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Vol. 7 - April 2000 - English Edition The Magazine from Skydive World


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Blue skies and safe landings !
[Updated: April 21, 2000]                   Page 2 - For more safety issues see Page 1

De Moines Skydiver Killed
April 20, 2000

De Moines skydiver Jeff Eaton was killed on Saturday, April 15, on the Vinton airport in Iowa. After a 4-way from 9500 feet, his second jump of the day, the deceased experienced some sort of main malfunction, perhaps a bag lock. His reserve was apparently never pulled; it is unclear if he cutaway or not. One report indicated his CYPRES was out getting it's 4-year check. An investigation is underway.

Airtec Press Release on the Porter Crash in Germany

Airtec GmbH - Wünnenberg, Germany
April 11, 2000
Yesterday we were informed of a tragic accident at a DZ in Breitscheid, Germany on Saturday, April 8th, 2000, where both the pilot and co-pilot of a jump aircraft (Pilatus Porter) were killed.
Details are incomplete at this time, as the investigation is still ongoing. Although this preliminary information is subject to change once more information is gathered, here is what is known / speculated to a high degree of certainty at this time.
The Pilot / Co-Pilot dropped a load of jumpers and were in routine descent back to the DZ. Although the aircraft was equipped with an in-flight door, it was not closed after the jumpers left the plane. The Co-pilot was wearing a student parachute rig equipped with a Student CYPRES unit which was turned on. At approximately 1000 feet AGL, apparently the Student CYPRES unit activated. The reserve pilot chute of the co-pilot (right side) escaped from the reserve container, went over the top of the short-backed seat, and proceeded out the open side door, extracting the co-pilot.
Although the co-pilot's reserve canopy was open, it sustained some damage in the center cell area. Unfortunately, the co-pilot was found dead, most likely from injuries sustained during the extraction from the aircraft.
Apparently, the pilot (who was sitting in a standard height seat) was unable to maintain control of the damaged aircraft, as it then crashed and caught on fire, killing the pilot.
We would like to express our deepest condolences to the families and friends of the two pilots.
Please remember and keep in mind that a Student CYPRES does activate at apx. 1000 feet AGL if the descent rate exceeds 29 miles per hour (2600 feet per minute). That is why section 2.2 of the CYPRES User's Guide states that the Student CYPRES should be switched off when descending in a jump plane.
For additional information contact:
Airtec GmbH
PH 49 2953 8010
FX 49 2953 1293

Jump Plane Crashed in Germany
April 8, 2000

A jump plane crashed shortly before landing at the small airport of Breitscheid in Germany after dropping eight skydivers. On board were the pilot and a second person. The pilot crashed with the plane and the wreckage totally burned out. The other passenger who also was wearing a gear (it's not known yet if a skydiver gear or a pilot rescue rig) jumped out of the crashing plane but fell to death. The cause of the crash and the type of the plane is not known yet. An police officer said, that the plane was new with only ten flight hours in its records.

Latest News on the Crash in Germany
April 9, 2000

At Skydive Breitscheid in Germany, after dropping eight skydivers, the club's Pilatus Porter PC6 went into a spin on landing approach, plunged to the ground and exploded. The 40-year-old Swiss pilot died in the wreckage. His girlfriend, also a skydiver, vitnessed the crash from the ground. The co-pilot, a 45-year-old man, jumped out at 900 feet but it was too late for the parachute to open properly. According to witnesses, he was supposed to be trained for a rating on the Porter. The expensive plane, worth one million German Marks, left the factory just two weeks ago and had logged only ten flight hours.
During the entire day before the accident, skydivers jumped out of the plane without any reported problems. The Pilatus Porter was on landing approach after its 13th lift when the accident happened at approximately 6.50 p.m. Saturday evening.
The "Luftfahrtbundesamt" (LBA) of Germany started investigation on Sunday morning. The debris will be recovered during Sunday and will be brought to LBA's headquarters in Braunschweig for further examination.

Fatality in France

A videoman from Belgium was killed at the European Parachute Centre in Lapalisse, France on Saturday, April 1, after a main-reserve entanglement. As the staff from the dropzone reported, the jumper's pilot-chute got somehow entangled with his video gear. He then cut away the main which stayed attached to the helmet and didn't open properly. Then he pulled his reserve which opened into the existing mess. Official inquiry is in progress.

Technical Bulletin from Parachutes de France
Parachutes de France S.A
Phone: (33)
Fax: (33)
Web site:
Parachutes de France

TO ALL DISTRIBUTORS - Date: 31/03/2000
Dear Distributor,
After thorough evaluation, we are pleased to remove our request for grounding of ATOM "Millenium" harness-containers, models Classic and Evolution (types 34 and 35). As you can imagine it was not easy to take a grounding decision and we knew that it would not be popular. However we thought that we had to do it since safety must be part of our duty and must come over business. We believe that PDF had a responsible behaviour and customers should not blame us for that.
Here attached please find the Technical Bulletin and two drawings. The first drawing explains how to make the deflector flap and the second one explains how to install the deflector flap. We can supply you with free deflector flaps. Simply ask from Fabrice the quantity and size (One is for Atom Millenium 34-000/00/0 and the other one for Atom millenium 34-1 and 35-1). They all come in silver grey (it matches any color). Thank you very much for supporting our product.
Best regards
Parachutes de France S.A
Dominique MARCU

Download the Bulletin and Drawings!

Chris Gauge - Accident Report

On Wednesday, February 9th 2000, Chris Gauge had a fatal accident at TRAIN IN SPAIN, Aerodromo Sierra Morena , E-23710 Bailen.
Exiting the DZ Twin Otter from 4000 m at aprx. 17:50 hour to perform a solo skysurf training jump Chris Gauge failed to open either main or reserve parachute of his own Tear Drop Parachute equipment and died on impact.
His exit was observed by other skydivers and reported to be normal. He was waving up towards the following group. Just before impact he was seen from the ground flat spinning at high speed while his fallrate appeared slow and the noise was similar to that of a helicopter.
His parachute was equipped with a CYPRES automatic opening device. However the Cypres did not activate the reserve parachute.
I suspect that Chris Gauge went unconcious during his jump, possibly due to his fast spinning, and therefore was unable to determine opening altitude and to deploy his parachute. Furtheron I suspect that his fallrate was abnormally slow due to his fast spinning, he was jumping his normal surfboard which has a length of approx. 1,60 m. That could be the reason that the Cypres did not fire.
Chris Gauge: 32 years old, British Citizenship, member of the British Parachute association, 3100 jumps, known as an expert on the surfboard, British National Champion 1999 skysurf, World Meet 1999 skysurf 8th place.
Jan Wildgruber DZ Operator

Two SEALs badly hurt skydiving into stadium

Two members of the Navy's elite SEAL parachute team, the Leap Frogs, were in critical but stable condition after a hard landing March 16, 2000 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California, where the team was training for a Padres opening-day performance.
The two skydivers were plunging earthward in an aerobatic formation about 11 a.m. The parachutes opened, but for some reason, witnesses said, the men could not separate from each other once they cleared the stadium's west end. Both struck the ground near the third-base line.
Read the whole story from the Union Tribune.

Safety News Bytes

The malfunction rate for tandem equipment is about three times that of experienced solo jumpers, the British Parachute Association reported recently. John Saunders, chairman of the BPA safety and training committee, said British jumpers report about one malfunction for every 250 descents (30-40 malfunctions during 8,000 to 10,000 jumps annually, on the average) compared to approximately one malfunction for every 750 jumps involving experienced parachutists (based on 200 malfunctions per 150,000 descents per year). The committee is concerned about the higher rate. [Source: Skydiving Magazine]
Preliminary analysis of last year's general aviation accident data has led the National Transportation Safety Board to conclude 1999 was the safest year since 1947. There were 342 fatal accidents last year in the US involving non-airline and non-military aviation, compared with 365 in 1998 and in spite of a slight increase in the number of hours flown. The overall accident rate and the fatal accident rate were the lowest since the government began compiling aviation accident data in 1938. [Source: Skydiving Magazine]

For more safety issues see Page 1

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