoming, and seemed as frustrated about the lack of media knowledge as I was. I found him eager, in fact, to make sure I understood the events, so that this article would be as complete and accurate as possible. It is thought that the following scenario is what occurred. Mr. Chesworth likely opened a little lower than he had intended to, but his parachute did open fully. His reserve was not used, as it was not needed. As a consequence of opening a little lower, Craig was long on his spot. As is drilled into a jumper's head, an "out" was spotted and chosen. Craig had chosen a good, grassy area, near homes, and was flying with the wind toward his out. According to one witness flying near him, Mr. Chesworth turned low to be into the wind, misjudged, and, while completing the turn, hit the roof of a building. "Did he turn so he wouldn't land downwind?" I asked "We can't know for sure, but we think that may have been a factor", agreed Mr. Hall. "I surmise that he may have felt a bit high, and, in trying to bleed off altitude so he wouldn't overshoot the grass area, he turned," said Mr. Hall. "As far as we can tell, that's what he was trying to do. Of course, no-one can tell what he was thinking at the time but we feel that he may have been worried about overshooting the out, and simply misjudged with no time to correct." Mr. Chesworth, 23 years old, was an intermediate level skydiver, with 200 successful jumps. The fatality occurred on his 201st jump. A visitor to Skydive Sebastian, Craig's home dropzone is located in Nottingham, England. This was his first time at Skydive Sebastian. It is reported that he held all regular BPA licenses available for his level. Mr. Chesworth weighed 150 pounds without gear, and was jumping a Fandango 135, with a Techno 146 Reserve. He did have a Cypres, and is thought to have had an RSL that was disconnected. The weather was clear, and considered "good". He leaves behind a young child. Our condolences are with him and his family. Blue skies, Mr. Chesworth, blue skies forever. ~ Written by Michele Lesser
  6. A Jackson County judge on Thursday approved a $27.5 million settlement for families of the pilot and five sky divers killed in a Grain Valley plane crash. Engine manufacturer Teledyne Continental Motors of Mobile, Ala., is to divide the money equally among the six families. The company admitted no fault in the settlement. Circuit Judge J.D. Williamson approved the settlement after hearing from members of four families. Lawyers said it will become final soon after members of the other two families testify. The checks are to be paid by May 11. Lawyers said the $27.5 million was among the nation's largest pretrial settlements in the crash of a small plane. Plaintiff attorney Gary C. Robb said a separate contractual agreement with the company, involving engine overhaul manuals, was more important to his clients than the money. Teledyne pledged to revise the manuals. "From the beginning our clients wanted to remedy the engine problem," Robb said. "They have succeeded." The company denies any engine problem. Robb, who represented the four families at the Thursday hearing, said the March 21, 1998, crash happened because badly designed oil transfer tubes failed and starved the engine of oil. Smoke and flames billowed from the Cessna engine as the pilot tried to land at Grain Valley Airport. The plane clipped a tree, cart-wheeled to the ground and burst into flames. All aboard died. Robb said his review of the company records found 14 other cases of engine failure caused by such oil tube failures. The records only go back to the mid-1980s, though the company made engines with the faulty tubes from 1945 to 1995, Robb said. The engines went into small planes made by many different companies, Robb said. "Who knows how many other engine failures and deaths resulted because of this," Robb said after the hearing. Robert W. Cotter, attorney for the company, disagreed with Robb. He said the oil tubes did not cause engine failures. He admitted no liability. Separate from the legal settlement, the four families received letters from Cotter Thursday. In them, the company pledged to change its printed and Web site overhaul manuals to tell mechanics and owners to inspect the oil transfer tubes. Cotter said he would not comment on letters that were separate from the settlement. Robb said the pledge is part of a legally binding contract. Members of the four families said they never would have agreed to the settlement without the letters. Judi Rudder of Oskaloosa, Kan., widow of sky diver Marion Rudder, said the families quickly agreed on two things - a required warning and an even split of any settlement. "Our whole mission on this was to keep people safe," she said. "We knew together we could make a bigger difference, and we wanted to be fair." Brad Buckley of Independence, the son of sky diver Kenney Buckley, said he lost a father and did not want others to lose loved ones. Other members of the Greater Kansas City Skydiving Club who died were Eric Rueff, John Schuman and Julie Douglass. The pilot, David Snyder, also died in the crash. The Snyder and Douglass families are to appear at later hearings to finalize the settlement. Belinda Schuman of Lawrence, widow of John Schuman, said the families want to make it clear that a plane crash - not a skydiving accident - killed their loved ones. Her husband loved skydiving and had made 2,300 jumps, she said. "We got married on the anniversary day of his first jump; he said he'd always remember that date." Another defendant, Jewell Aircraft Inc. of Holly Springs, Miss., settled the case previously for $1 million, which also was equally divided among the six families. The company, which admitted no wrongdoing, did an engine overhaul on the Cessna 10 years ago. Robb said he probably would drop the case against several other defendants that include Whuffo III, the owner of the plane; Freeflight Aviation Inc., an aircraft maintenance company; and White Industries, a company that sold the engine. His investigation, Robb said, also answered the key question of why the sky divers did not jump out of the plane. When the pilot first radioed at 3,000 feet that he heard an engine noise, he called off the jump and started to land, Robb said, but by the time the engine burst into flames it was too low for anyone to jump. Judi Rudder said the question of why no one jumped had troubled her. "They just didn't know it was going to be that bad," she said. "They thought they could get down safely."
  7. WHITEWRIGHT -- Two sky divers killed when their parachutes became intertwined in a twilight jump over Northeast Texas were veteran jumpers with more than 200 jumps each to their credit, officials with their skydiving club said today. Brad Walk of Dallas and Jason Fitzsimmons of Richardson were killed when their parachutes became entangled about 6,000 feet above the ground in the accident Saturday, according to a statement issued by Skydive Dallas. The accident happened about 50 miles northeast of Dallas near the Fannin-Grayson county line. The two jumped from a Cessna Caravan at about 13,500 feet and their parachutes appeared to open normally at 11,000 feet, the club statement said. However, as they arranged their equipment, they drifted together and got their shrouds tangled at about 6,000 feet, the club said. Both apparently were killed on impact with the ground, officials said. The statement said neither sky diver appeared to use their reserve chutes. "They were really well-liked in the skydiving community. Our thoughts and prayers are with their family and loved ones," said Joe Rekart, the general manager of the Whitewright-based club.
  8. admin

    Aerial Photographer Killed in Florida

    PENSACOLA, Florida. (AP) - An experienced aerial photographer plummeted 11,000 feet to his death Thursday after his parachutes became entangled and failed to open. John Foster, 37, was videotaping a skydiving instructor and a student when his main parachute became entangled with his reserve chute, and both failed to open. He landed in a field in Elberta, Ala., and was taken to a Pensacola hospital, where he died. He had head and leg injuries, a hospital spokeswoman said. The chutes getting tangled was a freak accident, said Pat Stack, who works for Emerald Coast Skydiving and was the drop zone manager for the jump. "It's just not something that happens," she said. Stack said Foster had made 6,000 to 7,000 jumps and often was hired to record other divers' jumps. "He jumped all the time. He loved the sport," Stack told the Pensacola News Journal.
  9. A 35-year old Pretoria man died in Eugene Marais Hospital last night (13 May), hours after plunging several hundred metres to the ground in a parachuting accident at the Wonderboom airport late yesterday afternoon. Mark Farrell was the second man to die in a parachuting accident at the airport in the past month. Police spokesman, Superintendent Morné van Wyk, said Farrell had plunged to the ground when his parachute apparently became entangled at about 5:30pm. A hospital spokesman said Mr Farrell sustained serious injuries to his head, face and chest. He died at 7:25pm, almost two hours after the accident. Van Wyk said an inquest would be held to determine exactly what had gone wrong.
  10. nettenette

    A Packing List For The Boogie-Bound

    Exits at the Baltic Boogie 2015 Image by Konwent Photography There are a number of ways to kneecap a boogie, and they often have something to do with your gear bag: a forgotten helmet that lands you in a beat-up student ProTec all week; a forgotten suit that leaves you slippery and gripless; the dreaded out-of-date repack card. When you’re gathering up everything you need for a week of rapid-fire skyjumpin’ in a far-off location, it’s easy to forget a (key) detail here and there. Maybe this--my personal packing checklist--might help.* The Basics Rig(s) Helmet(s) Suit(s) (wingsuit/tracking suit/belly suit/tunnel suit/freefly suit/sit suit/dinosaur onesie/all of the above) Dytter Altimeter Gloves Your preferred skydiving kicks Your credit card (and a healthy sense of realism about how thoroughly it’s about to be abused)Paperwork In-date parachute association license In-date reserve repack card AAD air travel card (like the one, from Cypres, or this one, from Vigil) so you aren’t caught off guard at any check-in you may pass through during your skydiving careerRig Protection Packing mat/drag mat: preferably, with a sun cover, riser holders and at least one pocket (If your mat doesn't have a sun cover, bring an old towel to cover your gear during any short moments you need to leave it in the sun.) Bonus points if you sew your own. Extra bonus points if you sew me one. A sturdy, high-quality suit hanger with molded shoulders (to hang up your suit(s) well away from the dirty hangar floor)Tools Several pull-up cords (or your trusty power tool) Leatherman, Swiss Army knife or other sturdy multi-tool Line routing card Hemostat or tweezers (for those moments when your fingers are just too big for the job)Replacement Materials Extra closing loops Rubber bands, both large and small (or Tube Stoes, if that’s your jam) Any special batteries you might need for your doodadsLogging and Note-Taking Materials Logbook. (If you don't keep a digital version, keep the paper book in a Ziploc bag because--let’s be real--you always spill either coffee or beer on that thing.) Ballpoint pen Pencil/eraser Sharpie Notepad (for sharing information with other skydivers, such as phone numbers and scrawled threats) Labeling tape (to mark everything with your identifying information)Camera Stuff * Note: Obviously, serious, like, aerial cinematographers have a much more nuanced kit than this. This is a starting point. Label everything. Camera. Or, y’know, cameras...but try not to cover the entire surface area of your body with ‘em. Waterproof case Non-waterproof case (for dry situations where you prefer better sound over better equipment security) Mounts Mount wrench Sync/charge cable Microfiber lens cleaning cloth and solution Extra SD cards, labeled clearly with identifying numbers (those little SD card wallets are nice)Comfort Buff(s) Non-perishable "emergency" snacks A water bottle (or rollable Platypus bottle) with flavor packets, teabags or whatever else entices you into actually sucking on the thing at regular intervals UV-protective sunglasses Sunscreen Kneepads Clean sweat rag Ponytail holders Rehydration packets (because that beer truck may well sneak up on your blind side)Additional Tips Label everything. Lots of skydivers on the DZ will have exactly the same items that you do in their packing kit for skydiving, from closing tools to helmets. If unlabeled items go missing from your kit, it’s likely not an issue of dishonesty -- just mistaken identity. Labeling often solves the problem before it arises. Keep it clean and organized. Keep like with like in separate bags within the larger gear bag, and keep everything protected from dust, dampness, dirt and sun. Make it easy to find every individual item, and you’ll save hours of time in the long run. Get an idea for what your access to the facilities is going to look like at the boogie. We’re talking cooking; laundry; showers. If you’ll need to carry in coins for showers and laundry--or if you’ll have to pre-buy something like laundry soap before you drive out into the hinterlands, or something along those lines--you’ll be glad you knew about it and planned accordingly. Ask around about the experience you can expect at the boogie you’re planning to attend. Skydivers who have been there before will be glad to run down the highlights and challenges for you. Even better: you might end up convincing them to join you for a reprise. *If you have additions to this list, by all means PM me!
  11. admin

    Shannon Embry

    At 5:30 pm on Monday, October 14th, Shannon Embry died while making a skydive. Shannon, 40 years of age, was an experienced skydiver from Tennessee. She was participating in the Women's World Record attempt, "Jump for the Cause", a breast cancer fundraiser. On an otherwise uneventful skydive, Shannon Embry suffered mortal injuries during or shortly after deployment of her main canopy. Shannon was an exemplary tracker, and it is possible that deployment of her main canopy while still in forward motion could have incapacitated her or perhaps even ended her life. While the main canopy was 100% undamaged, she made no attempt to release the brakes or stow the slider, and continued in a steady weight shift turn until impact. She had trained medical personnel (fellow skydivers) with her within seconds of landing, but could not be resuscitated. She was a mother, a mate, our sister in the sky, a lover, a skydiver, a woman and our friend. She will be missed. Jump for the Cause
  12. admin

    Essay on Exit Order

    From an aircraft operations standpoint, as a general rule whichever group will have the slowest climb out should leave first. On a calm day the aircraft on jump run covers about 175 feet per second, or one mile in 30 seconds. Assuming the practical distance that a square canopy open at 2,000 feet can cover is at most about one mile, that means that the first people out would just barely make the landing area from one mile short, while the last would be able to make it back from one mile long. In other words, all jumpers have to be out in a two mile long jump run or some will land out, or a second pass will be required. In time terms, on a calm day no more than 60 seconds can elapse from when the first jumpers leave the airplane to when the last jumper exits. At busy events with several aircraft flying, second passes are not an option. Let's take a sample jump run, where a large group will take up to 20 seconds to climb out, a 4-way 12 to 15, 2-ways six to eight, solos five, and AFF students about 12 to 15. Our load has an 8-way, two 4-ways, two 2-ways, a solo, and one AFF. That adds up to between 70 and 80 seconds from green light to last out. But it is possible to make it all on one jump run if the eight way gets out first, because the pilot figures at least 15 to 20 seconds for the first climb out. That brings us back to 60 seconds from first out to last out, and one pass. Needless to say, we don't want to do an extra pass because 2-ways want to leave before 8-ways. (If the 2-ways get out first, the pilot can only count on a five to ten second climb out. He has to put the light on 1/3 to 1/2 mile closer to the dz than he would for the slow climb out.) That's the timing reason why small groups shouldn't leave first. Now lets talk about separation from other jumpers. First of all, anyone who counts on vertical separation for safety is out of touch with reality. I see people in freefall at 1,500 feet and lower routinely, so just because someone plans to open at 2,500 doesn't mean you should bet your life on it. Everyone needs to open in their own column of air. Horizontal separation is the only guarantee of security. The only real reasons - and they are good ones - why students and tandems get out last are that a student is more likely to balk or ride down, and that canopies opening high can get back from a longer spot. I repeat, horizontal separation is the only guarantee of safety. Vertical separation is a nice idea but cannot be counted on since a minor loss of awareness or a long snivel will eliminate it instantly. Now, a quick digression about fall rates. Follow these categories out or time their videos if you don't believe me. Light freestylists doing routine freestyle do not fall significantly faster than a fast falling four way. Freeflyers fall about 30% faster than normal. Small skyboards fall fairly fast, if the rider is standing, but big ones fall very slow - slower than most RW, usually about the same speed as tandems. Because of their exits, they must leave first, and because of their complex emergency procedures, they must pull high. Leaving first and pulling high defies conventional wisdom, yet not once have we had a problem with slow falling skysurfers getting out first and pulling at 3,500. In fact, as long as the first person pulls higher than the break off altitude of the following group, they are a contribution to safety, not a detriment, provided adequate time was left between groups at the exit. We do have a recurring problem maintaining safe separation when the freeflyers get out first. Typically a freefly pair will have a forty five second freefall and open at 2,500 to 3,000 feet. Let's imagine that they are followed by an RW group that has a 10 second climb out. Now, let's say you are a freeflyer jumping a Stiletto. A Stiletto (assuming a 30 mph forward speed, which I can document is a reliable figure) covers about 45 feet per second on a calm day. If you open 30 seconds (shorter freefall plus exit separation time) before the RW group leaving after you and turn directly towards the dz (which you will, since otherwise you can't make it back from getting out first unless you cheat on the climb out, spot for yourself, and force the pilot to go around, which REALLY pisses us off) in that 30 seconds you will cover over 1,300 horizontal feet. This would put you about 400 feet from the center of a group leaving the plane ten seconds after you. In theory, that would just barely be enough, except that a good tracker can do about 70 feet per second, so if they track towards you for six seconds they are right on top of you. Furthermore, a modern canopy descends about 800 feet in 30 seconds (also documented) so if one of you pulls at 3,000 to get back from a short spot, for camera effect, or whatever - by the time you are at 2,000 you are well into the danger zone of the group that followed you. So far, the big sky theory has taken care of us most of the time but I have heard of a couple close calls and more than once found myself directly over the freeflyers if they leave first. Having seen the consequences of freefaller/canopy collision more than once, I want to minimize the possibilities. And they go way up as soon as we add wind to the exercise. Here's why. In a 30 mile per hour breeze, the plane only covers 130 feet per second, instead of 175. In ten seconds of exit separation, the airplane only covers 1,300 horizontal feet instead of 1,750. Worse still, the RW group is in freefall for a longer time, and consequently gets blown further. Let's say the freeflyer is in freefall for 45 seconds, and the RW for 70. In 45 seconds you get blown nearly 2,000 horizontal feet. The RW blows just over 3,000. That leaves only 300 feet of horizontal separation without taking tracking or canopy movement into account! Make the winds 50 miles per hour, and the RW group drifts over 1,800 horizontal feet further than the freeflyers! Meanwhile, in ten seconds the plane only covers 1,100 feet. A 20 second exit separation will still have the RW group opening 400 feet from the freeflyers, not counting canopy movement or tracking! Having opened right over freeflyers before, and having just heard from several expert skydivers who narrowly missed freeflyers, and having watched RW groups blow over freeflyers on windy days, I think we have a problem. You might say, make sure the groups leave longer between exits. Well, we do tell them, but if they wait 20 seconds instead of ten, that still doesn't solve the problem because Freeflyers still fly under them under canopy. So for fast fallers your only choice if you want to get out first is to always fly perpendicular to the line of flight for 30 seconds before turning towards the dz. While I am confident most of you are aware enough to do this, it brings us back to the original time on jump run problem. Basically, Skydive Arizona isn't willing to do a lot of second passes just so freeflyers can get out first. Getting out last except for students solves virtually every problem. You control the horizontal separation, so you can ensure you won't be overtaking anyone in freefall. The windier it gets, the safer you are because you get extra separation by having slower fallers blow away from you. Students take long climb outs and pull real high, so no problem there: just get open and fly off the wind line for a few seconds to be clear of them in the unlikely event that they are in freefall at 2,500 feet. As for the argument that the canopy separation is necessary in the landing area, I don't buy it. Opening over the top instead of short, you can spiral down to make sure you get on the turn around loads. As for congestion at the landing area, no one else on the loads seem to have any problem, although you may not always get to land right by the fence. Please give this some thought. Unless one of you gives me an extremely convincing reason why you need to leave first, such as a safe spot for the skyball, I will make it standard policy that exit order will always be 1) skysurfers 2) freefall groups, largest to smallest, regardless of fall rate (Note (Skr): I believe this is a typo since the real rule is: ) (2a - relative work groups, largest to smallest and then ) (2b - fast fall groups, largest to smallest and then ) (3 - AFF and tandems ) 3) AFF and tandems, plus any other very high openings. The main reason for high openings leaving last is not separation, it's that they can make it back from a long spot!
  13. admin

    Freefall Emergencies

    Accelerated FreeFall (AFF) Emergencies As you get ready to leave the aircraft, you are supposed to do a pre-exit check to make sure that your jumpmasters are ready to exit too. If you make an error in your exit count, you can fool your jumpmasters (JMs) into thinking that you are about to leave and they may end up pulling you off the aircraft before you are truly ready to go. If you leave at the wrong time in the count, you could be taking your jumpmasters in tow. This could lead to some awkward flying if you are not arched. You may be positioned in a reverse arch (like a cat standing on top of a toilet bowl) which will attempt to send your butt to earth. The exit timing depends upon you doing the exit count right so that your jumpmasters can exit with you, not before or after you. If you find yourself looking up at the sky or tumbling, arch hard for stability. Your jumpmasters will be doing their best to assist you in getting back to the proper belly-to-earth position. AFF:Loss Of One Jumpmaster If you sheared off one jumpmaster during the exit or one let go because he was not contributing to the stabilization of the formation, arch for stability and check with the remaining jumpmaster during your circle of awareness. If you get a headshake of “NO,” it may mean that the jumpmaster holding onto you is not quite comfortable with your stability at that time. On the other hand, it may mean that he doesn’t want you to go to the next portion of your tasks because the other jumpmaster is just about to re-dock on the formation and he wants that jumpmaster in the correct position before you continue with your tasks. You may or may not feel the other jumpmaster re-dock. Whenever you get a “NO,” simply arch a bit more, wait a few seconds, then do another circle of awareness. If you get a nod of “YES,” you may continue on with your skydiving tasks regardless of whether or not you have just one of both jumpmasters firmly holding onto you. AFF: Loss Of Both Jumpmasters You are in an extremely hazardous environment if you don’t have a jumpmaster holding onto you. The moment you realize this, arch and pull immediately. The following emergencies apply to either AFF or S/L program freefalls. Of course, in the S/L program, a jumpmaster might not be in the air with you during your freefall. Five-Second Rule For Loss Of Stability Here’s a good rule for AFF or freefall. It is called the Five-Second Rule. If you are out of control, attempt to regain control by arching hard for five seconds. If you don’t recover stability by the end of that five-second period, pull your ripcord immediately (which one depends upon your altitude). This rule is normally taught to AFF students when they start their Level III training and it is applicable to all freefall students. Loss Of Altitude Awareness If you can’t determine what your altitude is because you can’t see your altimeter and you can’t see either of your jumpmasters’ altimeters, arch and pull immediately. The worst of all situations is to go into the ground at a high rate of speed simply because you didn’t know where you were. Goggles If your goggles weren’t tight, they may come up off of your eyes and cause sight problems. You could simulate a practice pull position and try to hold them in their proper place, but it is probably better to end the freefall once the situation occurs. There is nothing worse than a distraction to disorient you and cause you to lose track of time and altitude. When in doubt, whip it out.
  14. admin

    Double Fatality at Skydive Chicago

    DAYTON TOWNSHIP. Two people, including an Ottawa woman, plunged to their deaths Saturday morning in a skydiving mishap north of Ottawa. Deborah Luhmann, 27, of Ottawa, formerly of Lake in the Hills, and Steven Smith, 44, of Ohio, Ill., were pronounced dead at 10 a.m. Saturday in the emergency room at Community Hospital of Ottawa, said La Salle County Coroner Jody Bernard. Bernard said witnesses reported Luhmann's and Smith's parachutes became entangled about 75 to 100 feet above the ground, causing the chutes to deflate. Luhmann and Smith landed on Skydive Chicago property, north of the hangar. The two victims were were part of a 20-person team practicing for a national competition to be held in a few weeks. Local weather conditions Saturday were sunny, temperatures were in the mid-50s and winds were up to 20 mph. Autopsies were performed Sunday, but the results will not be available for some time. The La Salle County Sheriff's Department is investigating the incident. Luhmann was an experienced, certified skydiver with 200 jumps, according to her brother, Paul Luhmann, of Chicago. She started skydiving last year and usually jumped every weekend. "It was a very freak thing," Paul Luhmann said. "My sister was very responsible. Skydiving wasn't a stupid thrill for her. Strangely enough, for a skydiver she wasn't a risk taker. She was very responsible and logical." Luhmann was engaged to marry Donovan Bartlett, of Ottawa, formerly of Barrington, on June 22, 2002. She worked as a systems program manager for Hewitt Associates in Lincolnshire. Skydiving was the latest manifestation of Luhmann's passion for athletics, according to her brother. She was an All-America swimmer at Denison University in Ohio and later a swimming coach for the Palatine Park District. Paul Luhmann said that although his sister's time was cut short, she packed a lot of experiences into her life. "She had so much ahead of her, but had already lived so much." With the deaths of Luhmann and Smith, 10 people have died in accidents at Skydive Chicago since the facility opened near Ottawa in 1993. The most recent previous victim was a Pennsylvania woman who was killed July 9 when her chute failed to inflate.
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    Skydiver's 'milestone' jump tragedy

    A Royal Navy skydiver died on his 500th jump in front of hundreds of spectators. The jump should have been an important milestone for Lieutenant David Paton. An inquest was told on Thursday that Lieutenant Paton was part of the Raiders Parachute Display Team when he landed heavily during a display in Portsmouth. The accident happened at HMS Excellent on 25 July this year. Tony Butler, a parachuting expert, told the inquest Lieutenant Paton could have been trying to perform a "spectacular swooping landing", but had not timed it correctly. He added: "Mr Paton might have thought he was going to hit a building and turned, but did not have sufficient height to land safely." Lieutenant Paton had jumped with five other members from a Sea King helicopter at 7,000 feet in perfect conditions. Everything had gone according to plan, with the Raiders linking up and then separating to land, the inquest in Portsmouth heard. However, as they landed in front of families at the show, the leader of the display Lieutenant Commander Phil Gibbs, who was first to land, looked back to see Lieutenant Paton. He told the South East Hampshire Coroners' Court: "I saw a parachutist making a very hard diving turn to the left and he ploughed into the ground at the edge of the arena. "I probably saw the last two seconds. It was all over very quickly. I knew that something was wrong and that someone was injured over there." Lieutenant Paton, who had just completed his second year of an engineering degree at Southampton University, was taken to hospital with multiple injuries, but died later. Mr Butler, a technical officer with the British Parachute Association, said it was not possible to say exactly why Lieutenant Paton had hit the ground so hard, as his parachute was not faulty. Deputy coroner Peter Latham recorded a verdict of accidental death. ~ BBC
  16. Image by Andrey Veselov Nobody’s going to argue that landing directly into the wind is the best way to go, but we’re not always that lucky. Got a long, narrow path between obstacles? Unless you’re super-duper lucky and the wind direction seems to have been designed entirely for your landing pleasure, you’ve got yourself a crosswind landing, my friend. If you jump at a busy DZ with a super-strict canopy pattern, you’ve undoubtedly honed your crosswind skills. Great--but that’s not the only place that crosswind landings rear their skinny heads. For instance: you’ll find them lurking at an overpopulated boogie, where the landing area is a human forest with a clear patch at the very edge…or a forehead-slapper of an off landing, where your only choice is a road...or pretty much every beach landing, ever. The importance of your landing direction should override the wind direction in a number of circumstances. Here’s how to make it work. 1. Stop bellyaching and get used to it, already. Ask any airplane pilot: landing with the wind at an angle to the runway is, like, totally normal. Ask any beach-dropzone bum or coastal-soaring pilot, and they’ll definitely elaborate on the benefits of landing smoothly with the wind pushing in hard from the side. Let go of the worry. Your ram-air wing is perfectly capable of flying with the nose pointed at an angle to the runway. That maneuver even has a name: “crabbing.” (The difference between the direction the nose is pointing and the pilot’s path--“ground track”--is called the “crab angle,” which always kinda makes me think of melted butter and tongs.) 2. Get lined up. If you’ve got a long, narrow path in front of you, guess what? You’ve got yourself a landing strip. Start humming ‘The Danger Zone’ into your helmet and get ready, Goose. Your biggest task when you line up a landing is to snag yourself as much of a headwind as possible while keeping away from the obstacles you’re certainly avoiding. Anything up to a 90-degree crosswind will work. (Your task: to avoid any kind of tailwind, if at all possible.) If you have a choice, use the longest runway you can find to increase your margin for error. 3. Get creative. As you come in on that final, you’re going to be doing something of a dance with whatever wind is pushing at you from the side. You can be assured that this wind is going to be pushing you toward something you do not want to fly into. It may be pushing you unevenly. And it may be pushing you pretty damn hard. Your approach, therefore, is necessarily going to be a little less cut-and-dry than your typical downwind/base/final box. You’ll most certainly notice that your downwind leg is not actually, like, downwind and you’re not getting the distance you’re used to. What’s usually your base leg is likely to be the actual downwind, so stay vigilant and don’t let it shove you into an obstacle. 4. Hold your focus. As you tuck into your final approach, glue your eyes on the middle of the far end of the runway. Nail them there. Staple them there. Weld them there. Do not start looking at the obstacles to either side, or you are very likely to get suddenly intimate with them. 5. Let it do its thing. From there, you have one single job: to keep the wing/canopy level while you fly in a straight line. Not so bad, right? Calmly make the necessary inputs without overcorrecting. Let the nose point in whatever direction it needs to point. Warning: this bit of the flight might seem pretty wiggly. Don’t let that motion distract you from maintaining your heading. Any inputs required to keep that straight-line heading will simply increase your crab angle and point your nose into the wind, slowing you down. 6. Come to a full and complete stop. To flare in a crosswind, make a slight adjustment to your normal procedure: use moderate emphasis on the upwind brake to get into a wind-facing position. (Please note that “moderate emphasis” does not mean “full-on, panicked toggle punch.”) 7. High-five somebody. If it’s a beach landing and you managed to drop your canopy in the saltwater, go ahead and high-five the side of your own face--but no matter what, slap that palm to something. You deserve it.
  17. admin

    Canopy Formation Parachuting

    By Peter Pfalzgraf In the early days of CReW (as canopy formation skydiving used to be called) I wrote and published a little booklet for those who were interested in learning the new sport. Things have changed a lot since then. So, I found it necessary to publish something new to make general information on our sport available to everybody interested. This essay combines techniques and hints from Europe and America. The latest input came from the training camps for the new canopy formation world record attempts aiming for a 100-way formation. Canopy and Harness (Figure 1) The times are gone where they had all-around canopies that could be used fairly well for any kind of skydive. Such canopies as the Cruisair, ¬U¬nit, Pegasus, Cruislite and Fury were once very common. Today, the best parachutes for canopy formation parachuting (briefly known as “CF”, in the old days) are 7-cell canopies. These parachutes are the safest concerning deployment and stability in flight, especially in turbulent conditions. It is no coincidence that reserve parachutes and canopies for BASE jumping are mostly 7-cell canopies. Triathlons and Spectres with Dacron lines can be used for casual CF jumps, although Lightnings are the CF canopies of choice. If you intend to do a CF jump today you are well advised to use a canopy that has been designed for this kind of activity. As a compromise for your first attempts, you may use a 7-cell canopy with a thick profile (for instance a student or accuracy canopy). Never attempt CF jumps with elliptical canopies, canopies with wide wing spans (in comparison with the depth of the profile/length in direction of flight) and/or a low profile. Today’s CF canopies are available in different sizes for different weight classes. It is important that people intending to join a CF jump use the same type of canopy with the same line length and trim. Furthermore, the wing loading (weight under canopy per square foot) should be reasonably identical to guarantee similar flight characteristics. The container of your harness should be big enough for the packing volume of the canopy to make sure it can be closed properly (safety!). There should be no handles, container flaps, pop-top pilot chutes or anything else sticking out that could get caught in another jumper’s lines. Those things could result in unintentional reserve openings or problems on separation. The bridle should be short or even better, self retracting to prevent your pilot chute from being caught in the other jumper’s lines while you are in a formation. You can imagine that separating a plane formation with one jumper’s pilot chute entangled in the other jumper’s lines will most certainly result in serious problems. Additional Equipment The altimeter should be worn in a way that makes sure it does not get snagged and can always be seen while you have your hands in the toggles. The helmet should provide not only head protection but also allow good hearing. It should not cause wind noise that might affect your hearing. Every CF jumper should carry a hook knife that can be used in case of an entanglement or wrap. Sometimes it only takes one line to be cut to get free and save a reserve ride. The hook knife of course should also be worn in a way that prevents it from being caught or ripped away. Your shoes must not have any hooks. They should fit loose enough that you can get rid of them if need be in order to get free. It is very useful to wear long socks to protect your legs against bruises and line burns. Aerodynamics of the Airfoil Lift is the force that keeps a canopy in the air. Opposite to a round canopy that only creates a big air resistance to slow down your descent using a large area of fabric, the square parachute, or airfoil, really produces lift like the wing of a glider for instance. The square footage of an airfoil is approximately one-sixth to one-quarter of a round canopy, and yet has a far lower rate of descent. The lift of the airfoil consists of 1/3 high pressure under the profile (similar to the round canopy) and 2/3 low pressure on the top surface created by the undisturbed airflow. This effect is the important matter for us. The physical reasons for this effect aren’t pertinent to this particular discussion. What is most important is to know that the main part of the lift depends on the undisturbed airflow on the top surface of the square canopy, forward speed and the shape of the profile. The lift increases with forward speed and grows with the thickness of the profile. The air resistance of the canopy slows the forward speed down. Due to the different pressure at the upper and lower surface of the profile air will flow around the sides of the canopy from the bottom to the top following the pressure difference. This effect reduces the lift and is called induced resistance. As a consequence of this, the maximum lift is in the centre of the airfoil. The stabilizers on either side of the profile are designed to reduce the loss of lift by hindering the airflow from the bottom to the top surface. Another way to reduce the loss of lift is to make the airfoil very wide so that the percentage of wing area being affected becomes comparably small. A good sample for this solution is the paraglider. This shape of airfoil is, of course, not good for CF activities. Because of the airflow around the sides and also around the tail, a parachute gliding through the air leaves a track of turbulence. The side turbulence creates a zone of turbulent air on either side beginning at the trailing corners of the airfoil. The turbulence of the tail creates a turbulent zone rising from the trailing edge of the canopy. It is clear that a parachute or canopy formation flying into such a turbulent zone will be affected by losing lift. Even aircraft flying through the turbulence of a canopy formation will lose considerable altitude. Figures 2 and 3 show the shape and position of the zones of turbulence. In a formation these phenomenon cause effects that can be noticed clearly. Just the top canopy in a formation gets only undisturbed airflow and has the maximum possible lift. All canopies having a body in front or on a front corner will lose lift due to the turbulence caused by the body out in front. Aerodynamics of the basic Formation Types Knowing the things mentioned above, we can predict that any type of formation cannot perform as well as a single canopy. That is useful for building formations as it gives the single canopy the potential to approach and dock on a formation due to its extra lift and forward speed. In principle all formations consist of a few basic types. Let’s look at the conditions in these. The Stack The stack (Figure 4) is the most basic formation. To build a stack one jumper sits on top the other jumper’s center cell and hooks his feet behind the center A-lines of the lower canopy similar to sitting on a chair. There will be some tension on the lines because the lower canopy in this type of formation will have a little less lift. In a stack the body of the top jumper is in front of the center cell of the lower canopy. The turbulence of that body meets the airflow of the lower canopy exactly at the point where the main lift is created and leads to a considerable loss of lift. This means that a stack will sink far more than a single canopy. The Plane The plane (Figure 5) is created out of the stack. The top jumper climbs down the center A-lines and hooks his feet behind the front risers of the lower jumper underneath the slider. The lower jumper supports him by putting on some brakes to increase the lift of his canopy. For this formation type one or two cross connectors are required, which either connect the front connector links (one line) or two lines that connect the front and rear connector link on either side. Otherwise the top jumper might slide back up due to his plus of lift and pull up the slider, which would result in a collapsed lower canopy. In a plane formation, the turbulence/loss of lift effect is not as strong. As the top jumper’s body is beneath the two canopies, one might think there is no loss of lift at all, yet the line contact causes deformation in the lower canopy and additionally forces both canopies into a new aspect ratio. This leads to a loss of performance. A single canopy will perform better than a biplane. If a plane becomes bigger there will of course, be canopies with bodies in front of them. Planes with more than four canopies will sink faster as the plane formation grows larger. The Stairstep In a stairstep formation (Figure 6) the top jumper is positioned outside of the lower canopies end cell. He takes a foot grip on the outside A-line. Flying the stair step requires much more experience than flying a stack or plane formation because the link is not as stable. It is more of a pivot point than a stable connection. The lower jumper has to compensate for the influence of the upper jumper’s body to the flight of his canopy. To prevent the lower canopy from coming up and around you can put some tension on the outside front riser of the lower canopy or the lower jumper can stretch the outside leg while lifting the inside leg. The stair-step is far less turbulent than the stack and plane. The body of the top jumper only causes turbulence on the outside corner of the lower canopy and that is a part of the airfoil that contributes only a minor amount of lift. That means that a stair step formation is only slightly less efficient than a single canopy. Because only one side of the lower canopy is affected, the other side will perform better and cause the canopy to rise and drive forward. If the lower jumper does not compensate for this, his canopy might come up and around, leading to a wrap. To prevent that the lower jumper will start to compensate for the difference as soon as the top jumper has taken his grip. Possible ways to compensate include putting tension on the outside front riser and stretching the outside leg while lifting the inside leg. One might also apply some slight inside brake. You can determine how much trim is needed by easing up on the risers or brakes after the canopy is set. Sometimes the formation will fly well with only slight trim or none at all. Nevertheless, the lower jumper should keep a watchful eye on his canopy to immediately compensate, if necessary. That wraps up part one. Join Peter in a week or so for Part 2, when we'll dive deep into building and controlling these formations.
  18. admin

    Skydiver breaks leg

    A skydiver was in Perth Royal Infirmary last night after badly breaking a leg while at Strathallan airfield in Perthshire. It is believed the man, who has not yet been named, landed awkwardly at the end of an otherwise uneventful 2,000ft dive. The latest accident comes less than a month after Craig Paton fell hundreds of feet when his jump went wrong. He suffered serious internal injuries. Mr Paton, from Kilmarnock, was badly hurt because the canopy of his parachute failed to open and he hit the ground at over 40 miles per hour. He has since been discharged from hospital.
  19. admin

    Another Look at No-Wind Landings

    The advice Brian Germain provides in his article titled "Surviving the No Wind Landing" might help you achieve consistent, comfortable landings on days when the winds are calm. Unfortunately, other jumpers might not be as successful when trying to follow that same advice. Some of the techniques described in "Surviving the No Wind Landing" are slightly advanced, and jumpers who are just trying to perfect basic flaring skills might find those techniques difficult to use. Other information in that article might be helpful to people flying certain specific sizes and types of canopies, but we might discover that this information does not actually apply to a significant number of canopies in common use. The first piece of advice Brian offers is to "make sure you level off within touching distance from the ground." This can certainly lead to softer landings, particularly in calm winds. There is only one problem: if many jumpers fear no-wind landings, there are probably even more who are afraid of flaring too high. For some people the game is over at the instant they realize they have made that mistake: they expect the worst, stop flying, and start panicking. In an effort to always level off within touching distance from the ground some jumpers develop a habit of consistently flaring too low. Another common problem occurs when people reach for the ground with their feet, believing they are within touching distance when they are actually a few feet high. People who suffer from these habits are often pleasantly surprised, and see a remarkable improvement in their landings, when they learn that it is not actually necessary to level off with your feet right at ground level. Many modern canopies are actually very forgiving of a high flare. Understanding the Stall A very common concern is that a canopy will stall if it is flared too high. Brian reinforces this concern when he mentions the importance of arriving at the ground "before the stall breaks." To understand why flaring slightly high is not necessarily a problem we need to take a closer look at the concept of a stall. "Stall" has a very specific meaning in aviation. It is a significant decrease in lift caused by a separation of airflow that occurs when a wing reaches its critical angle of attack. Understand? No? Okay, then imagine a car driving down the highway, heading toward a curve in the road. Most highways have gentle curves, for good reason, because cars tend to fly off the road if a curve is too sharp. Now think about the relative wind blowing in your face under canopy. Your canopy bends that relative wind to create lift. Pulling down on both toggles pulls the tail of the canopy down and bends the relative wind even more, creating even more lift. The further you pull the toggles down the more lift is created, up to a certain point. The "critical angle of attack" is the point where the curve becomes too sharp and the relative wind separates from the canopy like a car flying off of the road. This separation results in a sudden and dramatic loss of lift. The term "stall" refers specifically to the sudden loss of lift that occurs in this particular situation. Image 1 shows a canopy being intentionally stalled. In frame "A" the brave and handsome test jumper is putting the canopy into brakes, pulling the tail down and increasing the curve that the relative wind must follow. In frame "B" we see the canopy in very deep brakes, but not yet in a stall. The canopy is curving the relative wind sharply and creating a lot of lift. In this flight mode it is flying slowly through the air with a very low rate of descent. In frame "C" the canopy has reached the critical angle of attack. The lift is rapidly decreasing as the canopy begins to stall. In frame "D" the canopy has entered a full stall. When flaring it is obviously important to have your feet on the ground before your canopy stalls. But let's think about a student canopy. Student canopies are traditionally not supposed to stall when the toggles are held all the way down in a full flare. They are either specifically designed that way or are rigged with extra slack in the brake lines. What about a slightly smaller canopy, such as one that might be used by a novice or intermediate jumper? If the brake lines are set to the correct length specified by the manufacturer, many canopies in this category also will not stall when the toggles are held all the way down in a full flare. They will simply maintain a slow forward speed and low rate of descent, just like frame "B" in image 1. Even if they do stall it might not occur until the toggles have been held all the way down for a number of seconds: sometimes five or six seconds, maybe even more. Jumpers who fly these types of canopies don't really need to be too concerned about an accidental stall. You may be surprised to learn that some small, "high-performance elliptical" canopies also will not stall with the toggles held all the way down, or at least not until they've been held there for a few seconds. Whether or not a particular canopy will stall when it is held in a full flare depends on several factors, including the model and size of the canopy, the length of the brake lines, the length of the risers, and length of the jumper's arms. When held in a full flare a significant number of canopies will simply maintain a relatively low airspeed and rate of descent, at least for several seconds. This knowledge can be very helpful when we talk about flaring high. Look at image 2. In frame "A" we see a jumper reaching level flight with his toes about six feet above the ground. Tragedy? Not really. There are only three things he needs to do: 1) wait wait wait; 2) keep it straight; and 3) FINISH! "Wait" means stop pulling the toggles down as soon as you realize you've started flaring too high. Save the rest of the flare for later. "Keep it straight" is important, too. You want to look at a point on the ground out in front of you and keep the canopy flying straight toward that point, just like driving your car down a straight road. And when the canopy starts to drop you back toward the ground, just before your feet touch down, push the toggles down and FINISH your flare, as we see in frame "B." In most cases doing this will result in a reasonably soft, stand-up landing as we see from the last two frames. Even if you don't land softly, look at frames "B" and "C" again. What body position are you in when you finish your flare properly? Looks like you're ready for a PLF, doesn't it? Granted, you will achieve softer landings on calm-wind days if you level off right above the ground, but that is a skill that needs to be developed through practice. An important step in that process is learning to relax and stay focused if you do flare high. This will allow you to keep flying the canopy and finish the flare properly, which will improve your landings in all conditions. Practice at Altitude We can see the importance of knowing whether or not your canopy will stall when held in a full flare. How can you find this out? Yep, you guessed it. Under canopy, in your holding area, above 2000', after checking thoroughly for other canopies, push those toggles all the way down and see if that baby stalls. If you've never stalled a canopy before you may want to get some advice from an instructor or coach before trying it. So try it. Did your canopy stall? No? Makes flaring seem a bit less intimidating, doesn't it? Or was the canopy easier to stall than you expected? If so, you may want to have it checked out by a rigger. Some canopies are relatively easy to stall, even with the brake lines set to the correct length. If you are jumping one of these canopies then hopefully you've already perfected your landing technique under something more forgiving. If you can't stall your canopy just by holding the toggles down, does that mean you won't be able to get enough stopping power at the end of your flare? Some people believe so, and Brian touches on this point in his article when he stresses the importance of making sure your brake lines are "short enough:" Brake Line Settings "Most manufacturers set the brake lines to allow for a certain amount of slack so that when the front risers are applied with the toggles in the hands, there is no tail input. This, coupled with shorter risers... will prevent you from reaching your parachute's slowest flying speed." In reality, many popular canopies do not come from the factory with this much slack in the brake lines. For example, people who jump a Sabre2 from Performance Designs or a Triathlon from Aerodyne Research might prefer to have the brake lines lengthened a few inches beyond the factory setting if they use their front risers a lot. Even then, they might not lengthen them to the point where there will be no tail input all when the front risers are used. Even canopies specifically designed for swooping won't necessarily have the brake lines set that long. Is there really anything wrong if your canopy does have a bit of extra slack in the brake lines? Usually not. Even with the brake lines "detuned" on a student canopy, we still expect students to learn how to stand up their landings. In fact, many popular canopies used by experienced jumpers will also slow down enough for a comfortable landing even if you cannot reach the canopy's absolute slowest flying speed: plenty of people achieve soft stand-up landings in calm winds under canopies that will not stall when the toggles are held in a full flare. Even jumpers who have intentionally lengthened their brake lines for swooping can still achieve comfortable landings in calm winds. Is there anything wrong with shortening your brake lines? In some cases, yes! Especially if they are shortened so much that they pull the tail down when your toggles are in the full glide position. As an example, look closely at the tail of the canopy in image 3. It seems like the jumper is pulling the toggles down slightly, but a closer inspection reveals that his hands are all the way up. Having a canopy's brake lines set too short like this can significantly reduce the flare power on some canopies and make them noticeably more difficult to land, particularly on calm-wind days. Excessively short brake lines are more common than many people realize and frequently go unnoticed. It is a common mistake for someone to shorten a canopy's brake lines because it appears that the canopy "doesn't have enough flare at the bottom end," when the real problem is that the brake lines are already too short! If you're really convinced that your brake lines are too long there are a few steps you should take before having them shortened. On your next jump, after you've released your brakes, put your toggles all the way up against the guide rings and look up at the tail of your canopy. Don't forget to watch where you're going and look out for other canopies. If your canopy looks like the one in image 3 then forget about having the brake lines shortened. They probably need to be lengthened instead. If your canopy seems difficult to land you can also have a rigger measure the suspension lines and compare them to the manufacturer's specifications. It's possible that your canopy has simply gone out of trim and is due for a reline. Once these steps have been completed then get some of your landings videotaped and see if you are finishing your flare properly. Look at the jumper in image 4, just as he is touching down. Does he need shorter brake lines to get a better flare? No, he needs to push his toggles all the way down and FINISH flaring before he touches down. Most jumpers finish their flares at least slightly better than the jumper in image 4, but not finishing completely is one of the most common flaring problems. Brian makes a very good point about this: "the brake lines can only work if they are pulled." If you are still absolutely convinced that you need shorter brake lines then follow another good piece of advice Brian gives and only shorten them an inch at a time. Make several jumps, preferably in different wind conditions, before shortening them any more. And remember that you can significantly reduce a canopy's flare power by shortening the brake lines too much. There is usually some excess brake line left over when the toggles are tied onto a canopy, and there are front row seats in purgatory for people who cut this excess brake line off. That excess line should be finger-trapped back into the brake line or secured in a similar fashion in case the brake lines need to be lengthened later on. A qualified rigger should know how to do this correctly. What else might affect your landing on a calm-wind day? Brian discusses the importance of keeping the canopy flying straight during the flare, and not allowing it to bank or turn. He emphasizes this by stating that "any tilt in the roll axis will result in a premature stall of the parachute…. due to an effect known as 'load factor.'" Load Factor If we are going to introduce "load factor" into our discussion then let's do the math. At a bank angle of 30 degrees load factor will increase stall speed by approximately 8%. A bank angle of 45 degrees will increase stall speed by 20%. The exact stall speed of a ram-air canopy will depend on several factors, but let's use 5 mph (8 km/h) as an example. In that case, a 30-degree bank angle while flaring will only increase your stall speed by 0.4 mph (0.64 km/h). To increase stall speed by 1 mph (1.6 km/h) you will need a bank angle of 45 degrees while flaring, which is a pretty sporty maneuver by most people's standards. While load factor might sound important, is a 0.4 mph increase in stall speed a significant consideration when landing your canopy? Probably not. Nonetheless, is it important to keep the canopy flying straight while you flare? Absolutely. Even without a stall occurring, banking or turning while you flare can cause you to touch down at a higher speed. You will probably also land with your body off balance, and fall over sideways. A bank or turn during the flare is most commonly caused by reaching for the ground with one foot. You can usually see yourself doing this on video, and might even feel yourself doing it while it's happening. This problem can easily be avoided if you focus on looking straight ahead, keeping your body straight, and flaring evenly. What should your feet be doing? Do you need one foot below you and one out in front as you prepare to touch down? That probably will happen naturally just as you stand up at the end of your flare without putting any extra effort into making it happen. And putting extra effort into making it happen could cause you to reach for the ground with one foot. If you need to think about anything while you're flaring, think about keeping your feet together as you get into level flight, and continue keeping them together while you fly the canopy in a straight line across the ground as far as possible. If everything is going smoothly then as the canopy sets you down you can just stand up as if you were getting out of a chair. Your feet know what to do. Look at image 5 below. We see a jumper flaring his canopy with his feet and knees together, knees slightly bent. Looks like he's simply maintaining a good PLF position, doesn't it? As he finishes his flare and the canopy sets him down, his feet come apart slightly to accept his weight. Harness Body Position What about leaning forward in the harness? Is "freeing your body from the pitch of the system" a crucial part of flaring? Look at image 5 again. A pitch change does occur when the nose of your canopy tilts up at the beginning of the flare. This pitch change is what puts the canopy into level flight, and the pitch change is actually created by the movement of your body under the canopy. In fact, it can be extremely helpful to view your body as an integral part of the parachute system instead of separating yourself from it. Feeling your body swing in conjunction with the canopy's movement is an important part of doing effective practice flares. If you like to lean forward in the harness and it seems to help your landings, that's fantastic. It feels nice and looks cool. But it's also not a problem if you simply sit still in the harness and let your feet swing out slightly in front of you as you flare. Your body will rock up onto your feet as your feet touch down and accept your weight. You can either "lean forward into the experience," as Brian suggests, or maintain a more laid-back pose if you prefer. Whichever one feels more comfortable is the best one for you. The technique Brian calls the "Seagull Landing," where you dip down below standing height then rise up again at the end of the flare, also feels good and looks cool if you do it correctly. You'll do it correctly if you develop the technique naturally while you practice good basic flaring skills. Putting too much conscious effort into achieving a "Seagull Landing" is similar to the belief that you must level off right at ground level every time: it can result in the same problems and bad habits. Most canopies will slow down just fine if you level off a comfortable distance above the ground and simply maintain level flight through the remainder of the flare. In general, it might help to stop thinking about a "no-wind landing" as being significantly different from a "normal" landing. The basic skills that you use to land in stronger winds will also help you land softly in calm winds. Any bad habits you develop might not hurt your landings too much when there is some wind to slow you down, but those habits are usually still present and affecting your flare to some degree, and can be eliminated by practicing proper techniques. Eliminating those bad habits by keeping things simple, letting yourself relax, and focusing on good basic flaring techniques will go a long way to improving your landings in all conditions. Soon you'll be just as confident landing on calm day as you are on windier ones, and you may even start to prefer calm-wind landings. Experienced skydiving instructors and coaches, like those in any other sport, develop their own opinions, philosophies, and teaching methods. The advice you get from one person may be quite different from what someone else tells you. This can actually be a good thing sometimes, because the advice that helps one person may not be equally helpful to others. The most basic, fundamental principles of aerodynamics can be used to describe the flight of any wing, so some of the things you learn about one canopy will certainly apply to others. However, specific performance characteristics can vary greatly from one aircraft to another: a 210 sq. ft. canopy does not perform exactly the same way as a 107, and a Triathlon does not perform exactly like a Sabre2. A Sabre2 does not perform exactly like a Lotus, and a Lotus does not perform exactly like a Twin Otter. When discussing canopy performance and flying techniques the most important piece of advice I give my students is this: don't passively accept anything anyone says, including anything that I tell you. Think about it, and if it doesn't make sense keep asking questions until it does. More importantly, experiment in the air and see for yourself if it's really true. Also, remember to breathe. Scott Miller References: Direction of Commander, Naval Air Systems Command, United States Navy. Aerodynamics for Naval Aviators. Washington: Naval Air Systems Command, 1960. Revised 1965. Germain, Brian. "Surviving the No Wind Landing." Dropzone.com. Sep 05 2007. (accessed October 13, 2007)
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    Airport Safety

    Never smoke around aircraft, hangers or pumps. Both aviation fuel and aircraft dope present a great fire risk. When moving light aircraft, be careful where you push. They are covered with very light fabric or metal and are easy to damage. The pilot will show you where it is safe to apply pressure. Beware of the prop. It is difficult to see and will make quick mincemeat of anyone who walks into it. Always walk around the back of fixed-wing aircraft and in front of helicopters. Stand where the taxiing pilot can see you; his or her forward visibility is not good. Get into the habit. Leave the dog and the children at home, the airport is not a nursery. If a play area is made available to children at the DZ, remember that they are still your responsibility. If your airport has more than one runway, stay off the active one. It will normally be the one running the closest to the direction of the wind. Remember that planes usually takeoff and land into the wind so look for them downwind. Rules change from airport to airport and at some you will not even be allowed to cross the active. Do not walk down any runway and do not fly your canopy over one under 500 feet. Be nice to all the pilots, they have a lot of clout at the airport and you may need one to fly the jump ship. Be patient with the whuffos (spectators), they are public opinion.
  21. Byron -- The victim of a weekend sky-diving accident near Byron Airport has been identified as Ole Jakob Husa, a resident of Pleasant Hill. Husa was apparently killed after his foot became entangled in a line as he struggled to get his main parachute to open. He was declared dead at the scene. Still, the cause of death has not been determined, according to a spokesman from the Contra Costa coroner's office. The 24-year-old, who had performed more than 200 jumps during his two years of sky-diving experience, made his last dive from a 14-passenger King Air airplane operated by the Bay Area Skydiving Co., at the Byron Airport. The sky diver packed his own parachute and was using his personal equipment when the accident happened shortly before 5 p.m., according to Mike Tjaarde, manager of the Bay Area Skydiving Co. Tjaarde said Saturday's accident was the first fatal sky dive at the airport since 1995 and the first for the Bay Area Skydiving Co. in eight years. An investigation into the accident is continuing. The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board will also look into Husa's death.
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    3 Skydivers Injured Before NASCAR Race

    ROCKINGHAM, N.C. - Three Army skydivers were injured Sunday when strong wind knocked them to the ground before a NASCAR race. A group of eight jumpers from the U.S. Army Special Operations Command Parachute team from Fort Bragg came sailing into the track area, trailing red smoke as part of the pre-race activities for the Subway 400 at North Carolina Speedway. With wind up to 40 mph, one jumper was carried away from his targeted landing on the track and into the infield, where he appeared to bounce off the top of a tractor-trailer before landing on the ground, his chute caught on the antenna of a van. He was airlifted to Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte and was in good condition, a nursing administrator said. The hospital did not provide the soldier's name. Messages for spokesmen with the Army Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg were not immediately returned. Another jumper sailed into the garage area and bounced off the top of Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s hauler. He landed between race team trucks and a fence. That jumper, as well as a third who landed hard on the asphalt of the track, were taken to Womack Army Hospital in Fayetteville for treatment of minor injuries. The hospital did not immediately return calls. Track personnel did not immediately have their names or any other information about the injured soldiers. At least two jumpers nailed their landings on the front stretch of the race track. Another skydiver never made it to the track, landing outside the Turn 1 grandstands. ~ Associated Press
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    Briefings And Safety Considerations

    Hazard Briefings Emergency procedures will vary from drop zone to drop zone to fit local conditions. There may be trees, rivers, power lines, hostile neighbors, prisons, highways or a girls’ school. In fact, those DZ’s lacking certain hazards may touch on the corrective action for every emergency but lightly. Therefore, when visiting a new DZ, it is imperative that you get a briefing on the area. Alcohol And Drugs In order to achieve the greatest enjoyment from your skydiving experience, you will want to approach it with an unfogged mind. This means going to bed early the night before and going easy on the booze. Even the common cold will trouble you due to the changes in atmospheric pressure. If your mind and body are not operating at 100%, you will react with less efficiency in an emergency and you will enjoy the jumping less. Remember, the lower pressure at altitude amplifies the affects of alcohol and drugs. Health Concerns Jumping with a head cold can lead to ruptured sinuses and ruptured ear drums. The inner ear and the Eustachian tubes do not take kindly to large pressure changes when they are plugged. Infections in these areas can produce debilitating pain under normal jump conditions. In a few words — if you are sick or under the weather, don’t jump. Loading up on antihistamines and decongestants can cause other medical problems. There is always another day to enjoy a jump in good health. Scuba Diving Alert There is no problem in descending into the water within 24 hours of jumping or flying, however, there is trouble waiting in doing the reverse. Scuba divers know to stay away from air travel for a period of 24 hours after their last descent below 30 feet (one atmosphere’s increase in pressure) so as to avoid the bends (nitrogen bubbles forming in the joints and blood stream). Since skydiving involves air travel, the same rule applies. Some Fear Is Good For You It has been said that the difference between fear and respect is knowledge. Most people fear skydiving because they don’t understand it. Fear is the result of ignorance and it is part of nature’s protective mechanism; it warns us to beware when we are on unfamiliar ground. The best way to cope with problems is to prevent them in the first place. The key is education. It is unfortunate when someone is injured while engaging in sport, but it is tragic when a second person is hurt for the same explainable and preventable reason.
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    Skydiving Emergencies And Procedures

    Skydiving Emergencies The bulk of the content from this section is republished with permission from Chapter 4 of Parachuting: The Skydiver's Handbook by Dan Poynter and Mike Turoff. Although rare, the fact of the matter is that there are a number of possible emergencies in skydiving that could either hurt or kill you. The emphasis in this section is on education. If you are uncertain about anything speak to your jumpmasters. On The Ground Briefings and Safety Considerations Hazard Briefings Alcohol and Drugs Health Concerns Scuba Diving Alert Some Fear is Good for You Airport Safety In The Aircraft Emergencies in the Aircraft Airplane problems Open parachute in the airplane On Exit Exit Emergencies Exit hazards-static line Exit hazards-AFF Dangling static line Student in tow Static line not hooked up Pulling high is dangerous In Freefall Freefall Emergencies Accelerated FreeFall (AFF) emergencies AFF: Loss of one jumpmaster AFF: Loss of both jumpmasters Five-Second Rule for loss of stability Loss of altitude awareness Goggles At Deployment Deployment Emergencies Lost handle Hard pull Pilot chute hesitation Pull-out v. throw-out Trapped pilot chute Pilot chute in tow Under Canopy Canopy Emergencies: Breakaway Jettisoning the main canopy Two Action System (TAS) The Single Operation System (S.O.S) Canopy transfer Harness shift Parachute Mulfunctions Total malfunctions Partial malfunctions Major partial malfunctions Bag Lock Horseshoe Violent spin Line overs Partial malfunctions that may be majors or minors Rips and tears The snivel Slider hang-up, at the canopy Slider hang-up, halfway Broken suspension line(s) Minor malfunctions Line twists Premature brake release Broken steering line Steering line(s) won’t release Pilot chute "under/over" problems End cell closures Combination malfunctions Two canopies open Tandem jumping malfunctions Large ring and ripcord handle Change of emergency procedures Breakaway training Emergency priorities Canopy collisions On Landing Landing challenges Turbulence Dust devils Thunderstorms The tree landing Power lines Water landings Buildings Other obstacles