WOW, lucky this skydiver lived

lil charlie

Registered
[video]http://www.khou.com/news/242366201.html[/video]

So what do you guys think about letting a 16 year old skydive solo?

I have never, other than a few 30/30 jumps from a helicopter, jumped out of something that was intended to fly. I'm not questioning her wanting to do it, nor am I question her parents decision to allow her to jump. Where I see the problem is that this skydiving company allowed her to jump solo on her 1st attempt. I am also question her parents decision to allow this to happen. Like I said, I'm no skydiver so Im not sure if it is standard operating procedure to allow people to jump solo on their 1st attempt. I understand that her shoot was tied to the plane so it automatically opens but seriously.....you allowed a 16 year old girl to jump solo on her 1st attempt??? That just boggles my mind.

What do you guys think about this? Would you allow your child to jump solo at 16?
 

lil charlie

Registered
This article doesn't say anything about but another one I saw said the owners of the skydiving company said it was her fault for not following the training she received to open her secondary shoot.

If I was the parent the words "her fault" would have caused me to go ballistic.
 

skydivr

Jumps from perfectly good Airplanes
Donating Member
This article has been 'sensationalized' in order to get people to read it....

Skydiving in the US is regulated by the FAA. The FAA has taken (and I agree with) the approach of letting the industry, to an extent, self-regulate, and had said the defining body/proponent is the US. Parachute Assocation (USPA). The USPA, full of professionals within/outside the industry, had come up with a set of Basic Safety Regulations (BSR's) for which most Drop Zones are required to follow in order to be sanctioned by the USPA. USPA also is the authority that issues most of the ratings that the FAA accepts for instructional purposes (for which btw I hold a rating). Didn't say they HAD to be Member Drop Zones, just that in order to fall under the 'protection' of the USPA's guidance (which the FAA respects). Given that, most skydivers understand the process of training students and use about three different training progression methods. This drop zone is a USPA Drop Zone member, and therefore has agreed to live by these rules.

The latest SIM (skydiver's information manual) can be found here: http://www.uspa.org/Portals/0/Downloads/Man_SIM_2014.pdf. It is 258 pages and covers all student training, licenses, drop zone practices, etc. It is the skydivers 'bible'. In the US, the USPA's current regulations state that a person must be 18 to make a skydive; underneath that requires a signed legal waiver by a legal parent or guardian (some of these are 10 pages long, and state clearly, "IF I DIE, IT'S BECAUSE I CHOSE TO DO THIS WILLINGLY, AND WAIVE ANY AND ALL RIGHTS BY MYSELF, HEIRS OR ASSIGNS"00. I've seen DZ owners with head's up kids who have been around it all their lives, jump even earlier, but it's RARE.

I too was trained thru the static line progression method. Which means your first jump is solo. You are exiting at a low (3500ft) altitude, you are wearing a container with TWO parachutes (Main and Reserve), and your main is connected to the airplane in such a way that the deployment sequence begins UPON EXIT and WITHOUT action by the jumper. They don't just put you in a rig and toss you out the door (ever see 'Fandango'?), it's usually 8 hours minimum of instruction before jumping, and there's a lot you have to show the instructor (I am a static-line rated instructor) before going.

Reading between the lines, the girl exited, her main opened but malfunctioned, and she failed to follow part or any of the emergency proceedures that she trained up in order to make the jump. Doesn't sound like she ever iniated emergency proceedures (using the Reserve). She's lucky she survived. What the owner said, while blunt and can appear indifferent, is accurate.

Skydiving is a blast, but it's NOT a GAME. Going back to the OP. Knowing what I know, and hoping someday my daughter wants to, I would not let MY daughter make a static line jump at 16. I WOULD let her make a tandem jump, but there are only about 3 people in the world I'd entrust her to.

Remember, you can FLY an airplane SOLO at 14...
 

VaBusa

oRg Gal
Staff member
Administrator
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I blame the parents here...at 16, IMHO, she's not ready to take on that kind of responsibility over something she's never ever done. Shoot, they have months of training to drive a car, but there's nothing in place for this? Them hiring a lawyer is just another case of what's wrong with America - Americans continually making stupid decisions and then expecting someone else to pay for their mistakes.

I'm glad this girl is alive, and she's lucky to be alive according to what little I know about jumping from planes, but she never should have been solo jumping to begin with. That's her parents' fault for signing a waiver. Shame on them...
 

skydivr

Jumps from perfectly good Airplanes
Donating Member
P.S. She had a PARTIAL, not a TOTAL malfunction - meaning SOMETHING was out, even if not functioning properly, otherwise she'd be gone. And, while I have a rating to do this, I don't because of the potential for a personal liability lawsuit if I do EVERYTHING I can, and the student makes a bad decision that a lawyer can turn a sympathic courtroom into a judgement against me personally.

The Parents can hire a lawyer all they want, but I promise you that waiver they signed is gonna be AIRTIGHT. It's a tragedy for sure, but...
 

lil charlie

Registered
The lawyer part is stupid. I also think its stupid that she can jump solo at 16 even with a parents waver.

I see no problems with someone that young skydiving as long as it was tandem. How can you possible expect someone that young not to panic and remember her 8 hours of training to get out of that situation and deploy a reserve shoot? Like I've said....I've never done it, it maybe easy to get the reserve shoot out. Is it like in the movies (I know, dumb question right) where you have to cut away the main shoot and deploy the reserves? If so, that's a lot to ask of a 16 year old on there 1st go...especially if it was at a low altitude.

Sky...your response was the one I was looking for to see if this was the norm or not. I don't think they (the jump school or parents) should have allowed anything other than tandem for this but then again your talking to a guy who believes that you should not be allowed to have a drivers license until you've had a permit for at least 1 year. 14 and you can fly a plane????????? That's F'ing nuts to me!

I also want to clarify my original post. I don't fault the parents for allowing her to jump....but I do for allowing her to do it static and not tandem. To me that's like saying hey....you spent a few days in classes to learn the rules of the road and got your permit today. Its your 1st time behind the wheel but here's the keys to a race car.....then blaming the driver because she forgot her training and couldn't negotiate a turn. I blame the parents for allowing her to go solo and I blame the school/USPA for saying its okay for minors to do it if their parents said its okay. I don't know, maybe I'm just too protective of children now; a few years ago I wouldn't have had any problems with this. It is also easy for me to judge something I don't understand.

I hope she heals fast and that the waver the parents signed is Iron Clad. I hate how everybody sues everybody now.
 

VaBusa

oRg Gal
Staff member
Administrator
Registered
I think what's a play here, and I may be wrong, but this is more the norm now than ever before - we are a society of "don't want to say no" especially to our kids. I'm guessing the parents had heard that she wanted this, and she didn't want to jump tandem, and she's likely never told no, as far too many kids nowadays. My kids want lots of things, but as their legal guardian, I'm tasked with weighing the good/bad and *I* still make decisions in their best interest, doesn't matter what they want. I would possibly allow a tandem jump (I'd have to get over my own irrational fear of skydiving first, I'm owning that), but I would never allow a minor to jump solo from a plane, period. I'm also with lil charlie on the flying of a plane solo at 14; I wouldn't allow my kids to drive a car on the roads at that age unsupervised, so why would I think they have the skills to fly a plane alone? :banghead: Anyway, when they're of legal age to make decisions like this for themselves, then it's out of my hands...
 

dadofthree

Seasoned Beef
Donating Member
Registered
I was thinking Daddy being a friend instead of a parent. Yep a total failure would have made jello out of her. She is very very lucky.

I've heard of equipment that operates the shoot is there any equipment that corrects issues like this, say falling too rapid, altitude too low ???
 

lil charlie

Registered
I was thinking Daddy being a friend instead of a parent. Yep a total failure would have made jello out of her. She is very very lucky.

I've heard of equipment that operates the shoot is there any equipment that corrects issues like this, say falling too rapid, altitude too low ???

That's a good question Robert.

I know they make automatic shoot openers that you set to a specific altitude so if something goes wrong and you don't open your shoot it does it for you but I also wonder if there is a fail safe for the back up shoot.

I know a guy who died a few years ago jumping (RIP Dan Potts). His main rig had one of the auto set ups on it but if I remember correctly someone stole his the day before and he jumped with his backup rig. He was a very experienced diver jumping with a new guy and they collided mid-air and he bumped his head causing him to be out of it and he never opened his shoot.
 

skydivr

Jumps from perfectly good Airplanes
Donating Member
I was thinking Daddy being a friend instead of a parent. Yep a total failure would have made jello out of her. She is very very lucky.

I've heard of equipment that operates the shoot is there any equipment that corrects issues like this, say falling too rapid, altitude too low ???

Called an AAD (Automatic Activation Device). Supposed to fire the reserve (but cutting the loop that the reserve spring is pinned into) if the wearer goes thru a certain altitude at faster than a certain speed. Too soon yet to tell if this jumper's canopy was open enough not to meet the parameters. Required on all student equipment and highly encouraged on others. I wear one.
 

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