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Helicopters and Skydiving


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What are the rules in relation to helicopters that might transition an area where skydiving is performed? There is a parachute symbol just east of KCMA. This is an area frequented by helicopters as it is over railroad tracks and somewhat less noise sensitive.

 

Is the drop zone restricted airspace?

Does a skydiver have right of way over aircraft?

Does a parachute have right of way over an aircraft?

Should a helicopter avoid this area, and alternatively fly over a densely populated area?

Should a helicopter avoid this area, and alternatively fly over a noise sensitive area?

Should a helicopter just fly through the drop zone?

What FARs are applicable?

Should a aircraft on an instrument approach fly through the drop zone?

 

I respect that all involved in a collision will most likely die.

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I respect that all involved in a collision will most likely die.

 

Yes, you will.

 

When the zone is active you will hear it on the CMA ATIS. When its active I stay away altogether, and take an alternate route east....maybe follow the 101 instead of cutting thru that area. I go up NE along Santa Rosa Road, staying well clear of New LA Avenue, which is near the drop zone.

 

Most of the rules are found in FAR 105. There are a few references in AIM 3-2-1 and AIM 3-5-5.

 

Basically, its see- avoid- stay the hell away! If you're flying over a noise sensitive area, just fly higher.

 

Goldy

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Information on Parachute Jump Areas is in the back of the AFD (Airport Facility Directory), see pg. 390 for the Southwest U.S.

 

The Drop Zone for CMA has a 2 nm radius, distance is 8.4 nm on the 000 radial from nearest VOR, max altitude 14,500', sunrise to sunset, 1 minute call on CMA twr freq.

 

LR22

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I am a skydiver...

 

Here are a few things to keep in mind that might not be in the FARs! ;)

 

First and foremost, people say all the time that "you'd never catch me jumping out of a perfectly good airplane".. well, if it was a "perfectly good airplane" it wouldn't be at a drop zone! :lol:

 

Especially at smaller drop zones, the AC could be single engine 172s, 182s or similar.. the lucky ones might have a 206, but they all will be old as dirt.. MOST of these planes will have names like "duct tape" or "shudder"... and they will be filled to the brim with people, definitely close to, or over max gross weight on every flight. There will be a lot of activity in the airplane which can distract the pilot. Some of these planes will not have radios, and some that do will not use them... so the chances of seeing you or even knowing you are there is diminished (being nice).

 

The pilot will probably not be the spotter; that is the person that looks out the open door and judges the wind and tells the rest of the jumpers to "go". The spotter may be spotting for their first time.. he/or she could easily drop the jumpers way off course, or miss judge the wind. (the more prudent spotters will make a dry pass and drop a streamer over the airport, they watch it till it lands and then off set the jumpers that distance). The wind could change, or they could just guess and exit on the first pass.. or, they could not care.... the jumpers, especially students or "100 jump wonders" could get blown miles from the area... (they might even be teaching someone a lesson by dropping them way off course so they have to walk home).

 

Student jumpers are way safer now days because they usually have radio coaching from the ground, but they can get blown miles from the drop zone for many jumps.. and i can tell you for sure that they don't have a clue what is going on around them.. it's enough just to get to the ground in one piece.. much less have any situational awareness.....

 

Skydivers are not supposed to fly thru clouds, or free fall thru them, but, sometimes it happens.. i have been in free fall and passed about 50 yards from a glider at 7000', the pilot never knew i was there... i could tell he was wearing Okleys, it would have been ugly if i had pulled or simply hit the glider..

 

The jumpers may be exiting in masse or not.. they could exit over two or three miles.. sometimes a tandem rider freezes at the door and it takes a few seconds to get them to let go of the door :o , this could put them out three or four miles from the drop zone.. and if there are others after.. they will be even further out. Everyone exits around 12K, but i have jumped from 20k with out O2.. that pilot is now dead from passing out on final after one of those jumps in a King Air... he was a really nice guy.. but he is dead.. he hit the ocean going about 200kts...

 

One of my favorite things to do was to exit at 14K and pull.. then fly cross country for ten or twelve miles down the beach to land back at the drop zone.. we never carried radios.. knowing what i know now i would have.

 

This post is not to diss the jumpers, there are many that are amazing pilots and skydivers.. but i wanted to give you some insight from the exit door...

 

I fly near a drop zone over Longmont Colorado... i give them lots of room and respect.. every single time...

 

aloha,

 

dp

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Ditto on everything RkyMtnHI said. It also never hurts to take a drive over there and talk to them. Find out what aircraft they're flying, frequencys they jump on, and jump altitudes. Communicate! Also find out how much it is to jump there... and make reservations! :D

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Ditto on everything RkyMtnHI said. It also never hurts to take a drive over there and talk to them. Find out what aircraft they're flying, frequencys they jump on, and jump altitudes. Communicate! Also find out how much it is to jump there... and make reservations! :D

 

 

the best info yet, and i'm truly sorry i didn't add it to my post..

 

thanks ajbell

 

dp

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Dude! I didn't know you skydived. I knew you were nuts, but not insane. What don't you do??? :lol:

 

He doesnt dive to 300 feet and jump out at 14K....on the same day. At least not yet.

 

Goldy

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He doesnt dive to 300 feet and jump out at 14K....on the same day. At least not yet.

 

Oh come one Goldy, RkyMntHI seems like a stand up kind of guy. Lets let him reverse the order and jump then dive so he can live to repeat it. ;) You can do a dawn patrol jump from 18k at Skydive Santa Barbara (KLPC) and then go dive out at the Channel Islands that afternoon.

 

I think the jumping at CMA is mostly tandem jumps. CMA seems like a very friendly airport. I leave happy every time I visit. Never jumped there, just attended seminars sponsored by the 99s or visited the cafe.

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or visited the cafe.

 

Doesnt get any better than that one. Only problem being based there, is there is no good airport restaurant to fly to !

 

Very friendly field, but it gets really busy on the weekends, gotta listen up!

 

Never thought of doing the jump first and then the dive...dammit. DP will do it in a flash.

 

Goldy

Edited by Goldy
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Is the drop zone restricted airspace?

Does a skydiver have right of way over aircraft?

Does a parachute have right of way over an aircraft?

Should a helicopter avoid this area, and alternatively fly over a densely populated area?

Should a helicopter avoid this area, and alternatively fly over a noise sensitive area?

Should a helicopter just fly through the drop zone?

What FARs are applicable?

Should a aircraft on an instrument approach fly through the drop zone?

 

I flew out of an uncontrolled airport with heavy flight training and parachute operations, and the nerves factor went way up whenever we'd hear "Jumpers over the airport!" They used a cleared area on the airport surface that was in our pattern and near the approach end of the taxiway. The skydive operation and the school appeared to just have an informal MOU, and the briefing we got was that the skydive op "usually" announced jumpers away and jumpers on the ground, occasionally called the number of jumpers, and the jumpers avoided helicopter traffic. It wasn't exactly an arrangement that I was ever comfortable with. If the operator didn't call the number of jumpers and we were on downwind, we'd ask (and usually get an accurate response) and extend our pattern, or exit the pattern if we couldn't account for all of them. I can only remember a few times where we had to make a diversion for them (or their ground crews), and once where they were jumping with a ceiling above us....

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