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Safety Line

As the year draws to a close, many are planning to jump at other drop zones as they head off for the holidays.  Remember that many drop zones have local rules, so make it your business to be familiar in a new environment. Take care and respect the fact that you are a visitor. Introduce yourself to the chief instructor and have the relevant documentation on hand.

The year to date has been very successful within many spheres.

  • A chief instructor seminar, a rigging seminar and a host of updates within the MOPs.
  • Close liaison with Neil De Lange at the Aero Club to update Part 105 within the Civil Aviation Regulations and Technical Standards (CATS and CARS) has also taken place. This will effectively give us more control over our own sport and the ability to govern ourselves through the MOPs.
  • The changeover from CAA to RAASA with respect to various administrative issues.

This is my worst year ever with respect to major and fatal incidents. We have had 5 fatalities this year of which 3 were within the canopy piloting discipline. Every other aspect of our sport has shown an improvement incident wise. The canopy piloting fatalities have taken of our top people, they were all educated and all understood the risk. Sadly, the inclusion of these fatalities within our stats reflects and paints a bleak picture for SA skydiving to the outsider.

Of concern for me at this time is the depleting pool of knowledge within the instructor and jumpmaster base. The dynamic has changed and the incentives for people to become jumpmasters and instructors have changed. People, having the jump numbers but much less drop zone time, are technically qualified but lack the wisdom of operational involvement. Clubs should acknowledge the instructor base and their chief instructor in particular.

As a final word for the year, have a merry Christmas and a fantastic new year.

Take care
Mark Bellingan
National Safety & Training Officer