TOPGUN For Skydivers



      We just finished hosting an Accelerated Free Fall instructors course at  my dropzone Skydive Twin Cities and boy am I sore!  Candidates trying to get their ratings are required to go through an intense week long program that tests their teaching ability’s along with their free fall skills.  To prove they have what it takes to supervise real skydiving students the candidates go up alone or as a pair with an experienced evaluator, me the one in green and white, who plays the part of the worst student imaginable. We give them crappy unstable exits, spin uncontrollably on our belly or backs and of course never ever remember to pull.  The candidates must be able to catch us, flip us over, give us the correct hand signals to fix our body position and then pull our ripcord on time, all while falling at speeds of up to one hundred fifty miles an hour.  As an evaluator I’ve had students accidentally pull my pilot chute and track off with it still in his hand twice, been hit so hard I saw stars and came down with a bloody nose and had to kick candidates off me to get away when we got too low.  It’s very exciting.  We graduated eight instructors from the course and will soon turn them lose on real students and hope we didn’t make a mistake.  In the mean time I’m going to go soak in the hot tub, did I mention I’m sore?

You Get What You Pay For

Indian airforce loses half its planes – Telegraph.

India’s Russian MiG fighter jets have been branded ‘flying coffins’ after the government revealed more than half of its 872-strong fleet had crashed since the mid-1960s.

I guess when you have a few million extra people taking up space in your country whats a few less pilots more or less.  After reading the article I think the high accident rate might not be solved by buying better aircraft.

Are you a pilot who cancels too many flights?

Are you a pilot who cancels too many flights? – Golf Hotel Whiskey.

John Zimmerman has written an interesting post for Air Facts Journal in response to comments from their Go or no go” series to ask the question: Do you cancel too many flights? To first put things in perspective: John says that the comments the series has received are revealing because a number of pilots appear to be uncomfortable flying in anything less than clear skies and unlimited visibility. In fact, he might even go so far as to say that the aviation community has beaten everyone over the head with the risk management stick so much that some pilots are afraid to fly in IFR.


The article covers a trend I’ve been seeing in aviation for the last few years, namely the wuss factor.  Pilots these days are so safety conscious they won’t go an “take a look”.  I talk to guys who worked hard for their IFR rating but still only fly when it’s clear and a million.  I’m not saying they should go up and do something stupid or beyond their abilities, but come on, go get your plane wet once in a while.