NTSB hearing on parachute jump operations

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If you watched the web cast of yesterday’s NTSB public hearing, you probably had thoughts similar to mine as I sat in the audience and listened to the special investigation report on jump plane operations. It was difficult to hear about skydive operators who ignored aircraft maintenance requirements and who hired pilots who took a cavalier approach to their responsibilities. While we also heard that all operators shouldn’t be tarnished with what the NTSB found, there’s no denying the evidence that more can be done to make sure operators understand the regulations and then comply with them.

The good news is that the NTSB recognizes that USPA can play a strong role with the FAA in developing and disseminating the programs and guidelines that the NTSB has recommended. USPA must look at this as an opportunity to step up and offer to develop the NTSB-recommended maintenance awareness, pilot training, and pilot testing programs for the FAA to review and endorse. When we accomplish this, our members and the first-jump public can have greater confidence in the competence and professionalism of all of our operators. We—and they—deserve nothing less.

Be sure to read my Gearing Up commentary in the October issue of Parachutist. Though it went to press last week, I felt the need then to address two pervasive urban myths about jump plane operations. In short, skydivers are passengers and jump flights are commercial operations. That needs to be the starting point for the work that lies ahead.

Read the official USPA News report.

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2 Responses to “NTSB hearing on parachute jump operations”

  1. Harry Leicher Says:

    After jumping from the planes run by Perris, Eloy, and Elsinore, it’s hard to accept that others won’t put the same effort into constructing seats with reasonable seat belts.

    If we’re not careful, we may wind up falling under the same section of the FAR’s as commercial air tour operators, requiring Letters of Authorization, etc. It’s actually hard to argue against that, in that parachute operations are very similar to non-stop sight seeing flights.

  2. urban moore Says:

    “USPA Meets FAA About NTSB”
    After reading the latest DZO Streamline, I have some comments. Until the FAA at least in this region (Northwest), hires inspectors that actually know something about the skydiving industry, the verifiability of any program by them will be a waste of time and money for the operators. It will also but them a risk of violation on the supposed expert opinion of the local FAA official. Most of these people can’t tell you the difference between a stevens lanyard and Steven Segal.
    I understand that USPA has for some time now been working with the FAA in DC to develop a handbook for inspectors in the field, so that they can uniformly address what they see. To date however, rules, regulations and determinations set forth from DC are applied and interpreted in a nonuniform manner.
    While it may be necessary to set these programs in place for the good of the industry, until the two items above are addressed, I don’t think much will happen. You think skydiving aircraft and pilots are unsafe, just look at the med evac industry.

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