JSC Johannesburg Skydiving Club
JSC Johannesburg Skydiving Club
JSC has received the Lilizela Tourism Award for Visitor Experience in the Action & Adventure category - two years in a row!!



Chief Instructor's Column (archive)

September 2011 — December 2012

13 December 2012

Hi JSC members,

Wow! Another year comes to an end. It was great to have some good skydives this weekend with the weather holding out until Sunday around midday.

On Friday we had some big way jumps and it must be said a big thanks to Simba for sharing his experience with us. The jumps were not that successful and it just goes to show that you cannot just put 16 randem okes together and hope for a 16 way to happen and be successful. Having said that I believe everyone learnt from the jumps. We will be hosting big way camps in the future but then everyone who is interested must make a full weekend of it, starting from the Friday afternoon going through to Sunday afternoon. And the jumps will be progressive, starting conservatively and going bigger as the weekend progresses. Once again thanks Simba.

I say the same thing every year around this time. The weather is hot, air is thin and there is no wind to speak of. As a result the landings are fast! Please be aware of this and make sure that your landing plans are adjusted accordingly.

And then I wish to extend a very big thanks to all the staff who have helped keep JSC a safe place to jump at. Thanks for all your efforts everyone concerned. We ran a Jumpmaster of the Year competition this year for the Jumpmaster who has consistently worked very hard and put a lot of effort into the club and into training students. Congratulations to Rhett who won the prize which is a brand new canopy from Aerodyne. This is the first time the competition was held and is going to be an annual event.

Aerodyne have committed their sponsorship for the forseeable future. It must also be said that it was touch and go between Rhett and Monkey Boy and I actually did not know who to choose. MonkeyBoy very graciously stood down because he said that he does not need another canopy! Nice one Sean and thanks to you guys for your unselfish dedicated hard work. (more info about the competition criteria)

I will be at the DZ this weekend but let me take the opportunity of wishing everyone everything of the best for the festive season and those who are jumping at J Bay keep it safe and have fun!


7 November 2012

Hi all,

This is just a heads up. We had an interesting scenario on the weekend.  One of our club members has just completed 25 jumps and applied for his A licence. When I checked the logbook he had only done 4 ISP jumps. Levels 1 and 2 were consolidated into 1 jump, levels 3 and 4 were consolidated into 1 jump etc. I queried this with him as well Monkey Boy, who did the coaching jumps with him.

The reply was that he has done a lot of wind tunnel time and that his freefall skills are obviously very advanced for his limited jump numbers. He passed the jumps with ease.  Monkey Boy told me that this was some sort of “waiver” from SSA that this could be done. Let us be perfectly clear here that Monkey Boy was given the incorrect information and he acted on that in good faith.

I then had a lengthy conversation with the NSTO and the bottom line is that it is NOT permitted to consolidate jumps on the ISP or Cat 2 programme. While doing ISP the jumper is still a student and the programme must include: 7 exits, 7 skydives, 7 canopy controls and 7 landings = 7 jumps. No 2 jumps on the programme may be consolidated into 1 jump.  Please also see the reply below from PASA.

Coaches and Jumpmasters remember that this is a legal thing. If there is an incident involving a student the first thing that happens is an investigation and the logbook is checked. If we have been seen to be bending the rules then all hell will break loose for JSC. Let us also be clear that this applies to visiting jumpers, who we do have from time to time.

I have said so many times before – The job of the CI is not to make the rules but to enforce them. So please no requests for consolidating jumps on either of these programmes, no matter how much tunnel time the student may have accumulated.

Blue skies,

The updated MOPs FS Section 6 has the following provision for the Cat II jumps:

Jumps 1-5 may be completed in a wind tunnel with the holder of a current FS coach rating, provided video evidence of the jumps is retained, but jumps 6 and 7 must be completed on skydives with the holder of a current FS coach rating.

This does not apply to the ISP jumps.

30 October 2012

Hi JSC skydivers,

Back to normal operations again now that the PAC is up and flying again. Wow! We do not realize how spoiled we are with such an awesome aircraft until you have to jump out of something else. All credit must go to the PAC partnership for getting BLU ready in time for the Soul Flyers festival last week. The engineers worked on BLU until 3.00am on Thursday morning to have her ready for first load a few hours later. Thanks guys!

The subject of downsizing comes up time and again so it is worthwhile repeating. The rule is that nobody may exceed a wingloading of 1.0 until you have a B licence AND at least 100 jumps. Not negotiable. I have had so many queries along the lines of “my main canopy is a 170 which meets the 1.0 wingloading rule, but Ok I have a 150 reserve.”  Ahem not permitted. I have seen more than 1 person hurt himself/herself after having a cutaway then realizing that they are now flying a reserve canopy with a wingloading that they are not used to. It is stressful to have a chop, you inevitably do not have the luxury of much altitude to see how the rerserve flies and then you are now under a canopy with an unfamiliar wingloading and unfamiliar flying characteristics.

Bottom line is that both the main and reserve must be under the 1.0 wingloading if you fall into this category. If the 1oading is 1.01 or anything exceeding 1.000000000000 you will not be permitted to jump that gear.

Which brings me to the next point. If you are considering buying your first rig – please consult with one of the Instructors first before just going out and buying what you think is acceptable.  We all have the necessary experience and knowledge to give you the correct advice.

Chief Instructor

3 October 2012

Hi JSC members,

Well things have slowed down a bit with the PAC out of operation, however that is only temporary. She will be back in action soon.

It was very rewarding last weekend to see a number of progression students coming to JSC and jumping out of NKH, the Cessna. New aircraft, different exit and everyone can only learn from it. Also, it is important to keep currency so please come along!

We have a couple of intermediate jumpers who are progressing very well through the system, thinking of Braam and Gerhard, who both will be doing the jumpmaster course soon. No dates have been set, but anyone who is keen on becoming a Jumpmaster please contact me at the DZ and I will give you the lowdown. All that is needed is a B licence and 150 jumps and you qualify.

I also want to remind everyone that we are running a Jumpmaster of the year competition, which is going to be done annually, and the winner gets a brand new canopy from Aerodyne. Good incentive!

Click here for more info on this competition

See you all at the DZ!

Chief Instructor

26 September 2012

Hi all,

For those who are possibly not aware of the situation, the PAC will be down for the next 2 to 3 weeks. We had lots of fun jumping out of the Cessna, NKH, this weekend but operations were slowed down somewhat because the Cessna dose not have the same capacity as the PAC.

Anyway, all credit to our aircraft operators, Norman and Brendan, who have arranged for a caravan for the next few weeks until the PAC is back in the sky. Now, a Caravan is not configured for Progression students, but we will still have NKH running and this will be solely dedicated for the Progression students. So, get along to JSC, there is going to be more than enough lift capacity for the next few weeks! Guaranteed everyone will be catered for.

On another note, do not leave/store your gear in a black plastic rubbish bag! I have a canopy which was loose and placed in one of these bags, lying next to my other gear. I always park at the same place when jumping. Anyway, I went up in the air and only to find when I landed  that my bag was gone. I thought my canopy had been stolen! Went to the rubbish deposit area and found the canopy still in the bag there with all the other rubbish. The one cleaner assumed that the bag was full of rubbish and he diligently placed it on the dump! Lesson learnt!!!!!!!!!

Blue skies

22 August 2012

Hi all,

Been a few very quiet weeks thanks to the weather but things are definitely picking up!

We had a great weekend last weekend and I believe a lot of students/ intermediate jumpers learnt a lot. The wind was blowing at a constant 15 knots and was very clean with no turbulence. The decision was made on Saturday to let everyone jump. Students were given proper wind jump briefings and all went well and we had a weekend with safe skydiving and no incidents. Rest assured we will not let any juniors/students jump if the weather conditions do not allow it.

The point is if you are going to stay in the sport then you need to learn to adapt to the conditions.  In “relatively” strong wind conditions on Saturday everyone had a great time!

There were also some notable achievements including 3 first freefallers. Well done everyone! Thanks also to Monkeyboy for doing a sterling job as DJM for the whole weekend.

Blue skies

Win a brand new Aerodyne canopy!

31 July 2012

Hi JSC members,

OK so the negotiations are now complete and we are going to have a “Jumpmaster of the year” competition with a fantastic prize.

The objectives of this competition are many, so let me list them and the requirements:

The winning J/M will be the person who has promoted and graduated the most Progression students through the system between 1 July and the end of this year

That same J/M must have done some DJM duty during the year

The idea of the competition is actually to promote our sport and to have our up-and-coming Jumpmasters encouraging our students, and more importantly mentoring them through the programme.  The Progression course, although it is a very well tried and tested system, can be impersonal at a place like JSC. So we have decided that every Jumpmaster who is interested will take ownership of the students and take them through the mentorship system.

The prize for the winning Jumpmaster will be a brand new canopy, thanks to the kind sponsorship of Aerodyne. This will be done annually. 

I see this as having two major benefits. Firstly, we hope this encourages all our J/M’s to become involved and to mentor as many students as possible. And to make our environment much more friendly and less impersonal than it has been in the past. We already have a couple of J/M’s who are becoming very enthusiastically involved and who have “their” protégés.

Secondly, new skydiving gear is not cheap. To all the upcoming jumpers out there, you only need 150 jumps plus a B licence to qualify for a Jumpmaster rating. I hope this will motivate as many people as possible to become Jumpmasters. We hold at least one course per year. Once you have that you are eligible to keep the big wheel turning and be part of the competition and just help to make our club grow! And win a brand new canopy as part of the deal.

Blue Skies

31 July 2012

Hi JSC members,

After the pretty lousy weather of late we had a fantastic weekend. 20 loads on Saturday and 16 on Sunday. Not so shabby!

All credit must go to the SSA for organizing the 4 way skills camp which went very well. We had a number of jumpers from other clubs and the reception we had was very good. No, actually JSC rocks! To top it off we had a really great party on Saturday night with 10 way a tequila speedstar competition. To Warren Dent – thanks buddy! You sure know how to organize a fun event. There were a few very sorry looking people on Sunday morning as a result of the competition but what the heck we had fun.

On the safety side, it was really pleasing to see almost everybody contributing, listening to what was said and flying good disciplined landing patterns and all landing in the same direction. Happy to report no incidents for the weekend, on what was one of our busiest weekends in a while. Well done all who participated.

One further safety issue which continues to be neglected. All helmets must be on for takeoff, in the event of an aircraft crash, and ALL HELMETS MUST BE PROPERLY SECURED. There was an incident in the USA a couple of years ago when a skydiving aircraft crashed on takeoff and one of the jumpers had his helmet on but it was not secured. On impact this helmet became a cannonball and killed one of the other jumpers in the aircraft. Fact.

Make sure your helmets are properly secured on takeoff.

Blue skies

24 July 2012

Hi JSC members,

Phew! The weather has not been so great lately so there has not been a lot of activity, and therefore not much to report. We had a great weekend last weekend for the first time in a while.

There were 2 incidents in the last 4 weeks relating to object fixation. When coming in to land, focus on the landing and nothing else. Do not become fixated with any of the other surroundings because all of a sudden the ground jumps up and bites you unexpectedly! Mother Africa does not yield 1 millimetre.

All was OK after the incidents but put these into your knowledge baskets and be aware on every landing. 

“The skydive is only over after you have landed safely.”

Blue skies

29 May 2012

The importance of gear checks

Hi JSC members,

Due to the fact that a lot of our members were at the Drakensberg boogie, we had a quiet weekend. The weather was great on both Saturday and Sunday. It is great to see some very enthusiastic students coming through the system and thanks as always to the duty staff who really make it happen for our students.

There was one incident this weekend, namely a reserve ride thanks to a total malfunction. The pilot chute bridle was incorrectly routed and there was no way it would have pulled the main canopy out of the container.  The jumper involved did his reserve drills correctly and in good time and landed safely without injury.

But the point of this column is:

Every single skydiver who has an A licence and above is responsible for checking his/her own gear prior to jumping. Not your packer.  There are plenty of skydivers out there who do not pack their own gear but rely on somebody else to pack their gear. That is your choice but it does not relieve you of the responsibility of doing a prejump check on your gear. In this instance the rig was packed by someone learning how to pack and was never checked. A simple pin check would have prevented this.

For those who do not pack their own gear, make sure that you know how to do a proper gear check prior to the jump.  If you do not know, please ask one of our Jumpmasters or Instructors to show you what to check.

BTW, we had a visiting jumper from Australia 2 weeks ago who is a novice with only 25 jumps. Obviously I gave him a thorough checkout beforehand but was very impressed to see him do a proper gear check, in my presence, before going up to do the jump. 

Gear check – what must be checked?

AAD switched on?
Cutaway cables correctly routed?
3 rings sitting one on top of the other?
     There must be metal on metal and you must be able to turn them
Pilot chute cocked?
Pilot chute bridle correctly routed?

Blue skies

22 May 2012

Hi all,

Yours truly has been away on business for a while but it is now back to normal. We had a truly stunning weekend on Saturday and Sunday and I am always glad to report an incident free weekend.

Thanks to Marco for organizing a very successful Atmo competition and thanks to everyone for generally sticking to the flying and landing patterns and keeping it safe. As I have said so many times before, the skydive is not over until you have landed safely on the ground. Stick to the flying and landing patterns and if you are not sure please ask one of the senior staff.

Those who were at the DZ the weekend will have noticed the duty staff are now wearing bright luminous vests to make them visible to everyone at the DZ. This was a Simba innovation and after one weekend is working very well. Thanks Simba! And no, the guys and girls wearing the bibs are not the car guards but you can happily give them a tip because they work very hard in the interests of everyone’s safety.

If ever there was an incentive to get a B licence how about this –
Tiger Moth and Microlight jumps
are being planned to take place at JSC soon. B licence and above only. Watch this space……

Blue skies

18 April 2012

A chain is only as strong as its weakest link!

Hi JSC members,

Well firstly we had a fantastic weekend both Saturday and Sunday and great weather right through. There were a number of achievements as well – well done to all concerned!

Skydiving is a very unforgiving sport when the soft and smelly stuff hits the fan. When things go wrong, it happens very quickly and the objective of this column is to look at a few incidents, see what happened and how they could have been prevented. This is going to be a long mail but please read it all the way through and learn from it.  So here we go:

1. Dislocated shoulder

This happened over the Easter weekend. Robbie exited the aircraft, his right shoulder popped out, dislocated, and he was unable to deploy his main.  Kept a very cool head and deployed his reserve with his left hand and landed safely whilst steering the canopy with both toggles in one hand.

After chatting with the person involved, he told me that he had a hard landing the day before and that his shoulder was dislocated on that day. He popped it back in, and proceeded to jump the following day. It is a fact that when a shoulder is dislocated, the ligaments and tendons holding it in place are stretched and it takes some time for recovery. This was clearly a weak spot and was found out the next day on a high speed exit. I have personally had a dislocated shoulder and can verify that for the first few days after the injury, it can pop out very easily and is extremely painful.

Having said all of that, Robbie handled the situation exceptionally well!

2. The ice skater

One of my first jump students a while back is a very petite lady who used to do ice skating and weighs in at 49kg. On her first jump, on a Skymaster 290, she did a perfect standup landing and promptly fell over and needed assistance. She ended up with a few broken bones in her foot.

When debriefing the whole thing, she stated that she used to do a lot of ice skating and that she had broken numerous bones in her feet during her ice skating career. Once again, this was obviously a weak point.

3. Influenza

Not going to say too much about this, other than to say that I personally know 3 skydivers who have burst their eardrums whilst skydiving with the flu. Enough said.

4. Shaving and skydiving

This is quite funny but was not at the time. It happened to yours truly.

One fine Saturday morning I had a shave before going to the DZ. Whilst shaving, I cut myself on the cheek and it was literally a pinprick and about 3 droplets of blood trickled out. No problem I thought. Made my way to the DZ and got onto a 4 way with some tjoms.  At about 6000ft, all of a sudden my right eye just went black and I swear I thought I was going blind. You should have seen the look on the other buddies faces! Man their eyes were bigger than saucers. Anyway, I waved off, tracked as far as I could and landed OK still convinced that I was blind in the right eye.

I removed my open face helmet and Flexvision goggles only to see that the front of the right hand side of the goggles was covered in dried blood.  The cut from the shaving was just below the line of the goggles.  Obviously my heart was pumping during the skydive, and this forced the blood out of that tiniest of cuts.

5. Conclusion

Having any form of injury/illness, no matter how small, is fine if you are sitting on the sofa having a beer but funny things happen at 200km/hr.  Please consider your physical condition before every skydive. It is cool and heroic to jump with any form of injury but be aware of the consequences.

“I would rather be down here wishing I was up there than be up there wishing I was down here.”

Blue skies

27 March 2012

Hi JSC members,

A great weekends was had by all with plenty happening.

Hughie Newman was at the DZ sharing his considerable skills and experience with our members on the big way skills training jumps. These were mostly 8 way formation skydives but some ended up being 5 and 6 ways. For those who don’t know Hughie, he has been skydiving for around 40 years and has in excess of 11,000 jumps.  It is really a pleasure to jump with someone of Hughie’s stature because one can learn an amazing amount.

We also had a Canopy Control Course under Gavin Green which was well attended and is going to be a regular feature in future. Anyone interested please contact Gavin directly on 083 459 4743 or .

Finally the Jumpmaster Course was successfully completed this weekend and congratulations to the following JSC members who put in a lot of effort and who all passed the tests:

Pam Turner
Scott Riddel
Ken Keller
Fritz Schoeman
Gary Meyer
– at last!

Well done to all of you and a big thanks to Norman and the PAC Partnership for contributing towards the cost of the course. Folks, it is a simple fact – the more Jumpmasters we have trained up, the more eyes and ears we have at the DZ and the safer the environment is for us all.

If there is sufficient interest we will hold another J/M course in August. A couple of candidates could not make it, but to those people – the precourse work you have all done thus far does not fall away but remains valid so it is that much less to do for the next course.

Blue Skies

20 March 2012

Hi JSC members,

Another good weekend was had by all. Unfortunately the wind was too strong for student jumping from about midday on Saturday but the teams and tandems kept things ticking over. Sunday was a blast with great weather and lots of student jumping. It is great for the club and the sport to see so many enthusiastic people coming through the ranks.

Thanks to all who jumped on the weekend for keeping it safe and incident free. In line with safety month, the Canopy Control Course has been rescheduled to this coming Saturday, 24 March under the watchful eye of Gavin Green. We will be scheduling these courses on demand and hope to run at least one course per month from now on.

In addition, the Jumpmaster Course starts on Wednesday, we have some really promising candidates so give them your support. They are going to be put through their paces on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday!

Guys and finally, a big thank you as always to our duty staff who do so much work on the ground to keep things safe and ticking over. These people deserve a pat on the back every weekend. Thanks to Marc on Saturday, Peter on Sunday and to Liz about 48 hours every day for her tireless efforts.

Blue Skies

13 March 2012

Hi JSC members,

We had a great weekend on Saturday and Sunday. In keeping with the push for safety during the month of March, harness training was done on Saturday. It was really encouraging to see a lot of senior skydivers coming to the party and redoing harness training and it was really done in fantastic spirit! Thanks to all the seniors for setting the example. Also thanks to everyone who jumped the weekend, and especially the duty staff, for helping keep it a safe, incident-free weekend.

Norman and the PAC partnership have very kindly come to the party with a R1000 sponsorship for the upcoming Jumpmaster course.  The candidates confirmed thus far are Scott, Pam, Ken and Gary, and hopefully Talia and John. So if there are 6 candidates the R1000 will be split between 6 = R167 per person and the cost of the course is then reduced by that amount. Let's all give Norman and the PAC partnership a thumps up for their support and for a fantastic gesture in promoting the development and safety in our sport.

Blue Skies

6 March 2012

Hi all,

We had a pretty good weekend that has just been although the wind snookered us on Sunday.

My thanks to all the duty staff who helped make our first weekend of Safety Month a success. A lot of gear checks were done, and some of the more finer points of equipment, equipment checks and equipment maintenance were handled. Safety Month goes through the whole of March and every weekend we will be covering different topics. Thanks to all for keeping it safe and having an incident-free weekend.

This coming weekend we will be holding the canopy control course which covers safe canopy flying and landing patterns. Gavin Green and Dian Kemp will be conducting the course. So this weekend will be all about safe canopy flying. Anyone interested in attending the course can call Gavin on 083 459 4743 or

Jumpmaster Course

The course is definitely on and will be held on 21, 24 and 25 March. Wednesday 21 March is a public holiday and will be held at my home in Benoni, commencing at 09h00 sharp.

The course kicks off with a very comprehensive test of the MOPs so make sure that you have done the studies. It will cover sections 2,3,13,15,17 and 18 of the MOPs. Please come prepared as the overall pass mark is 75%.

The cost of the course will be the same it has been for about the last 6 years — R800 per person. For logistical reasons, I need to know exactly who will be attending so will all candidates once again please confirm your attendance.

If anyone has any queries you can always or call me anytime on 083 275 5841.

Blue Skies

28 February 2012

Hi JSC members,

Well a quiet weekend was had by all, thanks mainly due to the weather. Did 12 loads on Saturday and then the rain came down, very suddenly and in buckets! The result was that there was not an opportunity to tow the PAC back to the hangar and she took in a lot of water into the engine compartment. Some components got wet and this affected her performance on Sunday. As a precautionary measure it was decided to can Sunday's jumping for safety reasons. Well done to Jethran the pilot for keeping a cool head and making the right decisions.

Jumpmaster Course

Most of the candidates have requested that the course be held on 23, 24 and 25 March. Another suggestion was made on the weekend which makes some good sense. We can have the first day of the course on Wednesday 21 March, which is a public holiday and we can do it in Jhb, so no need to travel through to the DZ. The candidates I spoke to are happy with this and we can do it at my home in Benoni. I will send out a programme in the next week.

Safety Month

In skydiving worldwide, March is safety month and we all should make an effort to promote safety and be extra safety aware. You will see posters up on the notice boards advertising safety month. Please read them and do not be afraid to ask questions!

Canopy Control Course

As part of safety month we will be holding a canopy control course being run by Gav Green. Worldwide in skydiving, more incidents are now happening due to canopy collisions and canopy related problems than any other cause. Remember: The skydive is not over until you have landed safely on the ground. Proper and safe canopy management is essential and hence the need for training in this area.

I now hand over to Gavin who describes the reasons for safe canopy flying and basic survival: 

BTW the first canopy control course is scheduled for 10 March.
Please liase with Gavin for bookings (his details below).

Blue skies,

Do you know why a parachute collapses? Has yours ever collapsed unexpectedly and if so did you know what to do about it? Can you answer the question "what is a low turn for you?". Can you safely turn, close to the ground, to avoid hitting a person who has run in front of you and still land on your feet? Can you consistently land in the same area jump after jump? Do you know how you should be able to fly your canopy BEFORE you downsize? Do you still feel nervous about your landings even though you have a good few jumps in your log book? Do you know what a good landing should look and feel like? Can you do it jump after jump, not just by accident?

Lots of questions here! Do you know the answers? If you don't but would like to learn more and really understand your parachute, what it does, how to make it do what you want and to enjoy your landings then join the canopy control course at JSC.
The course covers all of this in simple English and includes practical jumps with filmed landings and a full debrief for each jump.

For more info contact Gavin Green directly by or call 083 459 4743.

13 February 2012

Hi JSC members,

After a slow start we had a pretty good weekend both Saturday and Sunday. The weather was good and plenty of fun was had by all. Just a few points for everyone concerned to take note of:

First Jump Training

We are holding first jump courses every second week, for those of you who might be recruiting any friends. Dates for the next month are:

  1. 18 February
  2. 3 March
  3. 17 March
  4. 31 March

The weekend after 31 March is 7/8 April which is Easter which probably means a lot of people will be away, so no course that weekend.

Camera Flying

More and more people are starting to use GoPro cameras. There are no objections to this but remember that a GoPro, no matter what size, is still a camera and the MOPs must be adhered to before using any camera. In addition:

1. Before using a GoPro you must be given a camera briefing by one of the senior camerapeople;

2. ALL camera helmets, including helmets fitted for GoPros, MUST have a cutaway system. You can speak to Papa Roy about this.

Jumpmaster Course

I sent out a mail at the beginning of the year to which there have only been 2 replies. Will ALL the candidate J/M's please contact me personally and let me know where you stand in terms of the precourse requirements. All requirements must be done and signed off before we can set a date for the course.  In terms of the requirements, there are 2 deviations which are:

1. Test
The requirements state that you must have done the C licence test. The course itself kicks off with a very comprehensive test on the MOPs so please come prepared. The minimum pass mark is 75%.

2. Jump numbers
One or two candidates may not have the minimum 150 jumps required as per the MOPs. No problem – come and do the course and you will remain on probation and do all work under supervision until such time that you have the jump numbers and can then apply for the rating.

3. All other precourse requirements are as per the MOPs and must be completed and signed off.

Blue skies,

8 February 2012

Hi JSC members,

We had a good weekend this weekend and there are only 2 safety tips for the week:

1. Fly your landing patterns. Everyone should stick to the landing patterns and should be landing in the same direction, following the first person down.

2. A good track is non-negotiable and the end of a 2, 3, 4 or any big way skydive. The objective of tracking is to obtain maximum separation between jumpers on deployment. With maximum separation, potential canopy collisions can be avoided. Remember – we are all in control of ourselves during freefall, which means that we can move backwards, sideways, forwards to avoid potential collisions in freefall. We are also always in control once the canopy has been fully deployed. By that I mean we can fly half brakes, use risers or any other skill needed to avoid a collision under canopy. We are not in full control for the 2 or 3 seconds whilst the canopy is deploying and if anyone is too close to you, in the same situation, i.e. a deploying canopy, it could result in a collision.

If you are in a 2, 3, 4 or other big way, be aware of who is on the jump, know what each of the jumpers' canopies look like, count the canopies that were in your formation whilst in the air and look out for them.

Remember, the skydive is only over once you have landed safely, not after you you have been in a brilliant big way and then have forgetten to track away afterwards.

Blue skies,

31 January 2012

Hi JSC members,

Saturday started off well but the weather shut us down after about 12 loads, and the same on Sunday. I have some observations from the weekend which all must be made aware of:

Landing areas and landing patterns

We have 3 distinct landing areas at JSC, namely:

1. The student and intermediate area which starts from the beer line and extends westwards until the runway;

2. The pro rated area which goes from the beer line to the shrubs just in front of the clubhouse, canteen and bush pub. Only pro rated jumpers, or those jumpers who have done the 10 qualifying jumps for a pro rating (and signed off) can land there. When approaching landing in the pro or intermediate area, the maximum turn permitted is a 90 degree turn. Anything more than that must go to the swoop pond.

3. The swoop pond which is exclusively for those jumpers doing high performance landings.

I stress that each group must stay over their own area and not encroach either of the other 2 areas. So pro rated and intermediates may not set up for landing over the swoop pond or intermediate area, swoopers may not set up over the pro area or the intermediate area and intermediates must not set up or approach landings from over the pro area or swoop pond, etc. Worldwide there have been a number of canopy collisions and that usually results in 1 or 2 fatalities. Stick to your area and fly the landing patterns with discipline. If you are not sure about landing patterns ask one of the instructors.

Canopy control course

We will be holding canopy control courses for beginners and intermediate jumpers, starting within the next month. A couple of years back these were successfully done by Gavin Green and he will be assisted by Dian Kemp. It consists of a theory module then 4 or 5 jumps, each with specific canopy tasks. It is worthwhile attending. Once the dates are finalised I will put a notice on the listserve.

Landing incidents

We had an incident on Sunday where a student turned really low and came out of the turn at about 2 to 3 feet above the ground and he impacted the ground without having enough time to flare. Injured lower back. The point that I am bringing this up is that soon after the incident we had every man and his dog on the DZ gathering around the injured student, all apparently trying to offer assistance. Please leave this task to the duty staff only, they know what procedures to follow. It must also be very traumatic for an injured person lying on the ground to be surrounded by hundreds of curious onlookers.

Blue skies and keep it safe,

19 January 2012

Hi JSC members,

There is not too much to report following the weekend's activities. Rain delayed us on Saturday but a good day was had on Sunday. I am always pleased when we have an incident free weekend and thanks to all those who jumped last weekend and contributed to keeping it safe.

The Jumpmaster Course is now scheduled for the last weekend in February as most of the candidates are not yet complete with the precourse requirements. So let's get the precourse stuff out the way and we will do the course. It is a strict precondition that all the precourse requirements must have been done and signed off otherwise you will not be permitted to attend.

Next, will everyone reading this mail please reply to me with your jump numbers and do you have an AAD or not. Those people using club gear just reply with "club gear" This is an annual survey which we are required to complete and submit to the NSTO.

Finally, the landing patterns have not changed. That is, if you want to land in the general landing area – no more than a 90 degree turn on finals, everyone landing in the general landing area follows the first person down and high performance landings may only be done at the swoop pond.

Blue skies,

20 December 2011

Hi JSC members,

So this is the last CI column for the year and what a way to finish off! We had an absolute blast on the weekend jumping Friday through to Sunday with perfect weather all the way. The party on Saturday night was also a gas and the whole vibe at the club is just rocking. Things are really looking positive for the New Year.

I want to thank the duty staff for working their butts off this weekend and helping to keep a very busy weekend incident free. Thanks guys.

Having said that, there was one close call where two jumpers almost collided under canopy because they were coming in for landing at right angles to each other.  We set out the landing rules recently and nothing has changed:

  • No more that a 90 degree turn on final approach. Everyone landing in the general landing area must follow the direction of the first person down who is landing in the general landing area. 

Two people had very noteworthy achievements on the weekend:

  • Well done to Liz Cooper on your 1000th jump!

Congrats to Papa Roy for being made an honorary member of JSC – this is truly deserved and probably long overdue.

Apart from that I have nothing further to report apart from saying a big thank you to the duty staff and all our service providers who continually do such a great job. The year closed on a very positive, high note and we can only build on this next year. I am really excited about the future for JSC. 

Everyone have a great festive season, those who are going the J-Bay keep it safe, drive safely and we will see you all on the 7th of January when the club reopens.

Blue Skies

13 December 2011

Hi JSC members,

Back in the land of the living once again after my daughter's wedding and other fun stuff! Firstly, thanks to Papa Roy and Ralph for taking control while I was away. Thanks guys.

Unfortunately the weather prevented us from doing the night jumps on Saturday but I am definitely looking at a date to do this very early in the new year. Watch this space!

I have committed to running a Jumpmaster course at the end of January. The one condition is that all the precourse requirements must have been completed and I am not sure that this is progressing that well. Will all candidates please call me or email me or contact me at the DZ so that I can review your progress. We always need new blood on the DZ and we must make this one happen.

Blue Skies

7 November 2011

Hi Skydivers,

I am not going to reinvent the wheel and repeat what Pottie has already said about the awesome weekend we have just had! Plenty jumps were done, we had a lot of visiting jumpers and a good time was had by all. Thanks to Taya and Jeff for sharing their considerable skills and wingsuiting experience with us. And on a lighter note we had young Ethan van der Merwe (Dave and Yvette's 7 week old little guy) kit up in a wingsuit! He looked pretty cool and should be good to go soon.

Just a heads up on the following:


On takeoff everyone in the aircraft must hook up to a safety belt and everyone, Monkey Boy included, must have their helmets on and properly fastened. The reason for this is simple – to prevent/minimise injuries in the event of an aircraft crash on takeoff. The safety belts will prevent all those in the aircraft from being squashed against each other on impact and a secure helmet speaks for itself. There was an incident some years ago where an aircraft with a load of skydivers crashed on takeoff and one of the jumpers had a helmet on, without being secured. On impact this helmet literally became a cannonball, flew off the guys head and killed another jumper in the aircraft. Say no more.

The landing patterns are working well and it was very encouraging to see everyone following the first jumper in and all landing in the same direction. Well done and thanks to all for keeping it safe this weekend.

Upcoming Events

Night jumps at Potchefstroom on 10 December. Night jumps are always a lot of fun, and not only a licence requirement. I will put out all the details a little closer to the time.

Jumpmaster course – last weekend January 2012. All candidates must have completed the precourse requirements in order to be eligible for the course. There is not much time left to do this so just go out and do it!

Blue skies,

17 October 2011

Hi all,

We had a good weekend and as always lots of fun was had by all. In the last week I did have some very constructive debate with the Instructor Body regarding cameras and camera flying. Thanks to all who took part in the discussion.

Bottom line is that what is in the MOPs is what we must stick to. Any camera, no matter how small, which is mounted on top or on the side of a helmet is considered as an "obstacle" and that helmet must be fitted with a cutaway system. If a camera flyer has a malfunction, the chances are that the lines/risers of the main canopy will get snagged with the camera and therefore the need to have a cutaway system for the helmet.

As per my last mail, anyone doing camera jumps for the first time must be given the proper briefing and this must be recorded in the logbook and signed off by the CI. 

On another note – no equipment lasts forever. One of our up-and-coming skydivers was jumping a very old and very unstable canopy and this nearly did him in on the landing. The turbulence was bad and I had the same thing about 13 years ago when I first started skydiving. Nearly crashed into the ground because of old equipment. A new canopy is going to cost around R10 000 but will last you for at least 800 jumps, which is a lot of jumping.

Our lives depend on the equipment we are using – do not skimp!!

Blue Skies

5 October 2011

Hi Skydivers,

Thanks to the lousy weather not much happened this weekend. The wind was pumping on Saturday so the only jumping that took place was seniors and tandems. On Sunday, we did not even bother to take BLU out the hangar.


I did set the dates for the J/M course for 2, 3 and 4 December. I must apologise but family commitments will prevent me from being at the DZ that weekend so it cannot take place then.

Please also remember that all the precourse requirements MUST be completed to be permitted to attend the course. At the rate that some of the candidates are going, I do not see that 1, maybe 2 people will be ready by then.

OK so, abf (absolute bloody final) dates for the course will now be 27, 28 and 29 January 2012. Given that there is a break in between, the delay is effectively only a couple of weeks.

Study Material:

The course kicks off with a written exam on the following sections of the MOPs:

  • Section 2 Basic Safety Requirements
  • Section 3 Student Training
  • Section 10 Camerapersons
  • Section 12 Pro Ratings
  • Section 13 Extraordinary Activities
  • Sextion 14 Wingsuits
  • Section 15 Jumpmaster Course Outline
  • Section 17 DZ Operating Procedures

If any of the candidates have any queries please . Do your studies and get all the precourse requirements done!

Blue Skies

27 September 2011

Hi Skydivers,

We had a very quiet Saturday – one load only due to the bad weather but Sunday was pretty busy with a lot of student activity. Once again, no incidents so my thanks to all those who jumped and kept it safe.

A national CI seminar was held 2 weeks ago where all the CI's of all the clubs in SA got together under the chair of the NSTO. A number of topics were discussed but one of the things that came out very strongly is that the logbook still remains king. Logbooks should not only be used for recording jumps, but each and every step in a skydiver's progression must be recorded and signed off in his/her logbook. Some examples:

If you downsize, you must be given a briefing by a senior and that briefing must be signed off in your logbook

Ditto for if you want to start camera jumping

If you become uncurrent and have had refresher training, that must also be recorded in the logbook

The reason for this is not to play policeman, but rather to ensure that the person involved is properly trained before stepping into the unknown, such as a downsize, without being given the proper tools to deal with that new situation. It all comes down to our commitment to your safety.

Blue skies,

20 September 2011

Hi Skydivers,

Not too much to report after this last weekend. There were plenty tandems, a few fun jumpers and also some student activity. Thanks to all who jumped this weekend and who all contributed to another incident free weekend. The weather has been great so there is no reason not to skydive!

As I said in an earlier mail there are some fun events being planned which will be announced soon. Chopper jumps and hot air balloon jumps are being arranged and confirmed for October and November, and night jumps are planned for 19 December.

Watch this space!

Blue skies,

13 September 2011

Hi JSC members

We had a fantastic weekend this one that has just gone and things are definitely picking up, with 22 loads being done on Saturday. The weather was great.

On the safety side, I must compliment everyone who jumped on Saturday.  The whole day, and without exception, everyone flew the correct landing patterns and direction so everyone contributed to a safe, fun and incident free day. And the big thing about this, is that it is not that difficult to fly your canopy with discipline and follow what all the other canopies in the air are doing. Well done and thanks once again to all Saturday's skydivers.

On the skills develpoment side we had 2 teams doing big way skills training with Tim and Simba. It was a great success and all who took part said that they learnt a great deal.

As far as the fun stuff went, there was a naked load on the last load and congrats to Blair and Talia on their 100th! Of course our perennial naked jumper Warren took part as well and rumour has it that he might one day do a jump fully clothed. That would be a change.

We have lots of fun events being planned before the year end, including balloon jumps, chopper jumps and night jumps. The dates will all be confirmed in the next week.

Finally, we will be holding a Jumpmaster Certification Course on the weekend of 2, 3 and 4 December. All potential J/M's please ensure your precourse work is completed and anyone who has a query with this, please contact me directly.

Blue skies,

6 September 2011

Hi JSC skydivers

The summer is here and it is time to have fun! On a much more serious note, JSC will be following worldwide trends with regards landing patterns and landing areas although I stress that we have already put most of these rules in place, they just need to be more strictly enforced.

So, following the Instructor meeting last week, it was agreed that the landing patterns and landing areas are as follows:

  1. Pro rated area – that is the area between the clubhouse and the beer line. Landing directions will be either clubhouse right or clubhouse left, no exceptions. If anyone who has a pro rating and who chooses not to land in either of one of these directions then he/she must land in the general landing area, in accordance with the wind direction.

  2. General landing area – the other side of the beer line. First person down sets the landing direction and everyone else follows in that same direction. We are in the process of having a big arrow fabricated which the SO will place on the ground which will be very visible from altitude which will show the landing direction. There have been too many cases recently of people coming in from all directions and this is an accident waiting to happen.

  3. High performance/high speed landings – anyone wanting to execute anything more than a 90 degree turn for the purposes of building up speed for a swoop landing must do so at the Pond. Any more than a 90 degree turn is not permitted when landing either on the Pro area or General area.

We only put these rules in place after the meeting on Thursday night and so far it worked out well last weekend. I also want to stress that any new rules that are introduced are done only for all your safety in mind.

Thanks for the cooperation thus far and let's keep JSC one of the safest dropzones in the business.

Blue Skies,

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