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Old 26.01.2011, 15:26
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Re: British base jumper dies in Switzerland

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Old 26.01.2011, 15:27
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Re: British base jumper dies in Switzerland

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Let me rephrase. If you fall - splat. Granted. No claim was made about anti-gravity. However early pioneers had little knowledge about aerology gained from balooning days, and little to no idea about airfoil behavior, what might cause it to go splat, and how to mitigate the splat factor. To the contrary BASE jumpers have (or have no excuse for not having) a good knowledge of aerology and aerodynamics yet deliberately choose to put themselves in a position where they know in advance there is no splat-mitigation factor and no recourse, no matter how much research you do. Much like cigarettes, it's not a matter of "if" - it's a matter of "when" - without the righteous parallel of "oh we're pushing the limits to discover something new". Pioneers crashed because they didn't know any better. Not so with Base jumpers.
By that rational you seem to be saying that base jumpers have a deathwish. I think it's actually the other way around they do it exactly because they love life and want to milk it for all it's worth.

In some cases they are pushing to learn something new. From what I understand (and I'm no expert) there is constant development in wingsuit technology leading to better glide ratios which might ultimately one day lead to a safe method of personal flight. I don't see this in anyway dissimilar to those who test planes purely on a theoretical basis of it might/should fly so lets see if it does. This has happened in the early stages of flight development. Similar learning curves would have existed in the development of the parachute. I'm sure that you wouldn't disagree that a parachute was a worthwhile invention. Maybe in 20, 30 or 50 years people will be thinking the same things about wingsuits.

At the end of the day the people doing it know the risks and know the rewards. If the risk reward ration is good enough for them then that's what counts.
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  #23  
Old 26.01.2011, 15:37
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Re: British base jumper dies in Switzerland

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i think it's actually the other way around they do it exactly because they love life and want to milk it for all it's worth.
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Old 26.01.2011, 15:58
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Re: British base jumper dies in Switzerland

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By that rational you seem to be saying that base jumpers have a deathwish. I think it's actually the other way around they do it exactly because they love life and want to milk it for all it's worth.

In some cases they are pushing to learn something new. From what I understand (and I'm no expert) there is constant development in wingsuit technology leading to better glide ratios which might ultimately one day lead to a safe method of personal flight.
Correct - yet as has been proven countless times by modern sailplanes with a sail ratio 35x bigger than that of a wing suit, when flying in close proximity to a cliff face and have neither sufficient control authority nor power to maneuver out of wind gusts a crash is inevitable. I don't see a need to crash countless times to prove the same principle over and over. If at the same time they were testing some groundbreaking windgust-forecasting equipment - maybe. As for the safe method of personal flight - i believe all that has been demonstrated by wingsuit "R&D" is that "flying" longer distances actually requires "lift" and therefore... wings. Now that's what i call groundbreaking...

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I don't see this in anyway dissimilar to those who test planes purely on a theoretical basis of it might/should fly so lets see if it does. .
Indeed. However when plane testing you tend to mitigate all risk factors that are under your control not deliberately test it in the most adverse condition possible. There's a world of difference between the principles of flight testing (even those of the 40es) and "let's jump off a cliff and see how close can i get before i crash and die". I believe even the flying pioneers chose rather large expanses of flat land for their trial flights.

I'm perfectly fine with "i want to have a buzz so i jump off a cliff" - but let's not try to equate that with "i'm doing R&D into aerodynamics" because it's not what the guys who jump (and splat) at Lauterbrunnen and the like do.
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Old 26.01.2011, 16:04
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Re: British base jumper dies in Switzerland

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Correct - yet as has been proven countless times by modern sailplanes with a sail ratio 35x bigger than that of a wing suit, when flying in close proximity to a cliff face and have neither sufficient control authority nor power to maneuver out of wind gusts a crash is inevitable. I don't see a need to crash countless times to prove the same principle over and over. If at the same time they were testing some groundbreaking windgust-forecasting equipment - maybe.
I suggest you say this to someone who does it. If they believed that each jump meant certain death like you imply I'm pretty sure they would walk away from it. I'd be willing to bet that on every jump they do they feel that the chances of success on that jump are high enough to make it worth the risk.

There is a video somewhere of a guy flying pretty much through a waterfall. He touches it with his hand as he goes past. Now the winds are pretty erratic around waterfalls at the best of time and the effect of the dirty air around the waterfall seems to have negligible influence on his flight path. I'll look for it tonight if I get a chance.

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Indeed. However when plane testing you tend to mitigate all risk factors that are under your control not deliberately test it in the most adverse condition possible. There's a world of difference between the principles of flight testing (even those of the 40es) and "let's jump off a cliff and see how close can i get before i crash and die". I believe even the flying pioneers chose rather large expanses of flat land for their trial flights.

I'm perfectly fine with "i want to have a buzz so i jump off a cliff" - but let's not try to equate that with "i'm doing R&D into aerodynamics" because it's not what the guys who jump (and splat) at Lauterbrunnen and the like do.
Actually with the bold you are entirely wrong. Some of these guys are/were doing PhD and post doctoral work on wingsuits and human powered flight. There was at least one guy who was doing research at ETH Zurich and using his jumps for data collection. I believe (I stand to be corrected on this) that Ueli Gegenschatz was also doing work of some sort with him on human powered flight before his accident too.

As far as I am aware this guy was not an isolated case.
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  #26  
Old 26.01.2011, 16:04
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Re: British base jumper dies in Switzerland

Darwin award?

Not just because he was Devonian but he failed to acknowledge the general principle, jump off cliff = death

Dangerous and strenuous stunts have pretty depreciating returns; if you survive the only reward you get is continued life, at the cost of most people thinking you're crazy. If you die you lose everything, and people still think you’re crazy.

Its the paraplegics who willingly turn themselves from fit young men to pathetic shells that we all see on the easyjet flight out here to 'Dignitas they're ass' who are the most disturbing cases of 'adrenalin junkism'.

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Old 26.01.2011, 16:54
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Re: British base jumper dies in Switzerland

Risk of the job, its a sad thing to happen but if you do things like that ( jump of a building, out of a plane..) you know there is always a small % that it could go wrong.

Its like opening a thread on this forum asking is xxxxxx Chf is enough and should he take the job.. you know that person will be shot for asking..
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Old 26.01.2011, 17:33
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Re: British base jumper dies in Switzerland

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By that rational you seem to be saying that base jumpers have a deathwish. I think it's actually the other way around they do it exactly because they love life and want to milk it for all it's worth.

In some cases they are pushing to learn something new. From what I understand (and I'm no expert) there is constant development in wingsuit technology leading to better glide ratios which might ultimately one day lead to a safe method of personal flight. I don't see this in anyway dissimilar to those who test planes purely on a theoretical basis of it might/should fly so lets see if it does. This has happened in the early stages of flight development. Similar learning curves would have existed in the development of the parachute. I'm sure that you wouldn't disagree that a parachute was a worthwhile invention. Maybe in 20, 30 or 50 years people will be thinking the same things about wingsuits.

At the end of the day the people doing it know the risks and know the rewards. If the risk reward ratio is good enough for them then that's what counts.
By this rationale you can justify almost anything, including taking marijuana and running naked in the streets (I know they are illegal in some places, but I suppose so is BASE jumping).

Whether BASE jumping is "milking life for all its worth", or squandering/jeopardizing a lovely gift of life/health/youth, I guess there will be different views held by different people and we can't reconcile that.

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Risk of the job, its a sad thing to happen but if you do things like that ( jump of a building, out of a plane..) you know there is always a small % that it could go wrong.
The only problem is, that % is not small as in other "dangerous" activities such as climbing, skiing, hiking and driving; I don't have the stats but i suppose BASE jumping, along with cave diving and free-soloing big mountains, are far more dangerous undertakings where turning back or abandoning mid-way and calling for help are not options.
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Old 26.01.2011, 17:44
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Re: British base jumper dies in Switzerland

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I don't know what the death rate is for base jumping - i.e. what percentage live to a ripe old age but if you guessed at 50% dying which may, or may not be right, then that's about the same odds as a smoker dying from a smoking related disease.

And there are quite a few people who smoke and don't think it's too dangerous, or perhaps they appreciate that there's a high chance that smoking will kill them yet they still continue.

The arguments people have used here that base jumping is selfish if you have friends and a family is just as valid for smokers.

This isn't an anti-smoking rant - I'm just putting base jumping deaths in perspective.
I don't know either, so let's go with your figures, they seem reasonable. So we both agree smoking has an unacceptbaly high risk of cancer, and if you had a brother who smoked, you'd tell him not to smoke. Are you saying it is OK to say a similar thing if your brother was a BASE jumper, or are you saying they should be exempt from such advice?
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Old 26.01.2011, 17:52
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Re: British base jumper dies in Switzerland

I just went out and crossed the road - and not just once, but twice.

Totally unnecessarily, I might add.

I'm so selfish.

I must have a death wish.
.
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Old 26.01.2011, 17:58
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Re: British base jumper dies in Switzerland

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I don't know either, so let's go with your figures, they seem reasonable. So we both agree smoking has an unacceptbaly high risk of cancer, and if you had a brother who smoked, you'd tell him not to smoke. Are you saying it is OK to say a similar thing if your brother was a BASE jumper, or are you saying they should be exempt from such advice?
Smokers risk the health of others, unless a base jumper landed on me then there is no way that they risk my health, therefore I think the chance is theirs to take
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Old 26.01.2011, 18:01
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Re: British base jumper dies in Switzerland

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I just went out and crossed the road - and not just once, but twice.

Totally unnecessarily, I might add.

I'm so selfish.

I must have a death wish.
.
I hope you waited for the green man.

Or I'm telling on you.
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Old 26.01.2011, 18:59
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Re: British base jumper dies in Switzerland

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By this rationale you can justify almost anything, including taking marijuana and running naked in the streets (I know they are illegal in some places, but I suppose so is BASE jumping).

Whether BASE jumping is "milking life for all its worth", or squandering/jeopardizing a lovely gift of life/health/youth, I guess there will be different views held by different people and we can't reconcile that.
I've got absolutely no problem with someone smoking a bit of pot or walking in the streets naked. If someone wants to do either they are more than welcome in my opinion. Anyway it's different things. BASE jumping is legal in Switzerland.



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The only problem is, that % is not small as in other "dangerous" activities such as climbing, skiing, hiking and driving; I don't have the stats but i suppose BASE jumping, along with cave diving and free-soloing big mountains, are far more dangerous undertakings where turning back or abandoning mid-way and calling for help are not options.
I've already quoted the closest thing we are going to find the statistics on the matter. You climb yourself, you understand the passion you have for that sport and the risks associated with it. You choose to accept that risk to feed the passion. Why is that any different to a BASE jumper?

I respect people that have a passion and will get off their asses to go and live their dream. The dream of flight is something a lot of school boys have. Why do we have to leave our school boy dreams behind when we grow up? Instead educate yourself, take as many safety precautions as you can, know the risks and work to reduce them... and follow your dreams.
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Old 26.01.2011, 19:19
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Re: British base jumper dies in Switzerland

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I hope you waited for the green man.
Damn! Never thought of that! Nearest green man is about 10 miles away, so I could have driven there, crossed twice and driven back again - really push the envelope.

I might do that tomorrow.

This death wish is giving me a real buzz!!
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  #35  
Old 26.01.2011, 19:22
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Re: British base jumper dies in Switzerland

Just to clarify, I don't have any problem with BASE jumping or anything else that involves personal risk...and in fact I very often use the risk-reward ratio justification myself in my arguments regarding climbing.

It was quite illuminating for me to know that Jeb Corliss is not a good example; that there are a lot of highly educated people BASE jumping, I suppose in a very responsible manner (those ETH scientists in your earlier post).

Having said that, there will remain two worlds, one being the couch-sitting economy generating vast majority, whose views the other world, the minority that is living life fully, has to listen...For it is that vast majority that ultimately makes decisions which areas can be climbed, which areas can be bolted, which areas BASE jumping is legal etc. It would be interesting to hear under what circumstances and forces the areas where BASE jumping is illegal, came to that state.
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Old 26.01.2011, 20:02
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Re: British base jumper dies in Switzerland

Of course it is sad that someone died. But he was doing this for a while so he knew that it is risky. Bad things can happen in any sport, even if you have lots of experience.
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Old 26.01.2011, 20:05
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Re: British base jumper dies in Switzerland

Wow! Quite an eye opener, reading through these comments...
I am amazed how such (supposedly) well educated and open minded people can jump to conclusions... "selfish", "stupid", "crazy", "wrekcless", etc.
I could spend the next two hours of my life sitting in front of the PC and typing a long reply, in which I'd try to explain the reasons for BASE, the advancement in technology and gear that BASE jumpers have at their disposal today... how there are different type of jumpers, how there are more people dying in a whole lot of other sports, etc... No worries, I won't bore you with that.
What I will do is tell you that through BASE I've met some of the most amazing people on this Planet... I've learned a lot about people, life, cultures, camaraderie, understanding, pain of loosing someone while still being happy for the life they lived, etc.
That being said, I'm gonna go smoke a Marlboro and drink some cognac...
Fly Free, Gary!
BSBD
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Old 26.01.2011, 20:14
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Re: British base jumper dies in Switzerland

Meh.

Darwin.

Groan away.
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Old 26.01.2011, 21:44
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Re: British base jumper dies in Switzerland

.
Since I know a little bit about the world of aviation (of which I regard BASE jumping as a part), I did a little bit of musing and came up with the following (where "Entry Skill" is an rough ranking of the level of skill/training/experience required to perform the role, "Risk" is risk to self, and "Risk Profile" describes where the focus of minimising adverse events lies whilst undertaking the role):

Role: Commercial Pilot (passenger)
Entry skill: Medium+
Risk: Low
Risk Profile: Zero risk to passengers

Role: Commercial Pilot (cargo)
Entry skill: Medium
Risk: Low
Risk Profile: Minimal risk to self,aircraft, cargo

Role: Frontline Military Pilot (peacetime)
Entry skill: High
Risk: Medium
Risk Profile: Acceptable risk to self, aircraft

Role: Frontline Military Pilot (war)
Entry skill: High
Risk: High
Risk Profile: Minimise risk to mission

Role: Private Pilot (power)
Entry skill: Low
Risk: Low
Risk Profile: Minimise risk to passengers,self,aircraft

Role: Private Pilot (balloon)
Entry skill: Low+
Risk: Low
Risk Profile: Minimise risk to passengers,self,aircraft

Role: Parachutist (static line)
Entry skill: Zero+
Risk: Low
Risk Profile: Minimise risk to self

Role: BASE Jumper
Entry skill: Medium-
Risk: High
Risk Profile: Minimise risk to self

Role: Heavy Smoker
Entry skill: None
Risk: High
Risk Profile: Disregard risk to self

(N.B. As I understand it, one already needs to be an accomplished skydiver to make the transition to BASE jumping, hence the "Risk" rating above that of other private flying activities.)


SO, what stands out for me?

First, that the following are the ones that I would place in the "high-risk" category...
  • Military Pilot (wartime)
  • BASE Jumper
  • Heavy Smoker

Secondly, that in this "High Risk" groups, in increasing order of "disregard of risk of death or injury to self", we have:
  • the BASE Jumper who is trying to minimise his risk of death or injury
  • the Military Pilot (wartime) who is executing his mission, and trying not to get killed or injured in the process
  • the Heavy Smoker who ignores the risk of death or injury entirely

So...

Who's really the "stupid" one?

Who's really the "selfish" one?

Who's really got the death wish?

The professional guy, who's trained long and hard to be put in control of £50millions worth of state of the art aircraft?
Attachment 22831

The recreational guy, who's an accomplished skydiver (in this case, an professional instructor) who loves the sport and wants to push part of his sport further ?
Attachment 22832

Or the ordinary guy, who "didn't know" or did, but didn't care?
Attachment 22833



.
.

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Old 26.01.2011, 23:55
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Re: British base jumper dies in Switzerland

As a mother, if I had to choose, I would rather see my children smoke than basejump. I don't want my children to die young. Although I hate smoking, at least I would be grateful in the knowledge my smoking children wouldn't die suddenly and they'd probably outlive me anyway.

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