BSBD Orly B. King

OrlyBKing

OG-Tail-Rider

On Monday, March 23rd, 2015 skydiving lost a King. Orly B. King passed away comfortably with close friends and family in Murfreesboro, TN. after a four year battle with cancer.

Orly was a living legend in skydiving lore with humble beginnings. He was a pioneer of skydiving, freeflying & canopy flight as well as a world champion, paraglider, pilot, videographer and photographer.

Orly is someone many would call a “Benchmark” human being. Orly King left a legacy of skydiving skill and love behind. He was the type of individual who positively impacted everyone he met. Many will tell you he transformed their lives.

The funeral is planned for this Friday, March 27th, 2015. You can find more info on the Memorial Event Page.

Orly’s battle with cancer was not for the weak or faint of heart. His ability to shine on during some of the most painful procedures solidified him as a true warrior within the community. He shared himself and his battle via Facebook posts all the way till the end.

OrlyBKing“Orly’s recent act of courage far outweighs his more stereotypical daredevil endeavors such as flying through the air and climbing on planes: In the past months he brought us along with him on his journey into the next world. Each Facebook update of his fostered a wave of love, support and inspiration among us. He touched everyone he knew, even those in passing.”
Max Cohn

A Facebook Memorial Page is set up and still growing. The stories of lifetime friendships, inspiration and love fill the page’s feed. If you are looking for inspiration on ways of being in this world, go take a look and read through the posts. You just might change your life. Below are just a few quotes.

“Orly’s kindness, his enthusiasm and encouragement, his respect—these played a key role in keeping me on an intimidating, often overwhelming, path. He said the right things, the right way, at the right time, and he did it because that’s who he was; because he simply, and genuinely, gave a damn.”  Jim Bennet

“Today the World lost a great human being, skydiving lost a pioneer, many around the world lost a true friend & I, amongst others, lost a World Champion Teammate….Orly “B” King was one of the last true gentlemen; kind, giving, caring & above all loving. Words cannot adequately express the love that we all have for Orly…. Somehow they all seem quite inadequate! The inventor of the Brainiac skydiving helmet, the OG rider of the King Air tail, the guru of the sit-fly freestyle filming position; these are but the tip of the iceberg when describing Orly’s skydiving legacy!”  Omar Alhegelan

“Orly was the utmost and most respected “Peaceful Warrior” I believe to walk this Earth. His spirit was a testament to all he held in heart. His heart he wore on his sleeve for us all to see. Living in absolute vulnerability to share his precious gifts of love and light with us all. One very precious gift Orly bestowed on us was the gift of knowledge. However, he would be the first to tell you, “It is up to you to turn the knowledge into wisdom, knowing into action.”  Carrie LoveNinja Fields

Custom Infinity Rig Promotion!

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Questions about subscriptions? Email us at Blue Skies Magazine.

 

Get Current: Landing Priorities

Maxine

MaxineMaxine Tate is a Flight-1 instructor, PD Sponsored Athlete and a member of the British Canopy Piloting Team. She has 5,000+ jumps under her weight-belt and calls Skydive DeLand home. Join Maxine or any of her colleagues at Flight-1 to improve your landings skills at a Flight-1 canopy course (check website for list of dates and locations). 

How do I land safely?
Landing Priorities in Order.

It’s been a long and cold winter for most, possibly with a good several months having passed since your last skydive. What should you be reminding yourself of before you come face to face with your canopy again?
You’re uncurrent – be honest – are you nervous about your first landing of the year? Many people are after a certain amount of time on the ground. So it seems like the perfect time to revisit The Landing Priorities (LPs) that you were introduced to during AFF but may not have revisited since. Why are the LPs so important? If we follow these priorities in order, we have the greatest chance of a successful and safe landing.

  1. Land with the Wing Level– if the wing is level then it is flying in a straight line horizontal to the ground, and you are no longer descending. That is a good thing! We have both a vertical and horizontal component to our canopy flight, and we want to eliminate the vertical component on landing at the very least. It is far easier to slide/run/walk off a landing comprising of horizontal speed only, than it is to stick a landing still involving some aspect of vertical descent.
  2. Land in a Clear Area – we want to avoid obstacles and hazards of course. The key to achieving this is planning and anticipation. If you do turn onto your final leg and encounter a potential hazard, make any needed adjustment as early as possible. If you make the adjustment sooner, the degree of turn required to steer away from the hazard will be smaller, and your canopy will have more time to recover and return to a level wing before landing. Busting LP1 with a low turn to achieve LP2 can still lead to injury.
  3. Flare symmetrically to at least half brakes –
    • the act of flaring pitches the canopy up, so that we slow and hopefully stop our vertical descent, helping us achieve LP1 ;
    • symmetry in the flare is the key to maintaining a level wing – any asymmetry in our input will allow the canopy to roll to one side or the other, busting LP1;
    • at least to half brakes is a guide to enable us to plane out and slow down – each combination of canopy and pilot will have a different point to flare to in order to achieve LP1 (our sweet spot) but whatever situation you find yourself in, you should at the least execute a symmetrical flare of substance. If you land a canopy with a minimal flare or without flaring at all, you will likely injure yourself.
  4. Land Into the Wind – yes indeed this is a priority but it is not the top priority. LP4 can make a stand up landing easier, as flying into a headwind reduces our ground speed. BUT landing into wind is not a requirement to land safely: you should never put this priority ahead of LP1, 2 and 3. Don’t make a low turn just to attempt to land into wind. You are far less likely to injure yourself if you execute a downwind or crosswind landing well with a good strong symmetrical flare, than if you land into wind while the canopy is still rolling, and therefore not level above your head. Remember it is the vertical descent that we are trying to stop. Only turn into wind if you have enough altitude for the canopy to fully recover to a level wing before it is time to execute a flare for landing.

If the last point I make, about accepting a downwind or crosswind landing rather than turning low into wind, makes your heart start racing a little, or gives you a slightly sick feeling in your stomach, then you need to address your landing skills and boost your confidence to a level where you can make decisions that respect the Landing Priorities – these four points in this order are the key to keeping safe and remaining injury free from the most critical part of your canopy flight – your landing.
Blue skies and safe landings
– Maxine Tate

flight-1

Get Current

Articles, tips and tricks from experts to help you emerge into the new season a well-rounded and fabulously interesting skydiver

Get Current Series

The BASE Museum and Memorial

BlueSkiesMag-i45-DZ0802-photobyTomSanders

Online Reprint

For many years now, USPA, PIA and jumpers have been putting their efforts together in order to construct a National Skydiving Museum. They have been asking for donations, selling personalized bricks, benches and holding raffles. They have been gathering old gear and memorabilia to display. They also plan to honor those who helped to pioneer our sport with photos and literature. Progress has been slow but steady.

I think it is time for BASE jumpers to have their own museum and memorial. I have a plan that is similar but with an expedited process. First, those who are interested must fill out a form … well actually it’s a will. The will states that you leave everything you own to the Museum Fund when you pass.

When the first person dies (Bouncin’ Billy), we use his money to purchase a plot of land. We will put up a sign that honors him with “Bouncin’ Billy Acres.” There will be other things in and around the memorial honoring him, such as flower gardens and benches.

When the next person dies (Jumpin’ Jonny), his assets will build the first floor of the museum which will be dedicated to him. Inside, visitors can view photos and videos of Jumpin’ Jonny’s career. High school graduation pictures, military days, family and friends. His gear will be in a glass case and his jumpsuit hung on a wall. Anything that described him would be available for the public to view.

When the next person passes (Denise Death), the second story is built with her “donation.” Same with her. All the history of Denise Death—videos of her as a kid jumping from her back porch with a bed sheet. Her trophies and records of accomplishment, etc. would all be displayed for viewing. We could even have her mounted and hung from the ceiling in her wingsuit. There will also be 25 cent viewing machines to see the life and times of our dead buddies.

The type of floor will be custom designed and built according to how much money was willed by that individual. For example: Leapin’ Larry left lots of loot to the fund. He can have his floor plan designed to his specs before he dies. Those who willed up all their assets and don’t have enough for their own floor can share a floor with others. Or, some may want to share a floor anyway, in order to be memorialized with a loved one or a team.

So, every time someone takes the “mighty whipper” their assets go into the Museum Fund that honors them with a dedicated floor. As more and more people die, the museum’s building starts to grow. Once it gets up to about eight or 10 floors, then it will be marginally jumpable.

Of course some number-chasing egomaniac will want to be the first to huck a gainer from it, will luck out and pull it off. This will cause a lemming effect, drawing more pea-brained following idiots to jump it as well. At this point the building will grow very very fast. These bozos will be cratering in all around the building. Of course they would all get their own floor and visitors could view all their history along with their last jump, right here at the memorial.

Eventually it will grow to a safe enough height where we can hold BASE courses, competitions and demos. Now, not only do we have our BASE Museum and Memorial, but we have one hell of a tombstone and a legal site as well.

All interested parties please send your will to me and I will handle everything … ahem … Trust me!

Moe Viletto

Regular Contributor

Moe Viletto is the owner of Tailored For Survival, a specialty sewing and design company for life-support systems. He bought a parachute after his first jump in 1971, started to pioneer BASE equipment and jumping in the early 1980s, and has been working in the parachute industry full-time ever since. Catch his stories on Skydive Radio at SkydiveRadio.com.

Get Current: Canopy Choices – Understanding the Choices We Make

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75815_10200236638615860_637452750_nTom Noonan is a professional instructor and director of the Tandem Program at UPT. Tom wears many hats on the side, including being the Dropzone Operations Coordinator at Everest Skydive, serving on the USPA Board of Directors, being a rigger and more!  On occasion he even jumps for fun. 

“Can you land your canopy in a backyard?”  

This is the age-old “go to” question.  Are you capable landing your canopy in a tight congested space?  The question, while good intended, is not actually the best question to ask though, when considering canopy choices.  A more well-rounded question would be: “Can you land your canopy in a backyard when everything around you is going wrong?
In a controlled environment, say a dedicated hop ‘n pop, many skydivers are capable of landing their canopies in a small areas, free of obstructions.  Want proof?  Observe a sunset load “land and chug” when skydivers of all experience levels and canopy sizes, land near the free beer.  All day long they landed anywhere and everywhere else on the DZ, but once you put out a free beer for accuracy, then all of a sudden, everyone becomes Magellan under canopy and navigates right to the free beers.

The real question about appropriate canopy choices and whether or not a skydiver is capable of landing in a tight area is whether or not it can be done in an uncontrolled environment.  Can a skydiver safely land off in a tight space when they are forced to make quick decisions and perform under pressure in less than idea situations?  This question can then be split again, as we jump with two parachutes, a main and a reserve, and are just as likely to have to land either one in a tight area in less than ideal conditions.  That being said, when considering canopy choices and attempting to determine if the canopies on your back are the right canopies for you (main and reserve), ask yourself two separate questions:

When things are going wrong, when I’m landing off in a tight area, maybe downwind, maybe in a parking lot, am I capable of landing my main AND my reserve in any of my potential worst case scenarios?

If you answered yes to both questions, you are in good shape in terms of canopy choices.  If you answered no to either question, it is critical to understand why the answer is no and to assess your canopy choices based on that knowledge.  You may find that as an AFF instructor working at a busy DZ in an overpopulated area, that you are more prone to land off and that 84sq ft cross brace canopy may not be the best canopy to have overhead when landing in a school parking lot on a long spot.  Or, you may find that as a Canopy Piloting competitor that while your sub-70sq ft canopy is not ideal for off landings, you have made an educated decision to jump that wing in environments that give you the best chances for keeping that canopy out of such tight spots.  In either scenario, or anywhere in between, if you are making educated decisions on the canopies you use based on the conditions you use them in, you are on your way to making good canopies choices.  The most common mistake however, is that skydivers as a general rule, tend to choose canopies based on what they need for a successful canopy flight and landing when everything goes right, not for when everything goes wrong.  This is an important concept to understand as canopy choices and skydiving gear in general have evolved greatly over the last few decades and today’s skydivers are faced with varying (almost dizzying) equipment and canopy choices.

Years ago, there was a time when skydiving was so dangerous and so exciting that after the parachute opened, a skydiver’s primary goal was simply to get to the ground safely to go skydiving again.  Not so today however, with the advent of modern parachute wings in varying shapes and sizes, numerous canopy related endeavors and disciplines have arisen over time.   From CrEW, to CP and everything in between, there are numerous areas of parachute flight interest for skydivers now amongst a varying  selection of canopy sizes and shapes.

There are also multiple canopy designs today, including “fully-elliptical”, “semi-elliptical”, “tapered”, “cross braced”, and my favorite, the “fully-unelliptical” old-school (square) parachute.  There are now different fabrics and lines out there too.  It used be just low permeability fabric, (every remembers the brand “F-111” fabric).  Then came that “ZP’ stuff that made the fabric last longer and kept the canopies more rigid.  Now there is  fabric called “sail”, “low bulk”, and so on.  The same things happened to the lines of the canopy too.  We used to have Dacron and Microline (Spectre) to choose from, now we have those choices along with Vectran, HMA, and so on.  They even come in cool colors now too.  With all of these choices, what is a skydiver to do when buying their next canopy?  How will they know which design, size, material and line to choose from?  While there is not a “single fit” answer for everyone, the important thing to remember is that skydiving has evolved both in freefall and under canopy into a large number of diverse disciplines, each of which puts the human body at different speeds and conditions.  Put simply, skydiving and canopy flight have become so specialized today, that there are “good fit” parachutes sizes and shapes for just about everything we do in freefall and under canopy.  The days of just buying a canopy to get to the ground are long gone.  There are too many sizes and designs out there to choose from.  And while there are certainly a number of general canopy design ranges, it is critical to ask, for both your main and your reserve?

Are the canopy designs and sizes appropriate for my disciplines, my skill level and my currency level?  If you cannot answer “yes” to all three questions, then you might want to consider either changing your canopy, or improving your skill level and currency level until you can answer yes to all three questions.  Or you, may simply answer: “I don’t know”.  And that is okay too, as long as the answer is followed up with the resolution to find out.

Here’s a question to start the search for canopy knowledge.  What is the difference between a seven cell and nine cell parachute?  And no, the answer is not just “two more cells”.  There is a (general) difference in aspect ratio (cross-braced canopies aside), that can make a difference in opening characteristics, lift, flare and so on.  And a second question, based on that idea, why are modern sport reserve parachutes  seven cell wings?.

There is not a single absolute answer for any of this, as parachutes are diverse in design and function, but there is a tremendous amount of foundational information available out there, now is the time to go find it.

In conclusion, today’s modern parachutes are essentially purpose-built.  To paraphrase an old PD ad, if we all had the same tastes, we’d all fly the same wing.  The reality however in modern sport parachuting is that we have greatly varied disciplines and purposes for our parachutes.  They need to function is these highly diverse environments that we place them in, and it is true that while many parachutes are multifunctional, there is not a single parachute out there that is good for everything we are capable of doing in the sky.  That is why it is so critical to determine if we are flying with the most appropriate wings over our heads, both main and reserve canopy.   If we find through thoughtful assessment that we have the appropriate size and shape parachutes in our containers for the disciplines we pursue and the worst case aerial scenarios that we may encounter, then we will have the piece of mind in knowing on each jump that we have given ourselves the best chances for a safe, successful skydive.  If however, we find that we are not under the most ideal canopies for our disciplines, experience and worst case scenario landings, we can then set forth to correct that situation, through transitioning to more appropriate gear, or by seeking additional training to improve our skill set on our current gear.  The critical area here is that if it is determined there is a level of incompatibility in our gear and how we use it, we owe it to ourselves and those around us, to correct the situation.  In today’s modern skydiving universe, the gear we use is quite advanced, and while it is not malfunction free, there are not a lot of gear related incidents these days based on the large number of skydives we make day after day.  The truth is, that the vast majority of skydiving incidents occur today under perfectly functioning parachutes.  Many of these incidents and injuries can be traced back to end-user incompatibility and performance issues, specifically that either the canopy wasn’t the right size or shape for the landing area or more likely, the performance of the operator pilot was not on the same level with the performance of the parachute to land safely.   If every skydiver/parachutist made an honest assessment of the wings over their heads, versus, the experience level and discipline being used in, many of us would find that we have areas we can reduce the likelihood of incident or injury by ensuring we have the right wing over our head and right skill level at our fingertips as we fly our canopies to the ground.

“In the end, it’s not how appropriate your canopy is when everything is going right, it’s how appropriate your canopy is when everything is going wrong, that can be the difference between walking away from a bad landing and being driven away in an ambulance.”

To borrow from PD again, when it comes to your gear:  “Knowledge is Power”.  The information is out there, via company websites, dealers, tour reps and instructors.  Seek out the information.  Learn from it.  If you don’t agree with it all, ask questions.  The only dumb questions are the ones you don’t ask.

To wrap this canopy perspective up, simply ask yourself:  Are you under the right size and model main and reserve canopy for your disciplines, experience level and drop zone location?  If you can’t answer yes to both questions, find out the answers now during your downtime.  You don’t want to be asking yourself this question at 1000ft as your passing through a tree line into a backyard and finding out only then, that the answer is “no”……..

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