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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation A-08-070
Synopsis: Parachute jump (or skydiving) operations, which the Federal Aviation Administration defines as the activities performed for the purpose of or in support of the descent parachutists (or skydivers) who jump from aircraft, are a segment of U.S. general aviation that transports parachutists on at least 2. 16 to 3 million jumps annually, according to data compiled by the United States Parachute Association (USPA). Most parachute operations flights are operated under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 and are typically revenue operations; parachute jump operators provide the flights as part of their services to parachutists who pay to go skydiving, or parachutists pay dues for membership in parachuting clubs. The risks of parachuting are generally perceived to involve the acts of jumping from the aircraft, deploying the parachute, and landing; parachutists are aware of and manage these risks. However, the National Transportation Safety Board’s special investigation of the safety of parachute jump operations found that traveling on parachute operations flights can also present risks. Since 1980, 32 accidents involving parachute operations aircraft have killed 172 people, most of whom were parachutists.
Recommendation: TO THE UNITED STATES PARACHUTE ASSOCIATION: Once Advisory Circular (AC) 105-2C, Sport Parachute Jumping, has been revised to include guidance for parachute jump operators in implementing effective initial and recurrent pilot training and examination programs that address, at a minimum, operation- and aircraft-specific weight and balance calculations, preflight inspections, emergency procedures, and parachutist egress procedures, distribute this revised AC to your members and encourage dherence to its guidance.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Exceeds Recommended Action
Mode: Aviation
Location: SULLIVAN, MO, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Accident #: CHI06FA210
Accident Reports: Crash of Skydive Quantum Leap de Havilland DHC-6-100, N203E
Report #: SIR-08-01
Accident Date: 7/29/2006
Issue Date: 9/25/2008
Date Closed: 2/13/2012
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: United States Parachute Association (Closed - Exceeds Recommended Action)
Keyword(s): Jump Operations,

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: United States Parachute Association
Date: 2/13/2012
Response: On May 18, 2011, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) published AC 105-2D, which includes the recommended training and checkout procedures for pilots of aircraft carrying parachutists. USPA subsequently distributed the revised AC to its members (via e-mail) and published two articles in the USPA monthly magazine Parachutist to encourage jump aircraft operators to adhere to the new AC guidance. Consequently, Safety Recommendation A-08-70 was classified “Closed—Acceptable Action” on October 19, 2011. We note that the USPA has also urged operators to enhance their jump pilot training regimen and has developed and included in the 2011 USPA Skydiving Aircraft Operations Manual and the Jump Pilot Training Syllabus additional guidance on pilot training and proficiency. We believe that these additional actions are responsive and go beyond the scope of Safety Recommendation A-08-70. Accordingly, the recommendation is reclassified CLOSED—EXCEEDS RECOMMENDED ACTION.

From: United States Parachute Association
Date: 10/25/2011
Response: -From Edward M. Scott, Executive Director: Just as I prepared to send this final response to A-08-70, A-08-73, and A-08-74, I received your October 19 letter, indicating that the three recommendations had been classified as “Closed—Acceptable Action.” I ask that you and your staff review this packet fully describing all of our actions, and determine whether any of the recommendations should be reclassified as “Closed—Exceeds Recommended Action.” FAA Advisory Circular 105-2D, Sport Parachuting, was published on May 18, 2011. USPA then made the Advisory Circular available to our members by direct e-mail (App. A), and advised our members of the new AC in two separate articles (App. Band C) in the association's monthly magazine, Parachutist. The second article specifically advised jump aircraft operators to adhere to the advisory circular guidance relating to pilot responsibilities. However, USPA was not content to simply rely on the revised Advisory Circular to educate our operators about the importance of good initial jump pilot training and the need to maintain pilot proficiency. Accordingly, USPA has developed ancillary materials about pilot training and proficiency and has already disseminated them among jump operators, urging them to enhance their jump pilot training regimen. These materials include the 2011 USPA Skydiving Aircraft Operations Manual (App. D) and the Jump Pilot Training Syllabus (App. E), both of which are fully available to anyone on our website at ningitabidi544iDefaulLaspx. The proprietary Flight Operations Handbook is also available to all USPA Group Member skydiving operations in a password-protected area of our website.

From: NTSB
To: United States Parachute Association
Date: 10/19/2011
Response: On May 18, 2011, the FAA published AC 105-2D, which includes recommended training and checkout procedures for pilots of aircraft carrying parachutists. Mr. Ottinger notified us that the USPA subsequently highlighted this information in two USPA articles, which were e-mailed to its members. The USPA’s efforts to distribute the revised AC and encourage its members to adhere to the AC’s guidance satisfy Safety Recommendation A-08-70. Accordingly, the recommendation is classified CLOSED—ACCEPTABLE ACTION.

From: United States Parachute Association
Date: 4/7/2011
Response: CC# 201100180: - From Ed Scott, Executive Director: Enclosed you'll find the response by the U.S. Parachute Association to NTSB Safety Recommendation A08-69. After reviewing it, I hope you and your staff will agree that USPA took some bold steps that went above and beyond the actions called for by A-08-09. As I expressed to you at the end of the NTSB hearing on September 16, 2008, USPA was going to use this opportunity to educate and assist our operators with meeting the aircraft inspection and maintenance .~ requirements of the FAA. The cornerstone of our efforts included a revision to our program by which skydive operators affiliate with USPA. Affiliation now requires submittal of a new form that solicits information about the specific inspection program that each jump aircraft is subject to. Operator acceptance was universal. USPA is looking forward to advising the NTSB of our efforts with respect to Safety Recommendations A08-70, A-08-73, and A-08-74 which all await FAA publication of revised Advisory Circular 105-2D.

From: NTSB
To: United States Parachute Association
Date: 4/2/2010
Response: Safety Recommendation A-08-67, which asked the FAA to revise AC 105-2C, Sport Parachute Jumping, as described above, was simultaneously issued to the FAA. The USPA indicated that it agrees with the intent of this safety recommendation and is working with the FAA to develop guidance for operators that will be incorporated in the FAA’s next revision of AC 105-2. The NTSB notes that the revision will include recommended training and check-out procedures for pilots of aircraft carrying parachutists. In a March 12, 2009, letter to the NTSB, the FAA discussed its work with the USPA to update AC 105-2. According to the FAA’s letter, the revision will include additional guidance for pilots, operators, and parachutists on the safe conduct of sport parachuting operations. Pending the completion of the revised AC, the USPA’s distribution of it, and the USPA’s encouraging members to adhere to the AC’s guidance, Safety Recommendation A-08-70 is classified OPEN -- ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: United States Parachute Association
Date: 12/22/2008
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 1/12/2009 11:34:54 AM MC# 2090001: - From Edward M. Scott, Executive Director: The U.S. Parachute Association takes this opportunity to respond to the recommendations arising from the Special Investigation Report on the Safety of Sport Parachute Jump Operations NTSB/SIR-08/0 1. Frankly, we have several concerns about the methodology used in the SIR, as well as some concern about the NTSB’s understanding of the regulations applied to commercial operations conducted under 14 CFR 91, In the end, however, we concur that actions can and should be taken to ensure that skydiving operators understand and fully comply with aircraft maintenance requirements of the federal aviation regulations, and that actions can and should be taken to enhance the knowledge, skill, and proficiency of pilots engaged in parachute operations. Special Investigation Report The SIR reached back to include accidents that occurred more than 28 years ago. The predominate large aircraft used for skydiving through the 1970s and into the 1980s were Beech-18s and DC-3s-aircraft with radial engines which were much less reliable than the turbine engine aircraft in use today. Pilot training then wasn’t as thorough or regimented either. And skydiver use of seat belts was not widespread. Accidents then were more numerous and fatalities were higher due to these circumstances. Using accident data from 28 years ago overstates the current problem. Fatal Accident Rate USPA was never asked to provide data for the SIR. Therefore, NTSB didn’t know the size and disparity of the skydiving fleet, nor did the NTSB know the flight hours of the skydiving fleet. Based on an estimated average 112,000 hours flown by jump operators per year from 1999 forward, we’ve determined that our industry has a fatal accident rate of 1.49 per 100,000 flight hours. This compares favorably with general aviation’s fatal accident rate of 1.42 for the same period. Enclosed is an article from the November 2008 issue of USPA’s monthly Parachutist magazine, which will provide additional data about the size, diversity, and flight hours of the U.S. jump fleet. Commercial Operations At the public hearing, the NTSB staff did not adequately address how commercial operators are allowed to operate under 14 CFR 91, but with enhanced maintenance and pilot requirements that are over and above those of other Part 91 operators. Certain commercial operators (including jump plane operators) are allowed by the FAA to operate under 14 CFR 9 1 as long as they comply with regulations that require enhanced maintenance intervals and as long as their pilots hold at least a commercial pilot certificate and 2’IdClass FAA medical certificate. These aircraft are subject to 100-hour inspections in addition to an annual inspection, or they must be maintained in accordance with a manufacturer’s maintenance program, a progressive maintenance program, or other FAA-approved maintenance program. Even so, we agree with the NTSB staffs stated conclusion at the public hearing that jump aircraft operations are well-served by 14 CFR 91 and there is no need to consider re-regulation resulting in placing parachute operations or jump aircraft in another FAR category such as 14 CFR 135 or 14 CFR 121, USPA Response USPA agrees that efforts are necessary to address the actions of a few marginal operators. With respect to maintenance, we believe that some operators are not aware of the applicable regulations, or that some regulations have been misinterpreted by operators, and even at times misinterpreted by the FAA. We intend to work closely with the FAA to clarify the regulations and to disseminate that information. With respect to pilot training, we believe we can develop guidelines for use by operators to improve pilot training and proficiency, and that we can disseminate those guidelines. On October 16, USPA representatives met with FAA Headquarters personnel from the Flight Standards Division to discuss substantive improvements in jump aircraft maintenance and pilot training. We’ve agreed that these goals can be reached without the need for additional federal regulation. First, USPA and FAA agree that all parachute operations that offer services to the general public and/or to experienced civilian skydivers for compensation are commercial operators’’ as defined by the general definitions section 14 CFR 1.1. Therefore, these operators will be held to the letter of the regulations with respect to aircraft maintenance and pilot qualifications. USPA and FAA also agreed to work together to develop and distribute guidance materials, as called for in Safety Recommendation A-08-69. USPA and FAA also agreed to incorporate guidance for these operators in the coming revision to FAA Advisory Circular 105-2 Sport Parachute Jumping, as called for in Safety Recommendation A-08-70. In fact, USPA has already been working with the FAA for several months on the revision of the advisory circular. The revision will include suggested training and check-out procedures for pilots of aircraft carrying parachutists. USPA will keep the National Transportation Safety Board apprised of progress on these initiatives.