Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Skydive Perris and its Skyvan featured in a Dodge Ram Trucks Commercial

A recently released Dodge Ram truck commercial features Skydive Perris' Shorts SC-7 Skyvan. It was filmed over the desert in Southern California a few months ago. 

During the commercial, a stuntman rides a motorcycle out of the back ramp of the jump plane, while the music track "Come with Me Now", from the South African band Kongos plays in the background.

I've watched the commercial a few times and can not figure out what the point of it is, other than selling trucks, but it's still cool none the less.

Friday, June 6, 2014

In honor of D-Day 93 year old vet skydives tandem with Jay Stokes

Tom Rice, 93, a U.S. Army veteran and a paratrooper during World War II went skydiving Friday in remembrance of D-Day. He was a member of the 101st Airborne Division, known as The Screaming Eagles, and had parachuted behind enemy lines during the Normandy invasion 70 years ago today. Mr. Rice was awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star for his heroic achievement.

The jump was conducted out of Skydive San Diego's Twin Otter, with Jay Stokes (a retired Army Special Forces Officer) as the Tandem Instructor.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Employee of Start Skydiving has died after accident involving aircraft

Sadly an employee of Start Skydiving in Middletown, OH that was in critical condition after walking into a spinning propeller Sunday around 1pm, passed away on Tuesday at Miami Valley hospital in Dayton, OH.

The employee, Sarah Rhoads, 24, was an office manager at the Drop Zone and had been there for 3 years. Employees of the DZ have installed a flag that reads "Never Quit", because they say she would want them to carry on without her. The DZO John Hart stated, "Her loss will be a tremendous one, and her ever-present positivity will be hard to do without."

The aircraft was a Twin Otter on lease from another skydiving company. It was not moving and was waiting for the next load of skydivers to board when the accident occurred.

As I stated in my Safety Day article, I think that it is very important for us Jump Pilot's to regularly remind skydivers and staff what the proper procedures are while walking near spinning propellers. I'm not saying that the pilot of this particular aircraft did not brief the skydivers and staff, however this accident is a reminder that we need to do it more often.

Talking about it once a year during Safety Day is not enough or this accident might not have happened. I believe that all Drop Zone staff and regular fun jumpers should have a meeting where safety topics are discussed at least once a month. If I was the DZO, it would happen once a week.

There should always be at least one ground crew, usually the person that helps to load the skydivers, standing near the aircraft making sure that no one walks near the spinning propellers. Again, I'm not saying that this company does not have a ground crew person that does that. However, this is a reminder as to why Drop Zones should have one and one that has their duties prioritized.

This tragedy touches close to home for me and my fellow jump pilots and our prayers have now turned to the family and friends of Sarah. That they will support each other and remain strong after losing her.