JSC Johannesburg Skydiving Club
         
         
         
 
JSC Johannesburg Skydiving Club
 
 
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Chief Instructor's Column (archive)

May 2009 — July 2010

29 July 2010

Hi Fellow Jumpers,

For those who visit JSC from time to time (as daily visitors), please take 30 seconds of your time and come introduce yourself to me. I would like to get to know everyone who jumps here. Anyone at anytime who is not sure of anything skydiving related is to please approach me for assistance/ advice and if I don't know, I will find out for you.

If you don't feel 'right' to jump then please don't! There's always another day or weekend. Also if you have any personal problems/issues in your life, this can affect your judgement and/or timing, and in turn compromise your health whilst skydiving. Therefore rather wait until you are happy in your life again before jumping! (I can try help, but I might make your problem worse :-)

Skydiving is about YOU, Instructors & Jumpmasters can help you on the ground, but you must ultimately help yourself in the sky! ALL students are to be checked out by the duty staff at manifest BEFORE you walk out to Boarding Point — this is for your own safety & will also prevent you having to run back to change your rig at manifest & then run back out again to boarding point.

Find out from the Loadmaster/Jumpmaster what the "Landing Direction" is BEFORE you board the aircraft.

Stay CURRENT! Those who are still using the yellow logbooks, the inside back cover has all the currency details that you need to know about.

The whirlwinds have arrived and will last, hopefully, not longer than August. These are very dangerous as they collapse canopies that fly into them! In the event of flying into one, immediately pull toggles to half or even FULL BRAKES to keep the canopy inflated. Turbulence you will feel by being "bumped around" under canopy — apply the same method above if you experience this.

Anyone wanting to buy new gear, please confirm with me, or any instructor, BEFORE you buy it, as you may purchase something that we will not allow you to jump! This has happened in the past.

Please report any UN-safe activity to me, you can remain anonymous. If you have any suggestions with regards to making our club safer, then please speak up!

I wish you all safe skydives & please remember that we are here to help you as best we can.

Regards,
Derek Livesage
Chief Instructor, JSC

16 March 2010

Hi JSC members,

It is amazing how many incidents could have been prevented with the proper gear checks. This weekend we had another one, involving one of our members who was jumping at Skydive Cape Town.

He had a pilot chute in tow and the way the bridle was routed, there was no way it would have pulled the bag out of the container. This is one of the basic checks – make sure your bridle is properly routed. The rig was packed by a packer, but that does not relieve each and every jumper from the responsibility of checking their own gear prior to jumping.  What is even more concerning is that this person has over 400 jumps, has never packed in his life and by all accounts did not know what to check for!

So that brings me to the next point – Safety Day.

We will be shutting down operations around 17h00 on Saturday 27 March for a Safety Seminar. There will be 3 presentations, namely:

  1. Aircraft procedures and drills by our Chief Pilot, Bruce
  2. Gear checks and maintenance by the de Klerk boeties
  3. Safe canopy flying and landing patterns by Rob Kruger

The people giving the presentations are the best in their respective fields and I urge as many JSC members as possible to attend. There will also be staff on hand to redo harness training for anyone who needs refreshing here.

Let's give this our best support and by doing so, help to keep JSC one of the safest DZ's in the business.

Blue skies,
Kevin

16 February 2010

Hi all,

As we all know things have been pretty busy at JSC of late and having two aircraft in the air at the same time has presented a major challenge, and all credit to the duty staff who have coped very well and kept it safe. The encouraging thing is that we now know we have the resources to cope.

We are always trying to educate our members and as a result, the following is being planned:

  1. Canopy Control course for beginners / low jump members. This will involve a morning's theory and then 4 jumps where each approach and landing is filmed and debriefed. A few of our members have been having problems with their landings and this is the ideal platform to get the basic knowledge. Sean and Aggie are busy with preparing the coursework and once finalised, we will publish the dates, probably once a month on Saturdays.
  2. The additional workload means a requirement for additional staff. Simba has very kindly offered to step in and act as Deputy CI, which is going to help make a lot of things go much smoother. Please give Simba your fullest support and also take note that anytime in my absence the Lion King has full authority to crack the whip in whatever way he deems fit!  

Blue skies,
Kevin

9 February 2010

Hi skydivers,

I am always happy to give feedback on a successful weekend and we certainly had a blast this weekend! Two PACs operating, probably a record number of jumps for JSC on any one weekend and everyone kept it safe.

Thanks to the organisers of the freefly weekend, the duty staff and to all of you for putting in the big effort. There is one thing that cannot be emphasised enough however, and that is the landing patterns. Quite simply, with the increased number of canopies in the sky, everyone must be landing in the same direction to avoid any conflicts.

The landing patterns are on a poster at manifest as well as at boarding point so make sure you know the direction of the wind and landing direction before boarding the aircraft. If there is no wind, then the rule is land with the clubhouse on your right.

We will have the second PAC at JSC for the next two weekends which means more canopies in the sky, so we have to all do our part to keep it safe out there.

Blue skies,
Kevin

3 February 2010

Hi JSC members,

Phew! Things have been pretty hectic behind the scenes here.

By now you all probably know there has been a change in management at Rustenburg which has resulted in some ex Rustenburg members now jumping at JSC. Thanks Ralph! This is great for JSC. There has also been a backlog due to the bad weather and now we need more lift capacity than we have, and understandably this has upset some members.

Please rest assured that the Committee is aware of all these issues and by now you know we will be having a second PAC at the DZ this weekend. This is great and we anticipate lots of fun but just be informed that having 2 aircraft doubles the safety issues so you all need to be twice as vigilant out there. Please listen to the duty staff and do as instructed.

We have gone to a lot of trouble to secure this second aircraft for the next few weeks so please play ball.

As always, we will be holding a Jumpmaster Course in around March/April. It is going to be a little different this time around in the sense that it is going to be a Static Line and AFF Jumpmaster certification. In the past it catered for Static Line Jumpmasters only. This is a natural progression of things and will give our whole system a lot more flexibility and versatility. All those keen please contact me at the DZ.

Blue skies,
Kevin

21 January 2010

Hi JSC members,

Back in business and things were rocking at JSC last weekend! As always lots of fun was had by all. 

I have discussed this issue before but certain things have a habit of repeating themselves.

If you are on the far side of the runway under canopy at an altitude lower than 1,000ft then you land on the far side of the runway.

If you are on the far side of the runway at higher than 1,000ft and need to cross the runway for landing, then you must cross the runway in the centre, i.e. at around boarding point.

Why?

The PAC is a short takeoff and landing (STOL) aircraft and it can comfortably take off and land in half the length of our runway. So if you cross the runway over the middle and the aircraft is approaching for landing, the chances are pretty good that it would have come to a stop around boarding point. Therefore very little danger if canopies fly over at that point. 

We had a jumper flying over the runway on Sunday, low altitude and almost in front of the approaching aircraft. It was by no means a close call, but much too close for comfort.

Please stick to the rules out there. Whatever we do, it is for a reason and that is for your safety.

Blue skies,
Kevin

19 November 2009

Hi Skydivers,

There has been some fun at JSC of late.


On Sunday 15th November a record of some sorts was established when 91 year old Mabel Schroder did her first tandem skydive. She was an absolute ball of dynamite and it was a privilege for me to take her on the dive.



Click here for photos


On Monday 16th November, we took the rock group The Parlotones for tandem skydives. This will be aired on Top Billing on 26th November.



Click here for photos


There was also a lot of promotional stuff advertising the JSC swoop pond as well as the upcoming Canopy Piloting World Cup meet which takes place at JSC from 1 to 6 December this year.



www.swoop4gold.co.za
for more info on this world-class event


So all round, a lot of good positive publicity for our sport which we always need.

Blue skies,
Kevin

4 November 2009

Hi JSC members,

I am very pleased to report that the night jumps last Saturday went off without a hitch.

Firstly, congratulations to all those who did their first night jumps – well done all round. I had no problem signing off a number of licence applications which followed the evening's events. It was also good to have jumpers from other clubs supporting us. Thanks guys. Understandably some of our first timers were a bit apprehensive but we now have quite a few more night jump addicts in the system! For the record, a total of 63 descents were done without incident. That is a great achievement and also not far off the SA record for the most number of night jumps in one evening.  Well done to all the participants for keeping it safe.

The venue at Potch is perfect for night jumps and a big thanks must go to Johan Rens for his help in organising the event. Everyone that I spoke to had nothing but good words for the event.

We will definitely be doing night jumps again early in the New Year so watch this space. I believe the SA record is around 100 descents so with your participation we can easily better that.

Blue Skies (or should that be Blue Moons?)

Kevin

26 October 2009

Hi Skydivers,

The night jumps scheduled for 31 October will definitely be going ahead at Potchefstroom Airfield as planned. Just to summarise for those who have not seen my previous mails:

All paid up PASA members are welcome and the minimum requirement is a B licence. Non JSC members please bring your PASA cards with you.

Night jumps are a C and D licence requirement and must be done in the following sequence:

  1. A solo 10 second delay
  2. A solo 30 second delay
  3. A 2 way with a coach who has done night jumps before

Operations will carry on as normal at JSC until 16h00. The PAC will then fly to Potchefstroom and we will all trek to Potch. Anyone who has not jumped at Potch in the daytime must do a daytime jump there first.  These will start around 16h30 at Potch. This excludes current pro rated jumpers. Any seniors who want to board the PAC at JSC and jump out at Potch, please manifest with Sheri in the normal way.

The costs are as follows:

• A R90 registration/ admin fee, once off for all jumpers taking part, including Coaches and Jumpmasters
• R200 per slot for all jumps
• Lummi sticks will be available at R10 per packet

Payment must be done either by EFT or cash/credit card at JSC beforehand. There will not be credit card facilities at Potch. Those doing EFT payments please bring proof of payment with you. Please also note that we want this to be a big success and for as many people as possible to get the jumps done. Because of this, the JSC coaches doing the 2 ways will be paying for their own slots! So you only pay for your own jumps. Heck, but we are a bunch of good guys at JSC.  

Braai packs and accommodation will be available. Please contact Johan Rens at 083 235 3421 or johan.rens@nwu.ac.za for this.

Due to the night jumps taking place on Saturday, and due to the fact that the PAC will be leaving JSC at 16h00 the First Jump Course will be starting at 07h00 on Saturday. This is being done to ensure that the training is completed early and the jumps can be done before the PAC departs for Potch.

See you all on the 31st.

Blue skies,
Kevin

9 September 2009

Hi JSC members,

A couple of things have come up recently...

New discipline
If any skydiver, no matter what the level of experience wishes to try a new discipline, then that jumper MUST first get a briefing from someone who is experienced and competent in that discipline. This goes for camera work as well. On the weekend we had an up-and-coming jumper who did his first camera jump without any briefing and also without a proper understanding of the equipment and additional emergency procedures. I stress this was an ignorant mistake which was not intentional. If anyone wants to start camera work or any other new discipline, e.g. wingsuiting, CI approval is required.

Riggers
Our friendly riggers, Kobus and Andre, are in Namibia until January 2010. We still need to maintain and keep our equipment safe. If anyone has a major problem with personal equipment which needs repairs etc, you can contact Gavin Abroue who is a Master Rigger. His prices are in line with what our riggers charge and the quality of his work is great. I just had him do some repairs on my personal gear and no problems there.

Gavin's number is 082 784 0879, and email gavinabroue@lantic.net

Blue skies and safe landings,
Kevin

8 September 2009

Hi JSC members,

An interesting incident was recently reported on dropzone.com – thanks to Agnieszka Solomon for sharing this story with all, especially girls or anyone with long hair...

Blue skies,
Kevin


"This happened to me on Friday...

So I taught AFF that morning, and thought weather would be bad, so my hair was down. Weather got good enough for fun jumps, so I threw in one long braid down my back, and went for a fun jump with my husband, Karl and Luke Evens. I tucked it in for exit. I knew the strap on my Z1 wasn't doing it's job very well lately, but no big deal, right... never been a problem before!

It obviously came out during freefall. I deployed and felt my head get jerked. I reached back and felt my braid COMPLETELY wrapped in bridle and risers. My d-bag was banging around on my right shoulder. I reached for my handles, and thought, "this is going to hurt". I was fully prepared to have my hair ripped out of my head. After I cutaway, I felt it towing from my head. I'm not sure if my three rings released. So I thought, "this is all I've got" and dumped my reserve into it, and it inflated quickly and beautifully. Then all of my stuff, my risers, bridle, bag, and hair wrapped around my right reserve steering toggle 2 or 3 times. By the way, it was Karl's first save...

I was so busy with that mess, I forgot to pay attention to my handles. I eventually had the thought "Did I keep my handles?" I saw that I did, and I put them both in my left hand, and released my left toggle to steer toward the DZ. I was over the SW intersection with many obstacles. I put the left toggle in my teeth to fly straight back to the DZ. I worked on the right toggle and got it out around 300 feet. My landing was pretty uneventful, and Karl quickly realized what happened, and came over to help untangle my main-reserve-hair entanglement. Unfortunately I didn't have time to watch my free bag, and the monster corn field has swallowed it.

My hair still hurts quite a bit, but mostly I'm grateful.. I know I'm lucky to be here.
I made two jumps Sunday. My helmet was a bit painful, but it felt good to be in the air.

What is to be learned? Tuck your hair, every single time, and be sure it will not come out."

Posted on dropzone.com

31 August 2009

Hi JSC members,

The following message comes from one of our members regarding her recent malfunction and the correct use of an AAD...

Blue skies,
Kevin


"Hi All,

I'd like to share an experience that I had a few weeks ago with you. Please read this as a warning to be vigilant about how well you know and understand the equipment that you're using, as well as a reminder to always check your gear with 100% certainty before you jump anywhere. My mistake was ignorance in this regard – and it's a risky lesson to learn the hard way.

This is my best account of what I understand happened. Prior to the incident described below, I had spent a weekend at JSC doing jumps and using my Vigil. After my jumps, I didn't switch my Vigil off, but rather left it to do it itself in the 14 hours that it takes to shut itself down (this is often advised as it saves on battery power). I retuned to Johannesburg with my gear that evening, and because Joburg is higher than JSC by about 800ft, the Vigil wasn't returned to it's 'zero' / ground altitude, hence it didn't switch off after the supposed 14 hours.

Without me realising it, this piece of my equipment had stayed on all the time in Joburg. I then flew down to George (which is of course at sea level) the following Friday to jump at Mossel Bay on the Saturday morning. On my arrival at the DZ, I gave my gear to the on duty safety officer as required for checking. When I received my gear back, I went to switch my Vigil on and realised it was already switched on. I wrongly assumed that this had been done during the safety check and thus didn't think any more of it.

During my jump, my Vigil fired high (at around 4000ft – the same time as I deployed my main) and I ended up in a situation with two out. After assessing the situation I made the decision to cut away my main and safely land my reserve. In hindsight, possibly this was not the best decision, however the fact that I'm still alive and able to walk away having learnt something from the experience means that I'm more than happy with the decision I made at the time and in those few moments that I had to actually think about it.

What I do want to enforce on everyone reading this message is the importance of resetting your AAD, if you have one, every time you arrive at a DZ and then switching it off once you are done jumping. If you arrive at a DZ and your AAD is on, and you have no recollection of switching it on yourself, rather shut it down and then switch it back on for your own peace of mind.

Below is the official statement from Vigil as published in the latest Toggle Times (www.pasamembers.co.za)

Blue skies and safe skydiving,
Siobhan"


Vigil (A.A.D. sa) wishes to remind all users to switch off your Vigil after jumping, before leaving the DZ with your gear. Especially when there is an altitude difference of more than 150ft or 45m between the DZ and the place you are travelling to. If you forget to do this, please check your Vigil AAD before starting to jump next time:

• If the unit is off, simply switch it on.

• In case the unit should still be on, it is NECESSARY to first switch it off, and then start it back up again. This way, the unit will find its correct ground zero reference again. This is only valid if you forget to switch off your Vigil before travelling with your gear, or if you land on a different DZ than the one you have taken off from

** If you stay jumping at the same DZ and leave your gear there, you don't have to switch off your unit. Your Vigil will automatically switch off after 14 hours. For more detailed information on this subject, you can consult your Vigil User's Manual at pages: 4, 8, 15, 18, 19, 20, 21 and 22 of which you can always download the latest version at www.vigil.aero/downloads

The Vigil team

Published in the latest Toggle Times
(www.pasamembers.co.za)

18 August 2009

Hi JSC members,

Safety is an ongoing thing and a couple of bad habits have begun to creep in of late. So just to reiterate some of the basics:

  1. We always board the aircraft from the rear, never from the front.
  2. On takeoff helmets MUST be worn and secured. Putting a helmet on your head without fastening it is a potential killer. There has been a documented incident where a skydive aircraft crashed on takeoff and an unsecured helmet became a projectile and killed another jumper in the aircraft. Enough said!
  3. Seat belts MUST be worn for takeoff.

When flying a canopy over the runway, remember the following:

  1. If you are lower than 1000 feet and are on the far side of the runway, then you land on the far side of the runway.
  2. If you have to fly your canopy over the runway, fly over the middle of the runway, that would be more or less over boarding point.

Lets keep it safe out there.

Blue skies,
Kevin  

14 July 2009

Hi JSC members,

The topic of wing loading comes up pretty often and for our newer members this is how it is defined:

Wing loading is calculated as your total exit weight in pounds divided by the size of your canopy. It is very important to know that any jumper with less than 100 jumps, and who does not have a B licence, may not exceed a wing loading of 1.0

OK so how is it calculated? Say you weigh 70kg, that is 70*2.2 = 154 pounds. Add the weight of your gear, 25 pounds, that gives an exit weight of 154+25 = 179 pounds. That means that the smallest canopy you may jump is a 179. Nothing smaller than that until minimum 100 jumps plus B licence.

See the table below which is self explanatory. If anyone has any queries, feel free to contact me. Please also note that no downsizing is allowed without permission from the CI.

Blue skies,
Kevin

Jumper
weight (kg)
Jumper
weight (lbs)
Gear
weight (lbs)
Exit
weight (lbs)
Min canopy size allowed (ft2)
50
110
25
135
135
55
121
25
146
146
60
132
25
157
157
65
143
25
168
168
70
154
25
179
179
75
165
25
190
190
80
176
30
206
206
85
187
30
217
217
90
198
30
228
228
95
209
30
239
239
100
220
30
250
250

1 June 2009

Hi JSC members,

Just a quick reminder about certain club rules which must be adhered to at all times:

1. Flying a canopy over the runway

If you are in the situation where you are under open canopy on the far side of the runway, and need to fly over the runway to get back to the landing area then make sure that you fly over the centre of the runway and not over the ends of the runway. This should be obvious – we have approaching aircraft. The PAC takes about half a runway length to land so if you fly over the middle it would have landed safely with no errant canopies on its landing approach.

2. Spiralling a canopy

This is forbidden. We sometimes have up to 14 canopies in the sky at a time and when you spiral you cannot see what is behind you. It is a recipe for disaster. The only exception to this rule is for tandems. Tandems always open up much higher than the rest and invariably there is no traffic around for the tandem master to be concerned about.

3. Use of audible altis

There was some controversy this weekend regarding the use of audible altis on Atmonauti jumps. The existing documentation requires that at least 50% of all jumpers on a big way Atmonauti jump wear audible altis. This is up for review. Club rule is that ALL jumpers doing Atmonauti jumps must have audible altis.

Cheers for now,
Kevin

25 May 2009

Hi JSC members,

By now you all know that we had our AGM 2 weeks ago and a new Committee is in place. Thanks to Pottie for doing such a great job as Chairman of JSC and I am confident that this year JSC is going to rock!!! We have a really great, strong and motivated Committee and things are going to happen this year. For the last year Bev did a sterling job as CI and thanks Bev for your efforts. Well done.

Yours truly is once again CI and as always I am looking forward to the challenge and keeping JSC as one of the safest DZ's in the business. This cannot be done by one individual alone but I depend on the input of every JSC member to make a contribution to safety, keeping your eyes and ears open on the DZ and reporting any incident which you may consider to be unsafe. We are collectively one big team and need to work as such. Please do not be afraid to let me know if you see or are aware of any unsafe practices that might happen at our DZ. I cannot police the whole thing on my own! I rely on your support.

We had a very constructive Instructor meeting last Tuesday, there is lots of motivation there and believe me all the JSC Instructors and Jumpmasters are out there to help our members and up and coming skydivers.

Congratulations to our 4 newest Jumpmasters who have just successfully completed the J/M course. Agniezska, Brando, Neil and Jarrod. I think that they will all testify that the course was quite tough and that they were put through their paces. Once again all because we want to keep our DZ safe. We have high standards and will not compromise on that. Special mention must be made for Neil. Neil just turned a youthful 60 years young, has a false leg and came through the J/M course with flying colours. Well done Neil. If that is not an inspiration to the rest of us then I do not know what is.

Finally my most hated word. Waivers. I only took over from Bev last week and already have had a few requests from a few members requesting waivers on certain parts of the MOPs and certain parts of the club rules. The answer is a big NO. No waivers will be given in any way at all. Do the stuff, meet with all the requirements and you will be welcomed with open arms. Please do not expect any special treatment to be given concession for something that you are not qualified to do (e.g. jumping with a tandem without the necessary jump numbers, landing in the PRO rated area without the requirements, etc)

Lets keep it safe out there,
Kevin

 
 
 
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