By 9am this morning I've seen 4 tandem skydivers (2 loads) above Elwood emerging from 7/8 (and I'm being generous - because I can make out some blue) cloud directly above my house and directly over the very frequently used coastal/MB-CBD route.
First two had disappeared from my view for no more than a couple of minutes when a north bound aircraft passed directly across the path the two jumpers had also just taken.
I've always been convinced that day VMC jumping through this busy VFR class G airspace was a very poor idea but if they're going to jump through cloud (or very close to) then that just makes the concept worse.
Be careful transiting the Point Ormond area - apparently not only when the weather is fine.
They're jumping from Class C airspace so I'd assume the pilot wouldn't receive clearance to drop until the area is clear? Even if an aircraft transited the the Class G without a transponder ATC would still get a radar return in that area I'd assume.
Ladies, the skydiving company can have a 'Cloud Manual' approved by the APF Aus Parachuting Fed... aslong as the aircraft can climb in VMC (or IMC if IFR), it can drop a load but meat bombs CANNOT open in cloud... hence I think 4,000' from memory can be the lowest cloud base. However, I agree, most are loose operators... and YES I am stereotyping. 6 months, northern wet seasons... I survived!! The most unregulated, bullshit I was ever involved in, but it got me my next job so I shouldn't complain. Be safe
- yes - you can have a cloud jumping manual but I'm 99% these guys don't because of the busy airspace they operate it.
- the cloud base was 6k or so by the MB and EN METARS (both indicating BKN or OVC at the time) so they would have been opening after exiting
- the PIC is responsible for not dropping over other aircraft in G, ATC gives a clearance to drop in C and traffic if available below C. I don't know that low level traffic transitting coastal (the tiger moth scenics for example) would even give a primary paint?
All parachute ops (except when covered by a cloud manual) require the landing point to be in view on exit - impossible this morning.
I too have flown for such mobs and the pressure to operate outside the rules is immense and so I no longer am involved.
I'll bet all skydive pilots regularly break VMC, whether it be not maintaining distances from cloud above 3000' or clipping the occasional cloud. I wouldn't say what they do is dangerous but unfortunately it's illegal. The pilot of VH-MOO must be under a bit of pressure operating over St. Kilda with all those eyes watching him. If he is reading this thread I'm sure he also biting his lip.
Blatant liar, I see you living up to your name. Your total inexperiance is laughable, perhaps you need another forum to frequent ...
I have worked for two different skydive operations and both were highly professional. I have a dozen or so jumps myself, have been to the Nats and have hung about the drop zone scene as a pilot on and off for years. No pressure has ever been applied to me to break the rules, on the contrary the operators I have seen have been very conservative, safe and have taken their game very seriously indeed.
The cloud jumping manual is drop zone specific is it not? So the question is, do they have a cloud jumping manual?
I wouldn't be a happy VFR camper transiting that airspace knowing that they have a cloud jumping manual. Surely if a cloud jumping manual was being assessed for this operation the affect it would have on transiting aircraft would be taken into account before being approved?
Poor punters being dropped above 8/8ths, great freefall scenery.......NOT!
1) yes you can jump through cloud.... parachutes must be open by about 4000 feet clear of cloud depending on type of jumps and location.
2) yes they can decent through VFR airspace, hence why there is a little symbol that means there is parachuting in this area that many people take no notice of and the very same people tend not to monitor the area freq...
3) Cloud manual is company specific and even aircraft specific... pilot's must hold an instrument rating
4) Blatant liar, you are an idiot, the operator at st kilda is very professional and senior pilot is a good guy with lots of experience, have a read of the link below
for all of you arm chair experts and bar stool lawyers.... here is and interesting link
Am I a liar too? I too have worked for 2 skydive operators where I was pressured to fly VFR into IMC (tropics and the big wet). Yes I did t and YES I ain't proud. The words when I burred up "if you don't do it I've got a 100 resumes of guys who will" come to mind. I guess I was selfish and young and only had my aspirations in mind... Again, not proud of it as I'm not a cowboy. Anyway must have dreamt it, I'm off to spread my bs elsewhere! Ciao!
Certainly not in my books Beaver and the word isn't in your user name either
There are cowboys in most industries, I don't profess that the skydive crowd is any different. In my GA career I have been asked to push through crap weather, exceed duty times and more but this ain't the norm either.
CAAP 152-1(10) begs to differ... if the aircraft is to be operated in IMC then it is required to be IFR. Else it goes down to the manual specification, yes i agree you can climb and decend VMC (there is alternate requirements)
The specific manuals will also stipulate the minimum quals required, but in most places I know of and have flown at CIR was a min.
The motif of the manual where the aircraft is not IFR is for SCT cloud however i agree most operators will take this to the extreme.
Beaver.... Hindsight is a wonderful thing isn't it, are you saying you would tell someone not to do the exact tame thing as what you did only now because you have got through that stage in your career, buy some kleenex. I think most people have done stuff in there career that they are not proud of.
Perhaps it's not so much a question of the legalities of what they are doing but the safety (and even the perception of safety) of it that needs to be considered?
I have watched and listened to them operating in the Yarra Valley for years And yes, most times they are pretty good at making their landing where they want it. But, just occasionally, they aren't so good.
The strip of land they are mcoming down on is a narrow one. The Bay is prone to strong wind gusts. There is water on one side and dense housing on the other. The bit of sky they fall through is associated with the busiest light aircraft lane in the country.
So when does common sense override adrenalin and the almighty $? Who pays if one of us ploughs into one of them on the way down?
kaz3g: I was in a different location but similar circumstances, why does no one these days monitor area freq? parachute aircraft in these areas will broadcast on the area freq, ctaf and any lanes/cta areas? I have had the pleasant experience of explaining this to a number professionals once I had landed back at the airport and they had changed their underwear after seeing lots of "colourful things in the sky"
CAAP 152-1(10) begs to differ... if the aircraft is to be operated in IMC then it is required to be IFR.
The DZs I've worked with cloud manuals did not operate aircraft IMC. Your logic is a bit skewed - you don't need IFR to drop darts through cloud - only if you want to fly IMC yourself.
why does no one these days monitor area freq
The carriage of radio is not required in G.
I often observe jump pilots cajoling passers-by into moving out of the way or telling them that jumpers are exiting. The law says that the skydivers have to give way to aircraft. In my experience, it's often the jump planes at fault for the underwear staining as they launch the meatbombs knowing that there are aircraft below.
Have heard on Melbourne Radar (oops Melbourne Centre) VH MOO request upgrade to IFR, have heard him descend IFR, make visual via the YMMB NDB approach.
I assume (and happy to be corrected) that the Elwood zone does not have cloud dropping approval. If so - how on earth is it necessary for the drop ship to upgrade for an NDB!!!! Flightaware seems to back up the occasional NDB.
Don't get me wrong - I'm not blaming the pilot(s) - it's the tandem-master who has to decide if the vis is ok to jump. The pilot can be doing everything else right.....
Aircraft in the area can be on any one of a number of frequencies (or none for the non-radio and non-transponder equipped):
EN or MB TWR frequencies (getting an appreciation of the traffic picture and preparing to call;
listening to EN or MB ATIS;
Combine this with navigating close to CTA steps, keeping an eye out for traffic, all in a short period of time and distance - and throw a student pilot into the mix - along with being on a busy VFR route suggests it isn't the best of locations for PJE.