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Small Format Camera Incident

It is with a sad tone I make this post. Kylie “Buffy” Tanti died in a BASE jump in Malaysia off the Alor Setar tower Sept 28th, 2010. BSBD :(

Reports are saying that it was related to a bridle entanglement on her GoPro camera mounted on her helmet that she was unable to clear in time.

World News Australia, Source: AAP (no longer valid link)

An excerpt from a first hand report posted on

her exit was a little head low. she hold her pilot tight and totally closed in her hand. she pitched after half a second. The pitch was firm, but a little low.
Her bridle entangled (about 60 cm below the pilot) her gopro, what was attached on her helmet. she tried to fight it off, but was too late. her canopy was inflating on the moment of impact.
the combination of the low height (for incidents as this), the head low, the pitch, wind and the gopro became fatal.

Please take a moment everyone to reflect on your camera flying gear and usage. There have been a lot of discussions surrounding small format cameras and how they should be treated. I hope this incident at the very least is a wake up call to anyone who is in a state of delusion that these small format cameras pose any less of a snag hazard than their bigger rivals.

How many times have you heard “…the GoPro mount will snap if snagged…”, it didn’t for Kylie.

Let’s not even get into the whole “I’ve got less than 200 jumps but I can fly a GoPro because x, y, z…” On second thought, maybe I will get into it a little. I’m not saying this had anything to do with Kylie’s incident at all, I’m just referring to the mentality in general. I don’t want to single anyone or any place out specifically, and I certainly don’t want to sound like a broken record….. BUT I see far too many people strapping on these small format cameras either before they really should, or onto non-camera helmets.

What does “before they should” mean?

399 Amazing Memories

It’s that time of year again in the north east when the leaves start changing colors, the under armour starts coming out, and the sun starts hiding its face earlier and earlier. Oh how sad the tail of a skydiving season can be, but what an incredible adventure!

There’s always a few jumps that stick out the most, that will always be imprinted in the memory banks. Getting to do my first beach jump was high on that list this season. It was a sunset CASA load at Skydive Long Island, landing on the beach and having an open bar. Gotta do more beach jumps for sure!

Photo by Justin Pabis

The most incredible puffy adventure was at Pepperell this season, I came running in from the parking lot, looked up and got on a load as fast as I could. Stepped out the door and smiled and giggled with the wall of fun from 16k all the way to 3k. This single jump convinced me I wanted to start flying a camera sooner than later. I have yet to top the surfing from that jump, pure bliss.

Successfully pulling off my first wingsuit rodeo was a huge surprise hehe. Rodeo passenger master Crystal went along for the ride. This was a really fun jump, and look at her track at the end! She’s going to kill it in a wingsuit!

One of my friends that I’ve known for a long time since early school days coming out to do his first tandem on hisĀ bachelors party day with 2 other friends was really cool. I think he liked it just a tiny bit šŸ˜€ They were all ready to suit up and get back on the next load, I love it! Congrats on popping the question and looking forward to the wedding and celebrating next weekend!!

Boogie Fever

The weather might not have cooperated completely but the Pepperell Boogie and SNE Tiki Bar Boogie were great times!

This year Pepperell brought in a Sky Van and we boogied in the memory of Steve Harrington. A lot of friends I haven’t seen in a while came together to party in the sky, it was great seeing everyone. For some pictures head over to Skwrl’s gallery and Scotty’s.

It was my first time jumping a Sky Van, yes more beer :) It was a fun plane, I named it the ugly load lol. Much loader than the casa, and manual operation of the ramp/door but still a tailgate!

And right around the corner was Skydive New England’s Tiki Bar Boogie. Hurricane Earl had other plans for us the first few days, so we took him up on the challenge and went surfing instead. Oh my gosh do I suck at surfing hahahahaha. My quote of the day “this is exhausting when you suck!” After getting tossed around by the waves I stripped the wet suit off and we just played around trying to somewhat body surf. I was caught a little off guard as to how powerful those waves and under tow get. It was a fun afternoon, and the sand sculptures done by the ladies were great lol

Flock University Vertical Challenge

The birds from near and far descended on Jumptown August 20th through 22nd to see if they stacked up to the challenge. Vertically stacked that is. A 16-way vertical diamond was the goal, and it was a great show!

It started off with 2 9-way vertical diamond formations and then joining forces to put together the 16-way vertical diamond. There were lots of photos and video captured up high with them, stay tuned to the website, twitter and facebook for more eye candy and news to be released.

In the mean time you can feast your eyes on the ground photography I took, and Jeff Donohue’s pictures.

Also put together a small dirt diving perspective video, enjoy…

There was some great flying done! Congrats to everyone involved for pushing into a new style of wingsuit formation style and rocking it hard! Looking forward to the video and at some point in the future being up there with ya guys!

The Altitude Above You

Another installment of safety talk as the Pepperell Boogie approaches, woohoo!

What’s one of the three useless things in flying that directly relates to parachuting? The altitude above you. Do you know your minimum opening altitude for your class license? You should! Go check out the SIM section 2-1 item G.

G. Minimum opening altitudes [E]
Minimum container opening altitudes above the ground for skydivers are:
1. Tandem jumpsā€”4,500 feet AGL
2. All students and A-license holdersā€”3,000 feet AGL
3. B-license holdersā€”2,500 feet AGL
4. C- and D-license holdersā€”2,000 feet AGL

And what about your hard deck for deciding whether to cutaway or land your main?

If you have reached your hard deck decision altitude and you haven’t cleared whatever malfunction you are dealing with, even if it’s as benign as a simple line twist, what would you do? What have you done?

I would hope these are all questions that each of us have already made a decision about and stick to that decision when the time comes.

The first part of this post comes from a little personal wake up call as well as a few basement runs I’ve witnessed recently. For me as I discovered more and more ninja tricks in flying my wingsuit slower and longer especially at break off time I was finding my internal clock and sense of “it’s time to pull dummy” was getting skewed and I was pulling much lower than I should be. I was still within the limits for my license, but I was unstowing my brakes lower than I felt comfortable with if I had to deal with malfunctions.

With big ways filled with D license holders I’ve become accustomed to seeing, especially the center, burn it down low. But smaller 4-16 ways with people deploying lower than 2500 ft I’m not use to seeing. Being able to count line groups on solo lower licensed jumpers as they deploy isn’t normal either.

Why deploy low? Why not deploy higher so you have time to deal with any possible malfunctions?

Fly safe everyone!