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Found 204 results

  1. Hello everybody, I’m brand new here and brand new to the sport, I have not even taken my AFF yet. I did my first tandem and loved it! But I am very bothered by something and I think this definitely needs to be shared! I love adrenaline sports and partake in a few. I take them all very seriously because there is definitely risk so I started to do my research. Don’t get me wrong, I do understand that accidents and fatalities can be due to many different variables. I have been calling around to a few of the drop zones to check things out, Davis is very reputable and everyone says great things about it but it is very very far for me, I’ve heard some mixed things about Lodi. I’ve asked a few skydivers what they thought of Monterey and a few very experienced people have told me that it is beautiful but you should be a seasoned diver before you jumped there. I thought that was an interesting statement? I pursued a little further. I found out in 2012 there was a guy named Gerardo Flores whos parachute deployed at 16,000 feet. The C.E.O and chief safety officer of skydive Monterey, Jackie Behrick, and other divers said he should not of had a handheld camera and it was a huge distraction and what caused the incident. After watching the video I found fault with those statements. I have never done any skydiving but I also know what I saw, he was on his back and his parachute simply came out of the container. I could be completely incorrect but that’s what it look like. Here was part of the story: FAA Inspector Robinson looked over the parachute on Aug. 14, 2012, along with a parachute rigger examiner Allen Silver at Silver Parachute Sales & Services in Hayward, Calif. "The container showed signs of wear and tear that appeared beyond serviceable limits," the report continues. "The material on the flap of the reserve container was worn on numerous parts of the cover. "The main parachute closing flap velcro was completely worn." Behrick's reply: It makes sense it was messed up after the jump. His ill-advised maneuvers led to damage, and for all she knows the paramedics who reached him on the ground cut up the rig. Flores' lawyer, Oakland personal injury attorney David A. Kleczek, disagrees. "The parachute was a piece of garbage beyond serviceable limits," he says, "with intentional modifications that don't meet muster." Before she was aware of a lawsuit, Behrick issued a statement that the accident was due to diver error, not improperly checked or maintained equipment. Flores’s lawyer said there would likely be no lawsuit without the FAA report. "If the report said the parachute was in perfect working condition, I don't think we would present a case," he says. "It all goes back to the parachute, above all else." As far as the barrel roll, Kleczek says that was part of training administered by SDM themselves. "Their training course specifically calls for him to practice barrel rolls," he says. SO....... The reason I am so irritated is because I just called Monterey and I asked if there had ever been any injuries, accidents or fatalities. I wanted to see if they would be honest. I spoke with a lady named Dannie (or Danny) and recorded the call after the beginning because I could see where it was going with all of her probing after I told her my friend mentioned there had been an incident. She told me there have been no injuries, accidents or fatalities in Monterey EVER and I must have the wrong jump zone. She then said what sort of things have you heard? I asked if she was sure and she said yes, I even recorded it. I then continued to hear talk in the background and her pauses. She was being fed what to say and she absolutely knew that she was not being truthful. As a good salesman you can tell when someone is selling you. I was considering taking AFF there instead of Hollister because it’s so much closer, if they were honest with me I probably still would’ve done it there, they completely lied to my face. What I find very funny about that behavior is this quote by the Monterey dropzone CEO and chief safety officer Jackie Behrick, "He declared a routine and was completely lying to my face." Doesn’t feel very good to be lied to does it Jackie?! p.s. I really hate to start out this way and I really hope that I’m not hated for not being 100% on board with all the jump zones or backing this particular jump zone with this incident . And if I’m speaking with ignorance and there is something I don’t know or haven’t seen please kindly chime in and educate me, I’m not trying to be a hater, just really felt that this was bad form. here is the story and video in case this is new news http://www.montereycountyweekly.com/blogs/news_blog/man-sues-marina-s-skydive-monterey-bay-over-skydiving-crash/article_c2f5feee-a89e-11e3-9225-001a4bcf6878.html
  2. Does anyone have any pointers (this is great don't buy this) on electronic wind speed indicators? I searched and there is a wide variety. A friend suggested I focus on those used by boat owners. Thoughts?
  3. Hi, I have gotten mixed answers to this question so I wanted to ask here. Hopefully someone who owns one of these can chime in or a rigger who has experience with them I was told that the TSO may be written in a way that some riggers will pack it and others will not. Another source told me it has a TSO and there is no problem. The one I'm looking at was manufactured on 1999 if that makes a difference Anybody have any experience with this?
  4. admin

    Side by Side - A Two Out Story

    April 1st is typically a day for trickery, but the only fool this year was me, and the only trickster was my main canopy! I decided to make a last-minute trip to Skydive Perris with friends to make a balloon jump, but when it was winded out, the generous CReW Dawgs at Elsinore came up with all the gear my friend and I would need to make some beginner CReW jumps. The first jump on borrowed gear went great, but as we packed up my coach informed me the gear I was borrowing was a pull-out, and briefed me on how to use it. We planned a four-stack and lucked out with a camera jumper. As we get out of the plane, I pulled weak and ended up with no canopy. I knew from previous coaching that it’s a bad idea to take a Lightning terminal, so I went straight to reserve. As the reserve came out, I was kicking myself that I wasn’t going to be able to participate in the CReW jump, and would have plenty of time to think about how I got into this mess as my teammates got to play. I decided to fly over and watch, and that’s when I noticed the pilot chute bouncing around on my back. “I should get rid of that,” I thought, and reached for my cutaway handle. I didn’t even have a grip on it before my main came out and settled gently next to my reserve. Next thing I know, the camera flyer is in front of me, pointing and laughing. “What do I do?” I screamed, and he just laughed harder. “Well,” I thought, “if he’s not freaking out, why should I?” So I didn’t freak out. Instead, I worked to get back to the dropzone. No easy task, as I’d soon find out. A west-blowing wind was sending me back over the Ortegas, and with twice the fabric over my head, I was struggling to get any forward movement at all. Unbeknownst to me, my coach flew under me, shouting at me to chop. I tried to force some separation between the two canopies to do just that, but I couldn’t trust myself to hold the reserve away from the main long enough to go for my cutaway handle. Because the two canopies were trimmed so similarly, they really wanted to fly together, although the particular configuration I was flying really wanted to fly south. Considering the town of Elsinore was south, I spent a whole lot of time and energy just keeping the pair flying straight. Image by David Sands (D29444)Imagine pulling straight out of the plane under a large canopy, unable to do much besides try to keep your canopies flying straight and think about the sequence of events that got you here. Imagine looking down and going through your tree-landing procedure, and then multiplying that by two. Imagine trying to figure out how you’re going to steer the two canopies onto one of the small access roads on the mountains. With 1,000 feet to spare, I made it to the field I was aiming for, just at the foot of the Ortegas. I tried the usual landing-out procedure, transposing my pattern onto the field, but my canopies kept wanting to steer to the right, into the small neighborhood next to the field. So instead I just aimed my canopies at a small patch of grass in the field, and hit it gently without flaring. My legs were shaking and I couldn’t stop laughing nervously. It took me three tries to daisy chain my lines, and one of the Elsinore staff members had come to pick me up before I even made it out of the field. My coach, feeling responsible for me, landed in the mountains and called Elsinore to let them know what had happened. It took some time, but they found him, having landed without incident. Once I got back to the dropzone, I cracked a beer and waited for the shaking in my legs to go away. Lessons LearnedThe main takeaway from this is to know your gear. I was briefed very thoroughly by my coach on how to use a pull-out system, and practiced multiple times on the plane. Yet when it came time to pull, I didn’t fully extend my arm, and ended up with a pilot chute in tow. To me that was always one of the scariest malfunctions there are, because there are two schools of thought on how to handle it. One is to go straight to reserve, as I did, and one is to cutaway and go to reserve. In hindsight, I stand by my choice, because cutting away could have fired my main directly into my reserve. The other scary thing about this particular malfunction was that it was a two-out that was flying stable. One school of thought is that you should cut away to avoid a downplane, and the other is that if you’re flying stable, you can pilot it to an open area, which is what I did. If I had downplaned, I could have cut away my main and flown my reserve down, but I wasn’t convinced I could keep the canopies apart long enough to get to my cutaway handle. The problem with this scenario is that, under different circumstances, a dust devil could have blown my canopies into a downplane close to the ground, and I might not have been able to chop my main at all. One last thing I would change is that I would have taken my cell phone. If I had gotten hurt in the mountains without any way to access emergency care, things could have been a lot worse. I’ve since invested in a small prepaid phone to keep in my jumpsuit pocket. In the end, I stand by my choices, and acknowledge that there was a lot of luck that kept me from disaster that day. I regret that my coach got stuck in the mountains, but I’m grateful that he was willing to look out for me. I faced the two malfunctions I feared the most on one jump and managed to walk away with a swollen ankle and a wounded sense of pride. Will I still do CReW? Every chance I get! And I’d trust the riggers, CReW Dawgs, staff, and other jumpers at Elsinore any day.
  5. nettenette

    Why We Boogie

    The History of a Silly Name Image by Andrey Veselov It’s hard to imagine that, not too long ago, a skydiving get-together was a rare thing indeed. Today, as you’ve no doubt noticed, there are hundreds of ‘em. In fact, almost every drop zone, no matter how small, has at least one official yearly boogie to celebrate its local jumpers. Namibia! Fiji! A tiny little beach town in Kenya*! A big field in Montana! Where two or three are gathered in its name, behold: you’ve got a boogie on your hands. Some of these events are immense, filling the skies with dozens of wildly various aircraft, hundreds of skydivers and a whirling (terrifying?) smorgasbord of disciplines. Others are comparably tiny. Despite their differences, most boogies are a reliably good time. It stands to reason that a group of skydivers would find any excuse to come together in a frenzied combination of daytime skydiving and nighttime frivolity–but when did the first one take place, and how did it come by such a goofy name? Read on. The Birth of a BoogieThe modern skydiving boogie may owe its existence to a film: specifically, the first major skydiving film released to the public, called Gypsy Moths. Shortly after the film’s much-lauded debut, one of the skydivers featured in the film – a prominent skydiving athlete named Garth “Tag” Taggart – was asked to put together a “just-for-fun” skydiving event in his hometown of Richmond, Indiana. Until then, skydivers only really, officially gathered for USPA-officiated competitions at regional and national meets. In September of 1972, Garth arranged that seminal event, which is recorded in Pat Work's fascinating record of early skydiving (entitled "United We Fall"). Where Did the Term “Boogie” Come From?The term “boogie” derived from a comic motif developed by fringe cartoonist R. Crumb.** The motif features a “boogie man” striding confidently across an abstract landscape with the phrase “Keep On Truckin’” emblazoned above. The word “boogie” doesn’t appear anywhere within the motif, but the story goes that Garth Taggart was inspired by the image. He was also probably influenced by use of the word in New Zealand skydiving circles, as well as by its use as a then-trendy name for an, ahem, wild party. In any case, Taggart picked that moniker to describe the Richmond RW Festival on its event t-shirts, and the term stuck. Firmly. These get-togethers have sometimes been referred to as “jumpmeets”--in the olden days, when the organizers didn’t want to saddle the event with the term’s then-obvious, hard-partying implications--but “boogie” is how we’ve really come to know the phenomenon. Hilariously enough, those historic shirts didn’t actually use the word “boogie.” Due to an unfortunate misspelling on the hastily-printed giveaways, they described the event as a “boggie.” Snicker snicker. The First Boogie Kicks OffHowever confused the naming, that original event brought together more than a hundred skydivers from all over the US to practice the then-relatively-new RW discipline. The Richmond City Boys’ Club hosted the event, making significant revenue by charging non-skydivers an admission fee. That first boogie (or “boggie,” if we’re being historically accurate) saw some formations that were, for the time, pretty damn groundbreaking. In "United We Fall," Pat Work notes that the athletes “made several big stars out of a Twin Beech and a DC-3.” Work goes on to remember that “[a]ll the self-styled, super-hero RW types made three tries at a 30-man, and succeeded in FUBAR-ing all three in front of the lens of Carl Boenish.” The botched jump didn’t cripple the event, however. “Everyone else just giggled and went up and made 18-mans […] with no problems[.]” That night, the skydivers and some lucky spectators enjoyed a raucous bonfire, dancing and screenings of some of the most seminal skydiving videos on record. The Boogie EvolvesIn the years immediately following that first boogie, the quickly growing sport of skydiving started to earn a bad-boy reputation amongst the general public (who didn’t much care about it previously, when the sport was tiny and firmly on the fringes). For several years, the city of Richmond out-and-out banned skydiving for fear of its freakshow excesses.*** By the time the 1970s were drawing to a close, however, that original boogie had become very official. It turned into the USPA Nationals--whaddaya know. Boogies TodayThe phenomenon of the boogie holds to the much same spirit as Garth “Tag” Taggart’s founding principle: fun. These days, however, they’re also used as a venue for major skydiving competitions, world records, vendor demonstrations, charity efforts and loci for training. Across the board, these events retain one important historical value: the nominal “boogie” itself. We come for the party, right? *Which I just finished attending. **If you aren’t aware of R Crumb, treat yourself to a Google image search. You’re welcome. ***Apparently, it was proving too logistically difficult to lock up their daughters--and sons, for that matter.
  6. BrianSGermain

    Chopping Is Just The Beginning

    A reserve ride is an exciting adventure no matter how many jumps you have under your belt. Preparatory training is obviously the best way to ensure that you walk away unscathed, but it is my experience that the simulations we create are not as realistic as they could be. In many cases, many of us will argue, they are not as good as they need to be. The purpose of this article is to suggest possible improvements to the state of the art in emergency procedure training. If we envision beyond what we have done in the past, improvement is assured, and the safe conclusion of parachute malfunctions will increase in frequency. If we can simulate cutaway jumps more realistically, skydivers will be calmer in emergency situations, and more skillful. Elaborate simulation, in my experience, will also result in greater awareness and recall, more efficient actions, and less emotional trauma once the event is over. The first issue to be addressed by our sport as a whole is our simulation equipment. Although a vest with handles may be very helpful for establishing the general flow of handle-pulling, it is a far cry from what the event will actually feel like. Many jumpers have reported, upon landing from their first cutaway, that things did not feel or look remotely the way they expected. Handles were not where the jumper expected them to be, pull forces were not what they anticipated, nor was the feeling of the experience similar to the training process that was supposed to prepare them for this event. It is my experience, however, that when we take thoughtful steps to improve our training methods and equipment, the gap between expectation and reality can be closed significantly. The most important piece of equipment in any simulation is the mind. Creating a clear visualization of the scenario is essential, no matter how silly it may look to bystanders. The job of the Instructor in these situations is to provide insightful clarification, ideally based on their own experience. Set the emotional stage for the student in every possible way, describing the details as clearly as possible, leaving nothing out. Allow yourself to get wrapped up in the excitement that is inevitable in such experiences. This will not only make the simulation feel more real, it will help illuminate the natural mental reaction of the student to intense stress. If over-reaction or under-reaction is apparent, further training is necessary. If the student failed to perform, the instructor simply has more work to do. It continues to be my strong opinion that a suspended harness is absolutely essential for the best possible training. Given the vast amount of money we now spend on aircraft and student gear, skimping on this key element of teaching equipment is shortsighted, and most often a product of laziness and compromise. If building a hanging harness cost thousands of dollars, the financial argument might hold more merit, but this is most decidedly not the case. There are many possible methods that cost very little, and can be created in just an hour or two. I know, I build a new hanging harness at almost every dropzone I travel to in the process of running my canopy skills and safety courses. I do this because I want to offer my course participants the best possible training, and because an alarming percentage of skydiving schools have done away with this vital piece of training equipment. This needs to change if we are to improve the safety of our sport. Let's start with the actual harness. When I find suspended harnesses in use, most often the actual rig is an uncomfortable, dilapidated old rig from the early 1980's, hung from the ceiling by attachment points that are way too close together to simulate a realistic experience. In the best cases, there is a three-ring setup that allows the jumper to cut away and drop a few inches. This is a great training aid, but what if the rig was a more modern adjustable harness that could accurately reflect the fit and handle placement of the rig they will actually be jumping? For that matter, what if we hung them in the rig they were actually going to jump? What if the suspension apparatus was long enough to practice kicking out of line-twists? What if the toggles simulated the resistance of an actual parachute using bungees or weights? What if you pulled on straps attached to the bottom of the harness each time they flared, to simulate the pitch change? What if, as crazy as it sounds, you went to the local hardware store and picked up a high-powered carpet blower, a.k.a. “snail fan”, and angled it up at the harness to reflect the feeling of the relative wind? This is the kind of outside-the-box thinking that creates better simulations, and better training. Further, this is how we prepare our students for an actual malfunction and reduce the risk of pilot error. For experienced jumpers, I highly recommend hanging up in your own rig. This will clarify handle placement under load, allow you to explore strap tightness possibilities, and give you the opportunity to experience actual pull forces when your repack cycle is up. If you do not have stainless steel hardware on your rings, please use fabric connection points rather than the carabiner attachment displayed in these photos. Another key element of malfunction simulation is to follow through with the complete jump, rather than stopping after the handles are pulled. In reality, the adequate performance of emergency procedures is just the first in a long list of steps that lead to a safe landing. For instance, what if the cutaway harness had Velcro reserve toggles that needed to be first peeled upward and then pulled downward? Many people, myself included, have tried simply pulling the reserve toggles downward to find that they would not release. Missing details like this can lead to a student feeling more angst than is necessary, and can result in further stress-induced mistakes with major consequences. Additionally, proper exploration of the reserve canopy is important for a good flight pattern, accuracy and landing flare following a malfunction. How much slack is in the brake lines? Where is the stall point? What is the flare response on this brand new canopy? A good cutaway followed by a broken ankle on landing is still a bad day. Simulate the whole jump, and there will be fewer surprises. The final issue I want to cover on the topic of better emergency procedures training is the inclusion of deliberate adrenaline management efforts following the deployment of the reserve canopy. Carrying the emotional momentum of a malfunction all the way to the ground definitely increases the chances of a lousy landing. High levels of stress takes time to sluff-off, but a skilled operator also knows how and when to slow down. Once you have pulled all the handles you need to pull, taking three long, slow, deep breaths while gazing at the horizon with a smile of relief on your face can change your mood, and your fate. Get your composure back, and your optimism will follow. From there, skill is just a short step away. This process can and should be included in every emergency procedure simulation to create a habit that is likely to be carried out in the sky. Following such quiescent procedures allows the mind to more easily let go of the recent past and focus on the present moment and the near future: 1) Check altitude and location 2) Find a safe landing area 3) Explore the reserve 4) Fly a good pattern 5) Flare beautifully 6) Walk away with a smile on your face 7) Thank your rigger A malfunction does not need to be viewed as an emergency, especially if you are truly prepared; it is just a change of plans. A complete simulation can be the difference between a horrifying emergency and a well-executed contingency plan. If we handle it well, a main parachute malfunction can actually be fun. I have found few experiences more rewarding than a complicated situation that I figured out on the fly, and despite my fear, I kept my head and did the right thing. In short, a parachute malfunction is an opportunity to prove to yourself and the world that you can handle yourself in a crisis, and with realistic training, your success can be an inevitable conclusion. About the Author: Brian Germain is a parachute designer, author, teacher, radio personality, keynote speaker with over 15,000 jumps, and has been an active skydiver for 30 years. He is the creator of the famed instructional video "No Sweat: Parachute Packing Made Easy", as well as the critically acclaimed book The Parachute and its Pilot. You can get more of Brian’s teaching at Adventure Wisdom, Big Air Sportz, Transcending Fear, and on his vast YouTube Channel
  7. Image by Joel StricklandDoes exit order seem like some kind of obscure semi-religious ritual? Do you go through the motions without really understanding the moving parts? If so, yikes--but you’re certainly not alone. Luckily, understanding the logic behind the order is a pretty straightforward affair, and the entire sky will be better off if you wrap your head around it. Ready? Okay. Commit this to memory. 1. In the name of science, get the $#&$ out.It may seem like hollow tradition to hustle out the door on exit, but it’s not. As a matter of fact, there are serious calculations behind the art of exiting the plane efficiently. On a calm day, an aircraft on jump run covers around 175 feet per second of flight (that equates to a mile every 30 seconds or so). Translated into stopwatch terms, that means that--on that same calm day--no more than 60 seconds can pass from the moment the first jumpers leave the airplane to the moment the last jumper exits. For practical purposes, taking into consideration how much ground the average square canopy can cover, every jumper in the plane has to be out during a two-mile jump run. If they don’t, some are bound to land out (or a chilly second pass is going to be served up to the sulky remainder). 2. Don’t mess up the pilot’s math.If your group is about to be the first big handful of meatballs out of the plane but you suddenly split up into smaller groups, you’re messing with the pilot’s chi. After all, the jump pilot has more to calculate when he/she turns on that little green light than you might realize. He/she has to calculate about how much time each group will take to exit, and make sure the green light goes on at the correct distance from the DZ to accommodate the aforementioned 60-second countdown. As a rule, the group that will have the slowest climb-out should leave first. Big group? Light goes on farther out from the DZ to allow for a slower climb-out. Little group? The light goes on closer to the DZ. How can you help? Jump the plan you give manifest, and the pilot can give everybody a good spot. 3. Jealously guard your real estate.If you’re a Big Sky Theory kinda jumper who assumes vertical separation is going to save you from a meat-traffic collision, you are not working from scientific facts. Horizontal separation is the only separation that really counts up there, so make sure your group has a chunky slot of sky all to yourselves. Never place big bets (like: your continued existence) on your fellow skydivers pulling at the altitude they swear by. A tiny brainfart (or a big malfunction) will eat up that vertical separation before you can say “what happened to pulling at 3,500, toolbox?!.” 4. Horizon-pointing belly buttons go behind downward-pointing belly buttons.When freefly folks get out first, they tend to become part of an undelicious freefall sandwich. Here’s why: On a typical skydive, a pair of freefliers will clock a 45-second freefall and open at around 3,000 AGL. Let’s say that pair is followed by a belly group with a 10-second climb-out. This is going to sound like a math word problem, but bear with me: If one of those freefliers has a canopy with a 30MPH forward speed (which will move forward at around 45 feet per second, assuming little-to-no wind), opens 30 seconds before the belly group and turns right back toward the DZ, the variables are stacking up for a collision. Those 30 seconds of flight will drive the freeflier forward by about 1,300 horizontal feet--a measly 400 feet from the middle of the belly folks, which a solid six-second track can cover. If you add wind to the equation and the RW group gets blown even further into the path of the freefly pair, the likelihood of a meetup gets even uglier. When freefly groups get out after belly groups, the picture gets a lot healthier. The fast fallers get their horizontal separation, predicated on their shorter climb-out and faster descent rate. Wind becomes a positive safety factor instead of a negative one; slower fallers simply blow farther away. 5. With longer flights comes greater responsibility.Tracking groups, high pulls and wingsuits get to snuggle with the pilot (and/or the tandem pairs) in the way back of the plane. Why? First off, they’re mobile: if they’re doing it right, they’ll use all that horizontal power to get the hell away from jump run--and get back from a longer spot. If they’re not doing it right, however, they’re fully within their capability to truck through everybody’s personal piece of sky on the way down. The moral of the story: longer freefall (or, in the high-pull case, general airtime) requires greater awareness and responsibility on the part of the nylon pilot. 6. Don’t be the heat-seeking meat missile.That’s the bottom line, really. Everybody in the sky is counting on you. (Me, for instance.)
  8. For most of us that have been to the World Freefall Convention (WFFC) before, the excitement begins to build as soon as we drive up to the airport entrance and stop at registration. Just seeing canopies in the air is enough to get our adrenaline flowing and make us hurry to get in the sky so we can have as much fun as the people we see there already. But wait! For safety's sake we need to slow down and take some time to familiarize ourselves with the convention facilities. In particular, those of you who have never been to the World Freefall Convention at least need to take a look at a map of the airport and convention site so you know where to find the best places to park, camp, and land your parachute safely. There aren't many rules at the convention, but the ones we have are important, because they affect the safety and enjoyment of the convention by you and everyone else who attends. We skydivers are generally some of the most safety conscious people around, but the excitement and fast pace of a large skydiving event have the potential for making us forget or ignore the usual good judgment we use back at the home DZ. One of the most important safety rules that we ask you to follow is to not push yourself and exceed your skill or capabilities. This applies in several areas: Getting On A Load The World Freefall Convention has the widest variety of skydiving opportunities you may ever experience in a short period of time and at one location. You will have a chance to jump from many types of aircraft and be on many types and sizes of skydives that might not be available to you back at your home DZ. Load organizers will be available for all of the skydiving disciplines, as well as seminars, coaching, and formal instruction by well known skydivers in these areas. These people will do all they can to help you learn to skydive better and to help you get on skydives that are safe, fun, and challenging. Most people who come to the convention seem to be interested mainly in freefall formation skydiving. If you are one of these jumpers the best bet is to start off with a group no larger than you usually jump with, and keep it simple until you are comfortable jumping with people you don't know and with figuring out where you are going to land. Even some experienced jumpers who have been to several conventions in the past try to first find a small group of jumpers and "warm up", while at the same time refamiliar- izing themselves with the convention at a relaxed pace. If you usually jump with small groups it wouldn't hurt to break off a little high on some of the first few loads so you can get some practice tracking a good distance from others in case you want to get on larger loads. Just be sure to use that time tracking, and don't open higher than recommended. Once you have made a few jumps you may get the urge to try bigger formations, and a good way to start is by checking with the load organizers that are available at the convention. The organizers are there to help you get on a skydive quickly, and to plan safe and successful skydives for jumpers at all experience levels. If you have any questions about safety or what type of skydive might be appropriate for someone with your skydiving experience while at the convention, just ask one of the load organizers. They will be happy to help you even if you are not jumping on one of their loads, or if you already have a group with whom to skydive. Landing Landing areas at the convention are generally unrestricted and we would all like to keep them that way, but this depends on your good judgement and common sense. If you are experienced enough and are conservative, you can land right next to where you are parked or camped, but there are plenty of large open areas in which to land, and the short walk you will make back to your packing area in some situations might be well worth the additional safety. While under canopy you will need to constantly be checking for other jumpers that may not see you. Think ahead and plan your landing site and pattern while still high enough to avoid other canopies without requiring evasive maneuvers. Hook-turns (turns more than 90 degrees for landing) are allowed only on approach to the swoop pond (where they are expected) and must not be done anywhere else! As a reminder, there are some situations in which you will definitely want to land in a large open area: If you are jumping a demo canopy with unfamiliar flight characteristics. If you have any problems with your canopy and decide that it is safe to land anyway, for example, a broken steering line, an accidental step-though pack job, or a canopy connected backwards. If you have a reserve ride. Demo Gear Most of the major manufacturers of skydiving gear will be at the convention and they will have gear available for you to see and to test jump. However, these people probably do not know you, and do not know your experience level and abilities. If you exaggerate your experience or ability when deciding what gear to try out you are only putting yourself and others in danger. Canopies are the most likely piece of gear that you will have the opportunity to test jump and there will be a wide range of types and sizes available, some of them very high performance types. Be conservative, and take the manufacturer's advice on what canopy to try first. Most importantly, land in an open area that is away from other jumpers. A quick toggle turn required by suddenly finding another canopy in your path could be disastrous in an unfamiliar high-performance canopy. The harness/container systems provided by the manufacturers to test jump or to use when trying out a canopy are always very nice pieces of gear, and some of them even allow you the option of where to put the pilot chute. Still, they are not the same as jumping your own gear. Make sure the rig fits well and that the leg straps are tight and securely in place. Practicing your pull before the skydive is a good idea. In Conclusion The World Freefall Convention can provide us with some of the greatest opportunities and most fun skydiving times of our lives, but we must exercise a good deal of caution to keep it that way. Please be careful so we can all share in the fun for years to come.
  9. The British skydiver Clare Barnes died when her parachute failed because it was not packed properly, an interim report into the accident claimed today. The Australian Parachute Federation (APF), which has been investigating the incident, blamed poor gear maintenance and incorrect packing of the parachutes for the 24-year-old’s death. Miss Barnes, the daughter of newsreader Carol Barnes and Foreign Office minister Denis MacShane, was killed when attempting her 200th jump with her boyfriend and seven other members of a skydiving club near Melbourne on Sunday. Graeme Windsor, the APF’s national safety and operations manager, said the chain of events that led to her death started with the incorrect packing of the pilot chute, which is used to drag the main parachute from its pack. He told PA News: "Because the pilot chute was not packed properly it did not produce enough drag." The report said: "When Clare activated her main parachute release at the correct altitude, she experienced a high-speed malfunction. It appears that Clare then followed correct emergency procedures by pulling the main parachute release system, followed by the reserve ripcord. Unfortunately, the main parachute did not release as it should have, and the reserve parachute became entangled with it, preventing either parachute from opening correctly." Miss Barnes had taken part in a nine-way formation with the other jumpers but after she broke off, her parachutes failed and she fell. The report went on to list several technical factors which contributed to her death in Barwon Heads, north west of Melbourne. "The pilot chute that drags the main parachute from its pack had not been packed correctly, and was unable to develop fully," it said. The federation also blamed the failure on the fact that parts of the kit Miss Barnes was using was not compatible with the rest of her equipment. "The main parachute could not escape from its deployment bag because some suspension line stowage bands were too large to allow the bag to open under the reduced pilot chute drag conditions," the report said. Mr Windsor explained: "One of the rubber bands was too big so the bag would not open and let the parachute out." The report said the main parachute release mechanism did not work because it contained "non-standard fittings". Mr Windsor said the release mechanism "was not the standard one for the harness she had on". He said the major factors in the tragedy were "poor gear maintenance and packing". Miss Barnes was an experienced skydiver and a licensed parachute packer. "There is no indication at this stage that she did not pack the gear herself," Mr Windsor said. The APF said all factors contributing to the accident had been illustrated in the past. "The combination of all these factors at the one time has led to a tragic loss of one of our experienced members," the organisation said. Renewed advice stressing sound maintenance of equipment will be given out as a result of the accident, the APF said. A final report will wait for the findings of the coroner’s inquest. Yesterday, Miss Barnes’s parents arrived in Australia to make preparations for the funeral, which was expected to take place in Melbourne on Friday morning local time. Fatality Database Entry Forum Discussion Times online
  10. Lodi, May 27 - The San Joaquin County Sheriff's office reports that an Oakland man died Saturday after jumping with a group of parachutists, possibly from a mid-air emergency that might have started on the ground. "It appears that the decedent suffered some sort of a medical emergency during the jump which incapacitated him, disallowing him to properly and safely complete the landing," said spokesman Joe Herrera of the San Joaquin Sheriff's Department. An autopsy will be needed to determine the cause of death. The man has been identified as 52-year-old Daniel Paul Skarry, of Oakland. He was discovered by occupants of a home after he landed in the back yard, crashing down with his parachute between some trees on the property. Other jumpers made no mention of noticing anything unusual at the start, according to subsequent interviews with deputies. "The parachutist had been jumping for at least 15 years. He was one of 22 jumpers who had left Lodi Airport to jump in formation. The initial jump went fine and the decedent joined a group held together at the wrist," said Herrera. According to one of the jumpers holding the man's wrist, Skarry's grip became weaker, then gave way. They had started from an altitude of 15,000 feet. The group watched helplessly as Skarry got below them and seemed not to move, except where pushed by the wind, Herrera said. When he reached the 1,000-foot level, the parachute's automatic activation device switched itself on. He fell to the ground amid trees in a residential yard, Herrera said. The occupants of the house called for help. Skarry was taken by helicopter to the hospital at UC Davis, but was pronounced dead at 11:48 a.m. after medics unsuccessfully performed CPR, Herrera said. The Federal Aviation Administration will be notified of the incident, and the coroner's report may be conducted in Sacramento County, Herrera said. Skarry may have already had hypertension and diabetes, Herrera said.
  11. Michael "Schlefy" Schaefer was involved in a fatal BASE incident on Friday, December 29th due to an off-heading opening from a cliff in Arizona. Schlefy was a beloved staff member of Chicagoland Skydiving in Hinckley, IL. A memorial fund has been set up for Schlefy's young sister and the restof his family in Germany. The Schlefy Memorial Fund PO Box 758 Hinckley, IL 60520 Chicagoland Skydiving manifest@chicagolandskydiving.com www.skydive.com
  12. And What You Can Do To Fix It Image by Gary Wainwright I’m not a teacher. I’m forehead-slappingly, eyes-avertingly, hide-your-facingly terrible at it, actually. Luckily, I’m lucky enough to count as friends some of the best airsports teachers in the world. (Whew.) This article is a collection of short answers from several of these. They’re top-level coaches/instructors/examiners, and their experience spans in several disciplines. They’re also incredibly wise, beautiful souls. I went to them with this question, so important for all of us students on the edge of the world: If you could cure all your students of one thing they do that gets in their own way, what would it be? Here’s what they had to say. Listen up. “Rushing. I see a lot of students that are determined to pack too many things into one jump. Then they end up flailing; when they don't nail the first part, they're confused as to whether to go back and work on the first part or move on to the next part anyway. They lose a lot of time, and they get very frustrated. Pick one thing. Do it perfectly. Stop. Then move on to the next thing.” - Joel Strickland: Freefly & Tunnel Coach; Double British National Champion, Freefly & Freestyle “If I could cure all my students of one thing, it would be to erase the idea that everything about them is static and unchangeable. Once a student believes in their own self-efficacy -- believes in the idea that all that they are is changeable in a positive direction -- believes that everything from their physical reactions to their fears can be modified and updated -- anything is possible for them to learn. - Matt Blank: Wingsuit Skydiving Coach, Lightning Flight Wingsuit & Freefly School “I’d get them to stop watching YouTube. That creates pre-conceived notions of what they should be doing. Either that, or I’d encourage them not to freefly from jump 26 to jump 199 -- when they do, their belly skills suck dust when it comes to their FFC.” - Douglas Spotted Eagle, Wingsuit Skydiving Instructor “Often, they don’t respect the progression and embrace their inexperience. You must do both. It makes sense to one day aspire to wingsuit BASE jump from a cliff, but it can be difficult to focus your efforts where they are the most effective if you’re fast-forwarding years into your career. Your instructor, who you possibly selected because he or she wingsuit BASE jumps, wants you to focus more on finding the range of your beginner or intermediate wingsuit -- and recovering from instability in it -- before talking about how the wingsuit BASE start works. I find that many students seem to want faster returns for their efforts, and they seem to get frustrated with their own learning process. I can appreciate the way that we latch onto that dream of human flight, but i want to pass on an outlook where each individual skill is a whole and complete activity by itself that takes time and effort to master before being combined with other skills. So when you combine a set of skills (for example: rigging, canopy control, site selection, weather, bodyflight, wingsuiting and experience in the subterminal base environment), then you can make smart decisions. When you lack experience or skills in a certain area, you begin to lose the full picture.” - David Covel: Wingsuit Coach, BASE FJC Instructor, AFF Instructor, TI “I would cure them of self-doubt. It takes courage and confidence to challenge yourself to change your behavior and improve your skill in any area of your life. It's amplified when applied to an extreme sport. A lack of belief in your own potential can manifest itself in many ways: fear, nervousness, indifference even laziness. Understanding that you have the control and ability to consciously change your own actions is a very empowering fact that can unlock all levels of improvement. You have to commit to change.” -Maxine Tate: Canopy Piloting Instructor, Flight-1; US & UK National Champion; Coach Examiner; AFFI/Evaluator “I would cure this one thing that gets in students’ way: hubris. Assume you know nothing about the sport you are learning. No one assumes that they know everything about the sport they are learning, but the worst students just aren't really listening when the instructor is talking. In general, girls are better at listening than the boys. I think with the boys, especially with really good skydivers, there is a certain amount of ego that prevents accepting that there are things in BASE that they know nothing about. Think about this: almost EVERY BASE course that my partner Marta [Empinotti] and I teach, we learn something. This is because we know we don't know everything, so we keep our eyes and ears open, hoping to learn something new that we can analyze, assimilate and share with others in our beloved sport.” - Jimmy Pouchert: Co-Founder & Chief Instructor, APEX BASE; Freefly Coach “Over-amping. The ability to breathe even (especially) when scared, and to get into a focused zone before a jump, makes the biggest difference between a skydive that feels rushed and out of control and one in which a lot of learning and growth takes place. Even very experienced skydivers often feel nervous before their first wingsuit jump or when trying something new. The key is to trust that your ground preparation will serve you in the air, and to focus on one thing at a time starting with deep breaths, releasing tension, and visualizing the perfect exit.” - Taya Weiss, Owner/Head Instructor at Lightning Flight "We all have a tendency to look at the negative first, so I would remind all my students to start by pointing out three positive aspects about their previous skydive and then focus on one or two -- maximum, two -- areas of improvement. Positive reinforcement, combined with constructive criticism, goes a long way towards improving performance and attitude." - Lawrence de Laubadere: Freefly Coordinator, Lightning Flight Wingsuit & Freefly School “If I could cure all my students of one thing, it'd be expectation. As I tell them all, “If it's not fun, it's not worth it!” Learning to fly is not unlike so many other things in life: sex, making friends, etc. The harder you try, the harder it is. When I try to teach someone something in the tunnel, they often feel (natural) disappointment if they can't do it how they see others doing it. But it's not my goal to get you doing perfect layouts from the start. I'm looking for the components from my students: staying relaxed, looking where they should be, keeping the legs straight, etc. All I need them to do is smile, have fun, and keep making those baby steps. No expectations, no disappointment. In the end, I think attitude is one of the trickiest skills in progression.” -Dave Rhea: Instructor, Bodyflight Stockholm
  13. A 28-year-old serviceman has died during a parachute jump at an airbase in Oxfordshire. The victim was taking part in a recreational jump with the RAF's Sports Parachuting Association at RAF Weston-on-the Green. Police and ambulance crews were called to the scene at around 1230 BST on Friday. The identity of the man and the cause of the accident have yet to be released. The incident was the second parachuting accident in the area this week. A man, aged about 60, died after suffering multiple injuries in a skydiving accident on Wednesday morning. It is thought his parachute failed to open when he made a jump at Northamptonshire's Hinton airfield near Brackley, near the Oxfordshire border. He was taken by air ambulance to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford where he later died. The British Parachute Association and Northamptonshire Police are investigating the incident.
  14. Michael Huff has a hard time saying goodbye. Photo credit: Michael Huff Are you ready to be alone in the sky with a malfunctioning parachute and two little handles? Though there are skydivers with thousands of jumps who have never experienced the fun of a cutaway, don’t be fooled: it’s not a question of “if,” it’s a question of “when.” Don’t feel ready? You’re not alone – but there are a number of proven ways to boost your confidence (and, therefore, safety). 1. Stay Current I know. It’s not your fault. Your home DZ is seasonal – or it’s far away – or it’s a tandem factory that keeps sullen fun jumpers on the ground. Whether it is or isn’t your motivation that’s the problem, the fact remains: long lapses between jumps are dangerous. They dull skills, heighten apprehensions, create a sense of unfamiliarity with aircraft and degrade the muscle memory you have carefully built around your gear, which is of vital importance in the event of a reserve ride. It’s vital to your career as a skydiver – especially, at the beginning – to make the effort to jump every couple of weeks. Make the effort and get up there. 2. Prepare The USPA Skydiver Information Manual puts it rather dryly: “Regular, periodic review, analysis, and practice of emergency procedures prepares you to act correctly in response to problems that arise while skydiving.” Rephrased in a slightly more compelling manner: practicing might save your life, especially if you’re a newer skydiver who isn’t quite as accustomed to the stresses of freefall as an old-timer. Here’s a two-item to-do list to tip you in the right direction: Deploy your reserve for every repack. Have you ever deployed the reserve for your current skydiving rig? If not, the result may surprise you. You’ll learn the direction of pull for your gear, as well as the force you’ll need to exert. If your rigger watches the process, he/she can watch the deployment and identify potential problems. Even if you have deployed your own reserve, a repack is an unwasteable drill opportunity. Practice emergency procedures in your DZ’s training harness. (You may feel like a dork, especially if you’ve already been skydiving for a little while. Go on a quiet weekday and do it anyway.) 3. Do The Little Dance Before each and every jump, the USPA advises skydivers to “review the procedures to avoid emergency situations and the procedures to respond to emergencies if they occur.” This doesn’t have to mean poring over your SIM like you’re cramming for a test. It does, however, require a little bit of work before every jump--just to make sure that your muscle memory is fresh and your brain is prepared for puckersome eventualities. Touch your handles in sequence before you enter the plane. It is not beneath you. Being blasé about basic safety doesn’t make you more awesome. If you ever happen to share a plane with an energy-drink teammate or a world-class coach, watch ‘em closely and you’ll see what I mean. Check that your reserve handle is seated, while you’re at it. A loose reserve handle can deliver a reserve ride without the fun of a malfunctioning main – and you don’t want that, do you? Right! So: now you’ve done what you can to be ready for a potential reserve ride on any given skydive. Next time, we’ll talk about what to do when your main decides to give you the pop quiz.
  15. admin

    American Woman Dies in Italian Alps

    ROME (AP) A 27-year-old woman from San Francisco died Sunday after her parachute failed to open fully during a jump in the Italian Alps, news reports said. Erin Aimee Engle plunged to her death on Mount Brento while base jumping, an extreme sport in which people jump from cliffs or other fixed objects using parachutes. Mount Brento is one of the sport's most popular and dangerous locations. Engle was the fourth skydiver to die on the mountain since May 2000. The last incident took place two months ago when a Belgian jumper's parachute did not completely open. Engle's boyfriend, whom authorities would not name, immediately jumped after her in an effort to revive her, the ANSA news agency said. She was pronounced dead at a hospital in Trent, the main city of the northern Italian region of Trentino.
  16. admin

    Ring Sights and Suspension Lines

    Included in this feature are three parts related to the death of Jan Davis at Lodi a week ago. The first part is a recent post by Jan Davis to rec.skydiving in response to the death of a fellow skydiver a while ago. Ironically the post deals with the risk risk of camera line snags, which seems to have been part of the tragic chain of events that led to her death. The second part is an article from a local newspaper regarding the Jan's accident and the third is an article about the ongoing FAA investigation. Ring sights and suspension lines From: Flyincamra (flyincamra@aol.com) Subject: Ring sights and suspension lines Newsgroups: rec.skydiving Date: 2001-03-26 09:52:24 PST After reading of the tragic death of a fellow camera flyer, it brought to mind my discomfort at seeing the newer small camera helmets. My helmet is a headhunter with a big squared off front for a still mount. My ring sight is mounted close in and is virtually covered up by my still platform. The newer helmets, whether they be top or side mount, seem to have the ring sight by neccessity sticking way out from the helmet... long posts going every which way. This weekend I was on the plane with a new cameraflyer with just such a setup. He said as soon as he was sure where he wanted it set, he would have the posts on his ring sight cut down so no excess would stick out. Still.... the post from the helmet to the sight was very long..... It made me think of the way we tape the shoes of tandems that have hooks on them instead of eyelets for shoelaces, but yet we fly with huge hooks sticking out of our helmets..... I don't know the configuration on the helmet the deceased was wearing, but that was the first question that came to my mind. You know... this really doesn't seem like a difficult design problem to me. It would seem possible to form the ring sight directly to the camera helmet and still incorporate a way to make the sight adjustable... thereby doing away with the posts that are sticking out there like a target in a violent malfunction. Yesterday, after thousands of camera jumps, I had the new and unsettling experience of feeling my left riser hang up on the back portion of my top mount video camera. I don't know how or why as it was only momentary, but I felt it pulling up at the back of my helmet, pinning my head down so I couldn't look up to see what was happening. Just as I started think about reaching to unclip the helmet, the riser popped loose and let go. No biggy, nothing serious..... but it made me wonder if I could get out of that helmet fast enough if I needed to...... My sincerest condolences to the family and friends of Richard Lancaster. Jan Devil Skydiver killed after chute tangles By Andy Furillo Bee Staff Writer (Published April 1, 2001) A skydiver was killed outside Lodi on Saturday when her reserve parachute got tangled in a camera mounted on her helmet, officials said. Janice Irene Davis, 49, from Hollister, died in a vineyard just west of Highway 99 near Jahant Road. She had made nearly 3,000 jumps before the accident. The Hollister-area resident and other sky divers had jumped from a plane at about 9,000 feet, according to the San Joaquin County Sheriff's Department. Bill Dause, the owner of the Parachute Center in Lodi, said Davis' main chute "failed to work" at the time of the 2:03 p.m. tragedy. He said she ejected the main chute and deployed the reserve. Davis had been using the camera to videotape two other divers. "Somewhere in the process of releasing the first and deploying the second, she inadvertently became a little unstable, causing the bridle of the reserve chute to become unactive," Dause said. Dause said a similar fatality occurred recently in the eastern United States and "the camera definitely was the culprit." He said the two deaths should prompt parachute enthusiasts to examine the practice of mounting cameras on their helmets. He described Davis as "a very outgoing, very caring person." Within hours of Davis' death, Dause was back up in the air with skydiving students. "We didn't slow down at all," Dause said. "She wouldn't want us to stop." FAA seeks clues from sky diver's video camera The Record (Published April 2, 2001) ACAMPO -- Authorities said Sunday it will take more time to determine what happened in the final moments of parachutist Janice Irene Davis' life, because the video camera she was carrying broke on impact. The Federal Aviation Administration this week will begin attempting to repair a videotape that was inside the shattered camera. It may show why the 49-year-old Hollister woman's main parachute failed to open during a Saturday afternoon dive at the Parachute Center in Acampo, San Joaquin County coroner's Deputy Tom Scott said. Meanwhile, coroner's officials Sunday said Davis died on impact from injuries she sustained in the fall. Davis landed in a vineyard about 300 yards south of Jahant Road, just west of Highway 99, shortly after 2 p.m. Saturday. She was an experienced parachutist hired to videotape two other jumpers Saturday, those who knew her said. Authorities believe Davis fell 13,000 feet to her death. Her main chute apparently failed to open correctly and her backup chute got caught on the video camera attached to her helmet, officials said. Scott said the FAA has taken over the investigation. "We know nobody pushed her out of the plane, we know nobody toyed with the chute," he said. "As far as our investigation is concerned, we don't go any farther than the toxicology reports." Investigators from the FAA's Oakland Flight Standards District Office could not be contacted Sunday.
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    Canadian skydiver dies in Florida jump

    DELAND, Fla. (CP-AP) - An experienced Canadian skydiver died after making a tricky high-speed turn too close to the ground, crashing into the pavement at a popular Florida skydiving centre. Stephane Drapeau, 30, from Beloeil, Que., was making a routine jump until he made the high-speed turn at an extremely low altitude as he approached the landing area at Skydive DeLand near the municipal airport. Drapeau had about 4,700 jumps before Friday's accident. DeLand Police Lieut. John Bradley said Drapeau slammed into a strip of pavement at a high speed causing massive injuries. ''He was wearing a helmet, but at times they can go as fast as 80 mph (130 km/h) when they make that turn,'' Bradley told the Canadian Press. ''His chute deployed properly ... His canopy probably collapsed or when he made the turn he was so close he just impaled the ground.'' Though the case is being treated as an accident, it has been turned over to the Federal Aviation Administration, Bradley added. If performed correctly, the manoeuvre brings skydivers in at a high rate of speed but allows for a horizontal glide about one metre off the ground, usually resulting in a soft landing, said Skydive DeLand General Manager Mike Johnston. ''He misjudged his landing,'' he said, also noting that Drapeau appeared to have made the manoeuvre too close to the ground. A pair of paramedics joined a skydiving doctor in treating Drapeau at the scene. He was flown by helicopter to Halifax Medical Center in nearby Daytona Beach, where he later died, police said. Just an hour-and-a-half before the fatal fall, a 42-year-old sky diver from Holland suffered a broken ankle after making a hard landing at Skydive DeLand, the Daytona Beach News Journal reported Saturday. Johnston said Drapeau was a frequent visitor to the popular DeLand skydiving spot, making the trip from Canada almost every winter. Although he didn't teach there, he was accredited to do so and worked for a parachute centre in Quebec, the Journal reported. Drapeau became the second person to die at Skydive DeLand in four months. Chantal Bonitto, a 31-year-old New Yorker, died Dec. 27 when her parachute failed. In April 1999, Beatrice Vanderpol, a 55-year-old French woman, also fell to her death because her parachute failed. A spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs in Ottawa said Canadian officials are looking into the accident. ''We're in contact with our consulate in Miami and we are trying to find out more,'' Patrick Riel said. Drapeau's family has been notified and are being offered consular assistance, he said.
  18. An Ohio man BASE jumping from West Virginia's New River Gorge Bridge early Saturday morning missed his landing spot and got tangled in some trees before releasing himself from his harness and falling some 40 feet. According to a report today by the National Park Service, 33-year-old Shannon Murphy, of Wadsworth, launched into the darkness at 1:40 A.M. The sky was overcast and the gorge was full of fog, making it nearly impossible for him to see his landing zone. After friends John Maggio, 37, and Andrew Pulton, 20, placed a 911 call, rescuers including a team of rangers, county police, fire and EMS personnel got to Murphy, who was semi-conscious and suffering from a severe head injury and a fractured arm, 45 minutes later. He was stabilized and taken to a local hospital before being transferred to a trauma center in Charleston, West Virginia. The NPS report stated that alcohol may have been a contributing factor in the accident. Murphy will be charged with illegal aerial moves; Maggio has been charged with aiding and abetting. An investigation is underway. Four men caught BASE jumping off the Virginia's New River Gorge Bridge in December were fined $600 a piece after pleading guilty to aerial delivery in a magistrate's court. Tourists visiting the Fayette Station area of the New River Gorge National River snapped photos of two of the four jumpers in mid-air and dialed 911 as the group was still free falling towards the gorge floor. Rangers and several law enforcement agents were dispatched to the scene and, aided by vehicle-descriptions given by the tourists in a second 911 call , - apprehended the men. BASE jumping from the New River Gorge Bridge is illegal except for one day of the year, when the annual Bridge Day is held. The 2001 Bridge Day is scheduled for October 20.
  19. Reporting a skydiving (or any other technical sport) accident isn't an easy job, but making the effort to do it thoroughly can give your readers a better product that tops competing publications in this area. Why is improving coverage of this relatively rare event important? The reason is because turning out boilerplate or inaccurate coverage of these incidents angers many skydivers, who might then become ex-readers, and gives the non-jumping segment of your audience nothing special to take away from the story and thus doesn't reinforce your publication's brand. Accuracy, Not Generalities Before you think I'm suggesting that you write a full investigative report of any sport accident, let me say that I don't suggest any additional words in your reports. What I am suggesting is making those words count, with more solid information. Often the sentences that appear in skydiving accident coverage are misleading as to the true nature of the accident. For example, the explanation of "The parachute failed to open" that is so often used in such reports is not a simplification for an audience uneducated about skydiving; it's just plain wrong nearly all the time. It's comparable to saying of a single-vehicle accident, "The car failed to stay on the road," implying that the car is at fault rather than the driver. Such a statement implies that the skydiver did everything in his power, correctly, and still his/her equipment failed to function. However, this is exceedingly rare-occurring far less often than once per year. What is far more common is that a skydiver makes a mistake landing a perfectly good canopy (39% of the 35 U.S. skydiving deaths in 2002, the most common cause of death), collides with another skydiver in freefall or under his parachute (21% of the 2002 deaths), or fails to respond correctly to a survivable equipment malfunction (12% of the 2002 deaths). (Note: skydivers do carry reserve, or backup, parachutes; a malfunction of the main parachute does not automatically kill the skydiver.) We all like to think that we'll make all the right decisions when the chips are down, but the unfortunate truth is that nearly all skydiving deaths are caused by "pilot error"-a mistake on the part of the skydiver. This doesn't mean that we have to crucify this person who made the mistake, but we shouldn't imply that the equipment was at fault when it wasn't necessarily the main factor in the accident. Getting the Scoop Reporting the specific cause of sport accidents gives more "meat" to your story, which both your skydiving and non-skydiving readers will appreciate. But how do you know what to write when you're not a skydiver and don't understand the topic you're supposed to report? Work with the experts-foremost of whom is that drop zone's safety and training adviser (S&TA). The S&TA is an individual appointed at almost every drop zone in the U.S., and abroad, by each Regional Director of the United States Parachute Association (USPA), regardless of whether or not the drop zone is a Group Member of USPA. This individual is tasked with many different safety and administrative-related duties at their appointed drop zone, one of which is investigating skydiving accidents and fatalities. Investigating incidents is one of the less enjoyable responsibilities of an S&TA. Other interview possibilities include the coroner (if the skydiver involved is deceased) and the rigger (person licensed by the Federal Aviation Administration to pack reserve parachutes, and usually knowledgeable about skydiving gear malfunctions) who inspected the gear--if applicable and if the S&TA directs you to talk to this person. A third possibility is the drop zone owner/manager if an S&TA is not available. The USPA is a good source of general skydiving information, but is not a good source of information on specific incidents. The local sheriff or a representative often becomes a media liaison by default, but unless this person is a skydiver working closely with the drop zone's S&TA, then working only with this person is not good. A sheriff with no skydiving experience is no better information source on a skydiving incident than a reporter with no skydiving experience, and will often garble information he or she is given simply through unfamiliarity with the topic. Ask the previously listed skydiving professionals to explain to you, in layman's terms, the cause of the accident so that you can accurately report it. They may not yet have all the answers, especially if certain equipment malfunctions are suspected, but if you are polite and interested rather than forceful about getting the story before an early deadline you will get a lot more cooperation. A good working relationship with the drop zone in question is ideal, because not only will this help you on this story, but you will also get a much better story for other drop zone events such as charity fundraisers (skydiving is interesting to your non-skydiving readers, and can sell publications when good events happen as well as accidents). Introducing more specifics to your report will be good for your readers, but more information requires more fact-checking. If possible, send a copy of the article to your source at the drop zone before publication. The source will likely jump (pardon the pun) at the chance to review the coverage for accuracy. Don't Make These Mistakes Skydivers do not skydive because of a death wish. If that were the case, they'd only make one jump apiece. They most definitely are thrill seekers, but they are dedicated to skydiving safely, even while pushing the envelope, so they can continue to skydive. Portraying skydivers and skydiving as irresponsible, imminently dangerous, or suicidal is an inaccurate disservice. It is also inaccurate to imply that drop zone management is to blame for most skydiving deaths, because it is every skydivers' choice to exit the aircraft; once they have done so, the only person who can keep one safe is himself/herself. For the most part, blaming a drop zone for an experienced skydiver's death (nearly always skydiver error, as previously stated) is similar to blaming the highway system for a motorist's death. The system simply provides the place for the motorist to drive; the drop zone merely provides an aircraft and landing area for the skydiver to jump and land. What a skydiver does with those resources is his or her responsibility alone. Also, keep in mind that stating or implying that a drop zone is to blame for an incident could lead to a libel suit if there is no evidence to back up the accusation. While the following isn't technically a mistake, it is the author's firm belief that in most cases, the practice of including a roll call of any deaths that have previously occurred at a drop zone (or any other sports facility) with an accident article serves no good purpose. If all of these deaths were attributable to the management or equipment provided by the drop zone, then there is something going on that should be exposed. Without proof of such culpability, however, listing previous deaths generally just angers skydivers and creates the mistaken assumption by non-skydiving readers that there is something going on that should be stopped. Again, keep libel laws in mind. Jump Plane Accidents Thankfully even less common than skydiving fatalities, jump plane accidents present a different reporting challenge mainly because aviation accident investigation falls under the authority of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). The local skydivers might or might not have an aviation and accident investigation background, and might or might not know the cause of the accident; they are not the people you should interview about aircraft incidents. Just because the accident involved a jump plane doesn't make it a skydiving accident. The pilot would be a good source if he survived, but NTSB is the final authority on aircraft accidents, and their reports tend to take some time to come out. They do send public affairs officers to the scene of aircraft accidents; these people are the ones you should talk to in this instance. Resources for journalists regarding aviation accidents can be found on their web site at www.ntsb.gov/events/journalist/default.htm. The end goal of this article is more informative, balanced, tasteful reporting of skydiving and other sport incidents in order to better serve readers and thereby the commercial publications they purchase. Thanks to Randy Connell, S&TA, S/L Instructor, AFF Instructor; Chris Schindler, ATP, CFII; and Jim Crouch, AFF/I, USPA Director of Safety and Training, for their contributions to this article. Resources: www.uspa.org www.ntsb.gov Christy West is a journalist and gold/silver skydiving medalist with over 1,800 jumps.
  20. Before discussing static and dynamic stalls we should first review some terms involving stability. Static stability refers to how something behaves in a steady state. A parachutist suspended under a normally functioning canopy would usually be said to have positive static stability. That is to say that when not changing the position of the toggles or risers, things like airspeed and heading will not change very much from one moment to the next. Dynamic stability refers to what happens after something has been disturbed from its static state. Once a parachutist changes the position of the toggles or risers, dynamic stability comes into play as the body swings under the canopy. A static stall refers to what airplane pilots would call a slow deceleration, approach to landing or simply a normal stall. Basically, at an altitude from which it will be safe to recover from the stall, slowly increase the angle of attack and let airspeed bleed off. Keep increasing the angle of attack, gently, until the stall happens. Under a parachute, this is fairly simple. Slowly pull the toggles down and wait. Do not pull down the toggle so quickly that you swing forward from your normal position under canopy. Hold the toggles all the way down and wait. You should notice the sound of the airspeed decreasing, perhaps a slight rocking in the saddle and then perhaps a noticeable increase in descent rate. This is a basic stall. For all intents and purposes it is the most genteel stall your canopy will demonstrate. Recover from the stall by decreasing the angle of attack -- let the toggles up and resume flight. The dynamic stall is different because of the suspended weight swinging under the canopy. Again at an altitude from which it will be safe to recover, begin the maneuver from full flight -- toggles all the way up. This time instead of slowly pulling the toggles down, pull them down as quickly and as far as you can and hold them there. A few different things are happening this time around. Because your airspeed initially hasn't changed all that much, but you've increased the angle of attack dramatically, the wing is now creating a lot more lift. A function of creating lift however is also the creation of drag. Your canopy as a result will not only go up but also slow down. Your body on the other hand is following Newton's first law of motion and will continue at its current speed and direction. Unfortunately this also asymmetrically loads the front and rear risers, which continues to further increase the wing's angle of attack. It's a vicious little circle there for a moment or two as increasing the angle of attack slows the canopy more and more. As your body swings farther and farther forward, rapidly, the wing exceeds the critical angle of attack and it stalls. Your body may have been thrown quite a bit forward of the leading edge of the wing and even slightly upwards of your normal place under the canopy. As a result, your body may feel a much more definite falling or even backward motion than it did during the static stall. Stalls can happen at any airspeed and at any attitude. All that is required is for the wing to exceed the critical angle of attack. Up to this point in this discussion, we've been looking at stalls in a fairly normal manner. If you didn't know better you may have thought that the stall had something to do with the speed of the wing or its attitude in relationship with the horizon. That's normal. Many people make this mistake. After all, we've demonstrated the stalls from a slow deceleration and with a fairly normal relationship to the horizon, earth and sky. That's about where most discussions on the subject begin and end. So, some people might make the mistake of thinking that a stall can only happen if you're flying too slow or if the leading edge of the wing is pointed toward the sky. Unfortunately, this is just dead wrong. To make matters worse, some maneuvers that you may perform, turns for example, create G force. Basically, your body wants to continue in a straight line but is getting pulled in another direction by lift. As the bank angle increases, so does the G force. In an airplane, maintaining altitude during a turn, the G force increases at a rate equal to one divided by the cosine of the bank angle. So, at a bank angle of 60 degrees the G force will be 2. You might not get exactly 2 Gs under a parachute turning with a 60 degree bank though since generally you're not maintaining the altitude and the equation becomes quite a bit more complicated taking into account your descent rate, but in most cases it will definitely be greater than 1. So what does this have to do with stalls? As the G force increases so does the amount of lift required to offset it. With the same angle of attack, the airspeed at which the stall occurs will be increased by the square root of the G force. Airplane pilots would call this an accelerated stall. Let's say you're pulling a sustained 2 Gs pulling out of a steep swoop, your canopy will have an accelerated stall at 1.414 times its static stall speed. The really insidious part of this is when a person is snapping the toggles down to pull out of a too steep and too low swoop, the dynamic stall comes into play. The body continues in a straight line, increasing the angle of attack and aggravating the stall with really bad results. It's my opinion that this could be the primary factor in some botched hook turn landings. Paul Quade is a Certified Flight Instructor and the camera flyer for the Open Class 4-way team, Perris Lightwave.
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    Skydiving Safety Day - What It Is

    Since 1997, USPA has selected the second weekend of March as National Skydiving Safety Day and encouraged DZs everywhere to participate. The idea is simple; have skydivers focus for a day on the skydiving information, issues, procedures and training that can keep them alive in the upcoming season.With just one life saved, the payoff is huge. Safety Day was the idea of a soft-spoken but enthusiastic woman named Patti Chernis who approached the USPA Board of Directors with the concept in 1996.The board applauded and endorsed her plan. Safety Day preparations were well underway when, in the ultimate of ironies, Chernis died while skydiving on New Year's Eve 1996, just a day before she would have been elected USPA Northwest Regional Director. It was in her honor that Safety Day began in 1997 and her legacy that it continues to grow each year. A majority of DZs now report Safety Day activities each March. Planning Safety Day How does it work? As simply as this: First, announce to your jumpers that your DZ is hosting a Safety Day. You may want to offer incentives to boost attendance. Many DZs offer free or discounted jump tickets, free food, discounted reserve pack jobs, door prizes, or any combination. Second, select a suitable location.Think comfort. If the hangar won't be warm or large enough, consider a restaurant, school gym, motel, or veteran's lodge. Anticipate a good turnout and be sure you have room for lectures, training-harness drills, and rig inspections. Third, put a training syllabus and staff together. Feel free to use the training ideas included here, which involve the four modules or stations below, with just some ideas on content. Gear Check and Review - Have jumpers inspect their rigs with a rigger. Check closing loops and flaps, pilot chute snugness and condition, velcro, three-ring condition, RSL routing, AAD compliance with battery and fac-tory check, etc. Skydiving Emergency Review and Drills - Review all types of problems, reinforce altitude awareness, discuss disorientation, practice in a suspended harness. Canopy Flight and Landing Patterns - Use aerial photos to show acceptable and unacceptable outs, review hazards, establish or review landing patterns, and discuss canopy handling toward preventing low-turn acci-dents. Aircraft Procedures and Emergencies - Review exit order and loading procedures, seat belt and weight and balance concerns, spotting procedures, visibility minimums and cloud clearances, air traffic control require-ments, and aircraft emergency scenarios. And Fun,Too! Last, don't forget the PR. Give recognition to those who turn out and those who teach. Remember that many local news organizations may want to provide news coverage. Take pictures and send them with a brief write-up to Parachutist. And consider that the skydivers who don't participate may need more of your staff's attention when the season kicks in. Ed Scott USPA Director of Group Membership For more information got to the USPA web site
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    Jan Davis dies at Lodi, California

    Popular and well known skydiver Jan Davis died at Lodi in California on Saturday March 31, 2001. Jan was filming a tandem when the accident happened. The tandem master saw her with a spinning malfunction and subsequent cutaway. He reported a 'pilot chute in tow' to impact. Early reports indicate that the reserve bridal had snagged under her front mounted still camera. She apparently worked on the problem all the way in. She had pulled all her handles. The freebag was out. Some reserve lines snagged the ring sight, and the freebag locking stows were still stowed. No further information available at this time. Note: Another skydiver also called Jan Davis died last year doing a BASE jump in Yosemite National Park. Source: rec.skydiving
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    Student dies in skydiving accident

    Dayton Township, USA - A 22-year-old Pennsylvania woman was killed skydiving Monday. Allison Hoffman of Allentown, a college student, was found dead in remote timber off East 1951 Road in Dayton Township. She is the eighth person to die in an accident since Skydive Chicago moved to Ottawa in 1993. For unknown reasons, Hoffman's parachute did not inflate, La Salle County Coroner Jody Bernard said Wednesday. An autopsy was scheduled for this morning, she added. The coroner's office, La Salle County Sheriff's Department and Federal Aviation Administration are investigating the death, Bernard said. Skydive Chicago was in the news last year when a Missoula, Mont., man died after a mid-air collision with another skydiver. The business was attempting to break the world record for the number of skydivers in a free-fall formation. Three skydivers died within three weeks of each other in 1998. Skydive Chicago Program Director Roger Nelson could not be reached for comment. Hoffman was a culinary student at Johnson and Wales University in Miami, Fla. She was to have graduated in December, said Alicia Medina, academics administrator. When a student dies, the university often will start a collection to help the parents with funeral costs, she said. "Usually we will wait until the parents call us," Medina said. "We don't want to intrude. We usually do take a collection to help out the parents."
  24. You just landed after throwing a double gainer from a cliff in Moab. Adrenaline surges through your system as you think of the amazing visuals you just saw. As you gather up your canopy, you pause to watch the next jumper exit. After a short delay, he tosses his pilot chute and the canopy deploys offheading. He takes evasive measures but the strikes the wall repeatedly. After finally getting the canopy turned away from the cliff, he lands hard on the talus and tumbles to a stop thirty feet below and doesn't move… Now the real adrenaline kicks in. What do you do? Download this Article Introduction The scenario above is a severe one, but all too possible. In the hazardous environment we know as BASE jumping, we often place ourselves in situations which may result in our injury or death. Due to the inherent risk involved with this activity, every time we jump there is a possibility that something will go wrong. Fortunately, the most common BASE injuries are relatively minor and having a basic knowledge of first aid can help dramatically. With immediate care you can reduce the lasting effects of many injuries, and the time it takes to recover. Another goal is to improve the comfort level of the injured. The scene of an accident is not the place to be thinking about learning lifesaving skills. Preparing yourself ahead of time will make you a more confident jumper and knowing your partners have the same skills will go a long way if you yourself happen to be the one needing help. For the purposes of this paper, I have tried to explain thing in layman's terms wherever possible and assume that you have taken a basic CPR course. (Call the American Red Cross or go to www.redcross.org.) 3 Assessment This is where you size up the situation and the extent of the jumpers injuries. This is a process you will use for serious injuries. Your basic assessment should take about one minute. Not slow enough to waste valuable time, but not so fast that you miss important signs. Your minute will be divided into two phases: the Primary survey or ABC' s (15 seconds), and the Secondary survey (45 seconds). Primary: Establishing the severity of the situation. Make the scene as safe as possible. Move anything that may be a risk to you or the injured and get hysterical people out of the area. Send someone for help. Airway. Make the jumper has an airway. If they can talk to you, they have an airway. If not, check yourself. Use the head tilt/chin lift or a jaw thrust. (These techniques can be learned in a basic CPR course.) Breathing. Are they breathing? Put your ear to their mouth/nose area and look for the chest to rise and fall. If no breathing, revert to your CPR training. Circulation. Do they have a pulse? If not, start CPR. Is there profuse bleeding? Deformity. Are there obvious injuries? Expose. Weather conditions permitting, remove the clothes of the jumper (cut preferably) and cover with blankets as needed. Hypothermia is a possibility now and you need to be aware that the jumper may go into shock. Secondary: Eyes, ears, nose, and mouth: a.Eyes; in sunlight, cover the eyes then uncover them and see if the pupils react. At night use a light to check. b.Ears; is there any fluid coming out? Don't try to stop drainage. c.Nose; any bleeding? d.Mouth; look for blood or broken teeth. Teeth can be a choking hazard so remove loose, broken pieces. Neck: Can you see any obvious deformities? Chest: Can you see any section of the chest that moves opposite the rest when the patient breathes? (Broken ribs) Is there any tenderness? Abdomen: Is there any tenderness or does the abdomen seem more rigid than normal? (Internal bleeding) Are they trying to keep you from touching them? Pelvis: Any tenderness? Can you feel bones rubbing or grinding? Someone with a broken pelvis will sometimes feel like they're, "falling apart." Arms: Do you see any obvious fractures? Can you feel any bones grinding? Can you feel a pulse in the wrist? Check circulation by pressing on the fingernails and seeing how fast they get red underneath. Try this on yourself for a comparison. Can they feel you touching their hands? Can they move their arms? Have them squeeze both of your hands at the same time and feel if one side is weak. Legs: Do you see any obvious fractures? Can you feel bones grinding? Can you feel a pulse behind the ankle? (Check behind the big ball on the inside of the ankle.) Check the nail beds. Can they feel your touch? Can they wiggle their toes? By now, you should have an overall impression of how severe the jumpers' injuries might be. Now you can plan the best course of action for the rescue efforts. Redo this assessment every 3-5 minutes until EMS personnel take over. Be sure to report these findings to EMS personnel as it will provide useful information to them. For a quick set of field vital signs: Check the pulse and count beats per minute. Approximate blood pressure can be obtained without a stethoscope or BP cuff. A cool trick: If you can feel a wrist pulse, the systolic pressure is about 80. If you can feel a pulse on the inside of the arm where the bicep and tricep meet, it's about 70. If you can only feel it in the neck, it's about 60. Check breaths per minute. This may not mean much to you but if you can provide EMS workers with a sheet of vital signs detailing every five minutes in the past half hour, it can increase your friends' odds of surviving. This is because it shows the "trend" of vital signs and can give valuable clues about the condition of the jumper. Shock Shock can have several different causes but the likely causes in our situations would be trauma to the nervous system, or loss of blood. Shock occurs when tissues and vital organs are not getting enough oxygen from the bloodstream. Symptoms of shock include: Pale, cool, clammy skin Restlessness Nausea/vomiting Rapid breathing Drop in blood pressure The first step in treating shock is to stop blood loss. Then, cover the jumper with a blanket. As long as injuries don't prevent you from doing so, elevate the feet about 8-10 inches over the heart. They may get thirsty but try not to give anything to eat or drink. If there may be a long delay until help arrives, you can give small amounts of water at room temperature. Even if a jumper doesn't display symptoms of shock, treat for shock anyway. They might not be in shock yet. Bleeding There are three types of bleeding: capillary, veinous, and arterial. Capillary bleeding is the oozing blood you see when you skin your knee. It is minor and not life threatening. Veinous bleeding is blood from a vein. It is dark red and flows out of the wound. Arterial bleeding is pretty obvious since there will usually be an arc of bright red blood spurting out of the body. Arteries carry lots of blood and arterial blood loss can be immediately life threatening. Stop the bleeding: Apply pressure directly over the wound. If you have a clean dressing, use it. If you don't have something sterile, use what you have. A shirt or towel will work. If the wound gets dirty, we can treat it with antibiotics later. If direct pressure fails to stop the bleeding, combine direct pressure with elevating the wound over the heart. If the bleeding still hasn't stopped, apply direct pressure to a pressure point. There are eleven pressure points on each side of the body. If all else has failed, use a tourniquet. The decision to use a tourniquet is a serious one. This will completely stop the blood supply to the extremity involved and may result in that limb being amputated. Use it in a life or death situation. To apply a tourniquet: a.Wrap a band around the limb. Preferably, use something flat and at least one finger wide. A strap from a stashbag will work. b.Tie it in a knot around the limb. c.Lay a stick or similar object directly on the knot and tie another knot over it. d.Twist the stick to tighten the band. Twist it until the bleeding stops. e.Tie the stick in position. Record what time you applied the tourniquet and once it's on, DO NOT remove it. Femur Fractures The femur is the long bone between your hip and knee. Alongside your femur, lies the femoral artery. The femoral is one of the largest arteries in your body and cutting it can result in bleeding to death very rapidly. For this reason, proper attention to femur fractures is extremely important. Fortunately, the femur is a serious chunk of bone so it takes a lot of force to fracture it. If you suspect that the jumper has a femur fracture, you must not let them attempt to walk on it! After the thigh is injured, the muscles will spasm. If the femur isn't there to support the muscle, the sharp bone ends can cut muscle tissue, nerves, and the femoral artery. The way to prevent this is to apply traction in the long axis of the bone. The easiest method of applying traction is to use a traction splint. (The Kendrick traction splint™ is a very BASE friendly item to have. It costs about $100 and folds into a pouch that will fit inside a hip pouch or cargo pocket. If you were sitting there with a femur fracture I could offer you one for a couple thousand dollars and you'd accept.) To apply traction, pull straight on the ankle. Imagine trying to stretch the leg and make it longer. You will need to keep constant traction until an actual traction splint is available. It is very important that you never let up the tension or else serious damage may result. If the shoe comes off, the resulting rebound will be excruciating and bad things will happen. For this reason, remove the shoe on the broken leg. The jumper won't be walking anyway. Splinting Splinting is not really a science. When a bone breaks, the ends are usually very sharp. When these sharp edges move around, you can damage muscle tissue, nerves, and blood vessels. In order to prevent this, you splint the affected bone to immobilize it. Sometimes, you use whatever is available. There are two classifications of fractures, closed fractures and open fractures. Closed fractures include any fracture where the bone does not break the skin. In such instances, proper treatment includes immobilizing the fracture and seeking medical attention. Open fractures occur when a bone breaks through the skin. Signs of a fracture include: A bone end sticking out of the body, A grinding feeling at the site of the suspected fracture, Deformity of the limb, Loss of ability to move the limb, Loss of pulse or sensation, Muscle spasms. Your first step in treating a possible fracture is to stop and take a deep breath. Few fractures are life threatening unless they are mishandled. If there's no apparent life threatening injury, the best approach is a slow methodical one. Cut away clothing from the area and control any bleeding. If you find an open fracture, treat it like any other wound. Generally, you don't want to attempt to straighten out a broken limb. Don't try to realign the bones yourself. There are exceptions to this. If the limb has no pulse or is losing color, you may need to reduce the angle of the fracture to restore circulation. If you need to transport the jumper over rough terrain, a limb sticking out to the side will make things difficult. In these situations, not splinting would be more dangerous. IF YOU DECIDE TO ADJUST A FRACTURE, keep in mind that the sharp end can do major damage to the surrounding tissues so limit movement as much as possible. Also, have someone hold the jumpers arms so you don't catch a right hook. The goal in splinting is to immobilize the bone that is broken. You should try to immobilize the joint above and below the fracture. Find something to use as a splint. Most sites where we jump are in wooded areas so there is usually a variety of sticks and branches to choose from. If possible, pad the splinting materials with a towel or shirt to take up the space between the limb and the splint. This will also improve the comfort of the jumper. Use your imagination and you can usually come up with a splint for most fractures. Forearms can be fractured when you try to catch yourself during a less-than-graceful landing. Fractured forearms should be splinted with a natural curl of the fingers. Place a roll of gauze, or something similar in the palm of the hand. This will go a long way to improve comfort. If you suspect fractured ribs, you can pad the chest and gently wrap it. Placing the arm on the affected side into a sling helps. Try so calm the jumper and have them sit down until help arrives. Limit movement since a fractured rib can puncture a lung. If you suspect a skull fracture, DO NOT place pressure on the head. Monitor level of consciousness and do not give morphine! Joint injuries Damaging joints is a constant threat to BASE jumpers. Ankles are the most frequently injured joints skydiving, BASE jumping, and most sports. There's a saying that goes, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." This applies to us because it is pretty easy to reduce the number of ankle injuries. Wearing an ankle brace is an easy and effective measure to prevent hurting your ankles in a sketchy landing. They're available at any sporting goods store. A simple low-grade sprain can keep you grounded for a weekend. A serious sprain can keep you from jumping for a year or longer. If you break a bone, it will usually heal stronger than it was before you fractured it. Ligaments, tendons, and other soft tissues may never completely recover from injuries. Ask anyone who's been jumping for a few years. If a jumper injures a joint in the field to the point that it will not bear bodyweight, you should treat it as a fracture until an x-ray can prove otherwise. Splint it and proceed to the nearest hospital for evaluation. All Sprains can be treated with the acronym, R.I.C.E. Rest: stay off the affected joint and give it time to heal. Ice: apply ice, cold packs or frozen vegetables to the joint. Peas work well because they will conform to the shape of the joint. Just don't eat them after several freeze/thaw cycles. Compress: wrap the joint firmly but not too tight. An ACE wrap can is ideal. If your fingers or toes turn purple, it's too tight. If you squeeze your nail-beds, the color should return immediately. If not, re-wrap more loosely. Elevate: Kick back and have a cold one. Try to keep the injured joint at about heart level. This regimen can be supplemented by taking Motrin (ibuprofen) or Aleve (naprosyn). Follow dosing directions on the package. Both are anti-inflammatories and will help with the pain. If this treatment isn't working, it might be a good time to see a doctor. Summary This paper is by no means, a complete set of first aid information for the BASE jumper. In addition to reading this paper, I highly recommend enrolling in a CPR class, a basic first aid course, and an EMT Basic course. Most junior colleges offer an EMT course and CPR is usually included. These classes will show you how to approach an injury and decide on the most appropriate course of action. First aid is a skill-set we hope to never need. The harsh reality of our sport is that there will be more injuries, and there will be more fatalities. Hopefully someday BASE jumpers will stop being injured and killed. Until that day comes, we all need to know what to do when accidents happen. ---Dexterbase Download this article
  25. A SKYDIVER who plummeted 13,000ft to earth with his bride after their main parachute failed to open spoke yesterday about the accident. Kevin McIlwee, 47, said from his hospital bed in France: "I didn't have time to think whether we were going to get through it or not." He said, however, that as he fought to control the descent over the town of Vannes in Brittany, he confided to his wife of six weeks, Beverley, 44, who was strapped in front of him: "We might not make it." Watching colleagues did not expect them to survive, but the couple, who had regularly skydived in tandem, crash-landed on grass, escaping with severe leg injuries. Mr McIlwee, a maths teacher from De la Salle College, Jersey, said that their main parachute failed to open at the regulation 5,000ft when they made their jump on Sunday. He said: "I found I just couldn't jettison the chute. I tried to engage the reserve chute but the two couldn't fly side by side." Mr McIlwee, a skydiving instructor who has made more than 4,000 jumps, said: "The parachutes were continually tangling and I was doing my best to control them. I have no idea at what speed we hit the ground. We were very lucky. We could have been a lot worse." Mr McIlwee suffered a badly broken leg and his wife, the manager of the Seabird Hotel chain in Jersey, suffered broken bones in both feet, and a broken knee and shin bone. The couple are expected to travel home to Jersey by air ambulance in about a week. Mrs McIlwee, who has enjoyed skydiving for about five years, told her father, Dennis Murtaugh, by telephone that she intended to give up the sport. She has had metal plates inserted in her legs and will be in a wheelchair for many weeks. Mr Murtaugh, 67, a theatre critic from Burnley, said: "She said she felt so lucky to be alive. She's usually such a bubbly person, but was understandably talking in a weak tone. She was very shook up, and was only just starting to realise that what had happened could have cost her life." "She said she was looking out of the window from her hospital bed enjoying seeing the daylight and the birds outside." Mr Murtaugh added: "Kevin is a hell of a fellow, and he knows what he is doing. I put it down to his experience as a skydiving expert that they are here today at all. It's a God-given miracle that they are both alive."