Spotter Now Generally Available

I have now made available the spotter application under the GNU GPLv2 license, head over the spot calculator page for some background story and a link to download the latest version.

There have been a few requests to deploy the spotter, and I enjoy giving back to the skydiving community! Would love to hear from you if you have tried, installed, or made modifications!

update 3/7/13:Ā Thanks goes out to Tyson and his gang at Skydive Snohomish for finding and reporting an error in drift calculations when north was reported at 360 instead of 0 degrees. The download link has been updated with the fixed version 1.2.2

USPA Action Call

Please take the time to read and process this information, it could save a life or two one day.

Source: USPA Action Call


Since late February, there have been five fatalities (and one critical injury) that were canopy-collision related. Every skydiver is asking the same questions: “How is this happening, and why?” It appears that skill level and proficiency are not indicators. One accident involved two jumpers with about 23 jumps each who were the only two jumpers under canopy at the time. Another accident involved a jumper with 17,000 jumps and another with 8,000 jumps, both very proficient and with very little other traffic around them.

It is time that we all accept the responsibility of ending the canopy-collision threat.

We are asking all skydivers to join in this CALL TO ACTION. Individual jumpers must follow the guidelines in the Skydiver’s Information Manual that have proven to keep our skies safer when they are applied correctly. Additionally, we are asking that all S&TAs observe and correct poor habits at their DZs. We are asking that DZOs become more involved in canopy safety by establishing canopy flight rules, and safe landing patterns and landing areas. This type of accident MUST STOP, and we all can be a part of making that happen.

Jay Stokes, USPA President

2011 Safety Day

In the northeast the snow is melting, the birds are chirping, the skies are clearing, that must mean skydiving season is around the corner! What better way to kick it off than to attend Safety Day. The majority of cold climate skydivers hibernate for the winter and have not stepping into those legs straps and threaded their chest strap in a few months.

Have you seen the changes in this years SIM & IRM? For that matter when was the last time you peeled the cover back and really read the SIM, not just thumb through it šŸ˜‰

Seriously though, this is a great time for some review to help get back into the swing of things. There is a wealth of information available on the USPA site regarding Safety Day.

The SIM is available online, and a document highlighting all the new changes.

UPDATE: PD has make a great post on canopy inspection, well worth the time to watch the video!

Let’s try and make this year even safer than last year!

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?

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!