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National Geographic Article- BASE WINGSUIT DEATHS DECREASE
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swovelin

Aug 7, 2019, 1:42 PM
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National Geographic Article- BASE WINGSUIT DEATHS DECREASE Can't Post

I just saw this National Geographic article focusing on the decreased death rate in wingsuit BASE. "Has the world's deadliest sport become safer? It's complicated."

NationalGeographic


(This post was edited by swovelin on Aug 7, 2019, 1:44 PM)

bluhdow

Aug 7, 2019, 3:00 PM
Post #2 of 16 (5381 views)
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Re: [swovelin] National Geographic Article- BASE WINGSUIT DEATHS DECREASE [In reply to] Can't Post

Errors, of course:

"The most recent wingsuit fatality was a 51-year-old American student taking a course with the company Learn to BASE Jump. On July 30, 2019, Jon Malmberg, an experienced paraglider with 140 BASE jumps and 300 skydives, died in Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland, when he was too slow to pull his pilot chute, a small parachute that pulls out the main parachute and initiates the deployment process."

Jon was a former LTBJ student. He was not taking a course at the time of his death. My understanding is that he completed a course in 2018 and was in the Valley on his own when he died. He happened to be shadowing an LTBJ load, but he was not "taking a course" at the time.

Per the BFL: "Unable to locate pilot chute and / or possible hard pull / Low pull resulting in terminal impact on ground."

"I think wingsuit BASE jumping is a sport in decline,” says Laurent Frat, an American wingsuit pilot living in Chamonix, France."

If my trip to the Valley this year was any indication, that might be true. Very few wingsuits, and about 300 Onesie Powers. Not too many of us fools with our arms tied to our ankles! Tongue

shorehambeach

Aug 7, 2019, 3:46 PM
Post #3 of 16 (5365 views)
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Re: [bluhdow] National Geographic Article- BASE WINGSUIT DEATHS DECREASE [In reply to] Can't Post

Another error was Jon was not wearing a wingsuit.

TomAiello

Aug 7, 2019, 4:46 PM
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Re: [shorehambeach] National Geographic Article- BASE WINGSUIT DEATHS DECREASE [In reply to] Can't Post

I believe he was wearing a "trackwingsuit" wasn't he?

It might be a case of the writer flexing the interpretation of "wing suit" to fit his storyline.


(This post was edited by TomAiello on Aug 7, 2019, 4:47 PM)

shorehambeach

Aug 7, 2019, 5:26 PM
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Re: [TomAiello] National Geographic Article- BASE WINGSUIT DEATHS DECREASE [In reply to] Can't Post

Yes a mutation. Good point about the writer flexing the interpretation. Sad all round.

setarkos

Aug 8, 2019, 12:07 AM
Post #6 of 16 (5288 views)
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Re: [shorehambeach] National Geographic Article- BASE WINGSUIT DEATHS DECREASE [In reply to] Can't Post

He does call it a "wingsuit fatality" (which may be arguable although I and many other jumpers I know would agree) but he also goes on to specify:

In reply to:
Ironically, Malmberg was using new technology that many say could save lives—a one-piece "tracking" wingsuit with less fabric between the arms and improved aerodynamics. The hope is that the increased mobility of the one-piece suits will reduce deaths from slow parachute pulls, the exact thing that killed Malmberg.

Ironically the Mutation has exactly none of the advantages of a onepiece TS over a WS. The lines are so blurred that traditional denominations are not always clear. The Mutation has a wing between the legs, wings attached to the arms, it's bigger than small wingsuits and you don't have full range of motion with the arms.


(This post was edited by setarkos on Aug 8, 2019, 2:30 AM)

MrAW

Aug 8, 2019, 2:20 AM
Post #7 of 16 (5265 views)
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Re: [bluhdow] National Geographic Article- BASE WINGSUIT DEATHS DECREASE [In reply to] Can't Post

I also found this a curious one:

"Better gear, however, can't compensate for inexperience and the jump in Lauterbrunnen, according to a few experienced wingsuiters, may have simply been too difficult for Malmberg's skill level."

From what I read on the BFL I can't see how it could have been an issue with the difficulty of the jump.

But aside from the interpretation of that recent incident I thought it was a pretty reasonable article.

bluhdow

Aug 8, 2019, 7:29 AM
Post #8 of 16 (5222 views)
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Re: [MrAW] National Geographic Article- BASE WINGSUIT DEATHS DECREASE [In reply to] Can't Post

The problem with the recap of the recent fatality was the biased source the author was using.

How interesting that an article which highlights Next Level as:

"a company that accepts only experienced students with the right attitudes."

...also falsely ties one of Next Levels biggest competitors to the fatality. (A fatality in which some jumpers on the load point to the Mutation as a possible causal factor, BTW.)

I think that any fair, reasonable jumper would consider LTBJ to be among the best when it comes to BASE education. Led by arguably one of the most skilled and positive contributors to our sport, Douggs.

That this article was used as a shot at LTBJ, and yet another marketing ploy, feels...dirty.

AntoineLaporte

Aug 8, 2019, 1:55 PM
Post #9 of 16 (5135 views)
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Re: [bluhdow] National Geographic Article- BASE WINGSUIT DEATHS DECREASE [In reply to] Can't Post

I saw less people in Lauterbrunnen than the previous years, same in the Bourne valley in France. But I see more people going into the mountains for the "big" jumps.
I think there is less beginners this year, but the people who started the previous years did not quit, so more people in general, but sport is growing slower.
Also "terrain flying" is less close to the ground as it was before on videos (exept some of course), I saw more people going for "gates" which I think is a bit safer.


About what is in the article...

"Frat has completed over 1,000 wingsuit BASE jumps. He and Gerdes are two of only a handful of wingsuit BASE-jumping instructors in the world. They teach for Next Level, a company that accepts only experienced students with the right attitudes."
It's so funny, 2 of only a hndful ! I can be a BASE-jumping instructors tomorrow as there is no degree in any country. They are like any other teacher in BASE self-promoted.
"that accepts only experienced students with the right attitudes."
Mouahahah, that's bullshit. Like any other course they take what's coming unless it looks really dangerous.

"You have to be crazy to want to jump off a cliff"
Not at all, you just have to calculate the ratio danger and control. I'm not crazy, maybe he is...

"less fabric between the arms and improved aerodynamics"
I would really like to know the improved aerodynamics compares to a wingsuit...

"the jump in Lauterbrunnen, according to a few experienced wingsuiters, may have simply been too difficult for Malmberg's skill level"
What is the relation between a no pull find and the difficulty of the jump ?

setarkos

Aug 9, 2019, 12:15 AM
Post #10 of 16 (5041 views)
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Re: [bluhdow] National Geographic Article- BASE WINGSUIT DEATHS DECREASE [In reply to] Can't Post

bluhdow wrote:
I think that any fair, reasonable jumper would consider LTBJ to be among the best when it comes to BASE education.

meh..., I think they don't get criticized enough for bringing people to the valley right away - it's not a place for beginners and as the biggest FJC provider in Europe they are setting a standard.


[Not saying you're wrong about the article selectively talking to Next Level and smearing LTBJ]

AntoineLaporte

Aug 9, 2019, 2:19 AM
Post #11 of 16 (5024 views)
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Re: [bluhdow] National Geographic Article- BASE WINGSUIT DEATHS DECREASE [In reply to] Can't Post

bluhdow wrote:
I think that any fair, reasonable jumper would consider LTBJ to be among the best when it comes to BASE education.

On this I would not agree.
To say that on is the best compares to others you have to compare it, and I don't think anybody has been watching the entire courses that can be taken to do that.

I know some stuff from LTBJ that I don't like, and same for some other FJC that I can watch around.

To answer to setarkos LTBJ is going first to Brento before Lauterbrunnen, like almost all the European FJC except the italian based ones who prefer to stay at home

setarkos

Aug 9, 2019, 2:31 AM
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Re: [AntoineLaporte] National Geographic Article- BASE WINGSUIT DEATHS DECREASE [In reply to] Can't Post

This is getting off-topic but of course I know they do a few Brento jumps but for many people that's not enough to go to the Valley next. Before LTBJ started I didn't see this being standard practice among other euro FJCs in the past few years.
I don't know for sure who did it first and the way the do it with multiple rigs and packing for students gives them more jumps in the same time frame than others probably. Still I've seen too many sketchy exits in the Valley by beginners who had been better off staying at Brento a little longer - LTBJ sutdents as well as others.

Dadsy

Aug 9, 2019, 2:48 AM
Post #13 of 16 (5017 views)
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Re: [setarkos] National Geographic Article- BASE WINGSUIT DEATHS DECREASE [In reply to] Can't Post

I know a jumper that did the LTBJ course and they weren't confident with his skills so they wouldn't take him to the valley, so they don't just take all their students there regardless

I dont know Douggs and have not done his course

AntoineLaporte

Aug 9, 2019, 3:41 AM
Post #14 of 16 (5007 views)
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Re: [setarkos] National Geographic Article- BASE WINGSUIT DEATHS DECREASE [In reply to] Can't Post

This is a bit off-topic indeed.
Before lots of FJC were not going to Brento.
Yellow Ocean was a standart first cliff, I think it is better to not confuse Valley and Valley's exits, Nose 1 being one of the safest cliff I know in Europe.
LTBJ is doing the same as the best FJC in Europe for their schedule, as far as I know the others, except the italian based ones who for cost reasons prefer to stay at home at Brento.

The guy they are talking about in the article died because of a no pull find, not because of the exit.
Last year one guy died for the same reason in Brento in a one piece suit, one of mine actually, where the pull is IMO easier than on the Mutation (size wise), not saying it is hard on the Mutation as I never tried it and nobody I know had experienced/report that to me.

unclecharlie95

Aug 18, 2019, 12:21 AM
Post #15 of 16 (4519 views)
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Re: [AntoineLaporte] National Geographic Article- BASE WINGSUIT DEATHS DECREASE [In reply to] Can't Post

AntoineLaporte wrote:
Last year one guy died for the same reason in Brento in a one piece suit, one of mine actually,

Off topic - after video review and talking with the deceased's partner it appears this was a health related issue, suit type was not relevant.

Regarding the article, Squirrel likes to throw stones, no surprise there. They don't like receiving them back much..

Also off topic: re. LTBJ taking students to Lauterbrunnen. LTBJ run an amazing, progressive course that focuses on tracking training from the moment you book your slot.

Sam, Douggs, Danny and co. do an incredible job, the problem I see is that now all the other courses are also offering Lauterbrunnen as a simple add on. I hope we don't see a return to late 90s 2000s trend of strikes in Lauter.

Between us, with discussion and humility we can influence the direction and safety of our small activity. So many incidents could be prevented through improved training and a more established culture of safety.

Less "send it" and more "training"

Less "like my video of me centimetres from death" and more "applause for sustainable flying"


(This post was edited by unclecharlie95 on Aug 18, 2019, 12:21 AM)

shorehambeach

Sep 16, 2019, 4:37 AM
Post #16 of 16 (2129 views)
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Re: [setarkos] National Geographic Article- BASE WINGSUIT DEATHS DECREASE [In reply to] Can't Post

As someone who did the LTBJ course in April this year (as a new base jumper with 0 base jumps and 500 skydives) i thought it would be insightful to give you the LTBJ course first hand.

Firstly they 'don't bring people to the valley right away' - far from it.

One of the key prerequisites for the course is tracking in a classic PF 2 piece - at least 25 times including dead air if you can. The only suit you can use on the course is the classic.

The course is in three parts (Croatia Brento and Lauterbrunnen) and you have to pass each stage to progress to the next one. This isn't a gimmic.

The course starts with the pendulator (exit training). You do this until you have a good exit.

Croatia consists of 20 + jumps from PCA/ hand held / static / stowed / off the rail then 2 ways and then multiways.

Each debriefing is working on, amongst many things, the correct exit position.

If you pass this stage then you move onto Brento.

The first jump is slick and, if correctly executed, you can then exit with your 2 piece.

If your 6 jumps and exits are correctly done with an appropriate track then you can move onto the final part of the course in Lauterbrunnen.

Our course had 10 initial students (with an approx average of 800 skydives each) including 2 x TI's and 2 base jumpers) and only 8 of us made it to the valley.

I have been back to the valley since and am back there again in a few weeks - even though i have relatively small jump numbers the course teachings and progression (including the 12 months of preparation leading upto the course) and the way Douggs Sam and the LTBJ team teach mean that I am happy to match my new found skill sets to certain specified exits in the valley .

This was my course:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aa1tNpDrLWg

Thanks for reading.


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