Airport Security Questioned By Parents, Skydivers

Discussion in 'Aviation Passenger Security in the USA' started by Mike, Feb 25, 2013.

  1. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    Retards @ work, the nth sequel ...

    Gadling: Airport Security Questioned By Parents, Skydivers

    The February issue of Blue Skies, a monthly print magazine about skydiving, BASE jumping, paragliding, wingsuiting and other forms of human-powered flying has a story detailing what pro skydiver and pilot Dean Ricci calls the "TSA Two-Step."

    Ricci describes what skydivers commonly experience every time they go through a TSA checkpoint with their "rig," a container that carries their parachute, a backup parachute and what is called a CYPRES device. Technically an Automatic Activation Device (AAD), CYPRES is a brand name, an acronym for Cybernetic Parachute Release System and an important safety feature, which automatically deploys the parachute at a pre-set altitude should something go wrong in free fall.

    Few skydivers turn their rig in to airlines as checked luggage, preferring to keep the $5000+ equipment, which fits in a commercial airliner's overhead storage with them at all times, for a couple reasons. First, since humans don't actually fly, this is the equipment that has a great deal to do with if they live or die. Understandably, they don't want it tossed around like luggage. Also, the value of the equipment usually exceeds the maximum airlines will pay for lost items.

    To make going through checkpoints a smooth process and to avoid panic among other air travelers (imagine if others in line saw TSA agents visually inspecting a parachute then allowing that passenger to board the plane) skydivers carry a CYPRES card, which explains what is inside the container ...

    Still, under x-ray inspection, the delicate AAD instrument looks quite suspicious – so suspicious that the TSA and U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) have special rules allowing the container to pass through inspection if it looks somewhat like on the CYPRES card being carried by its owner.

    Apparently though, not all TSA inspectors have been trained on how to handle such matters.

    [Memo to parachutists: TSA agents aren't trainable.]

    Because passing through security is almost always a problem, Ricci brings along a copy of TSA guidelines as they pertain to skydiving equipment to at least point TSA agents in the right direction when going through security.

    [Memo to parachutists: Neither can they read, nor do they give a hoot about their own guidelines.]

    He took that information with him in advance of a recent flight out of Sacramento International airport too.

    Nonetheless, after a 20 minute discussion with TSA personnel about the matter, Ricci was allowed to leave his AAD and emergency parachute untouched but instructed to remove his main parachute from its container which totally covered the secondary screening area, well within sight of other air travelers.


  2. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    Not everyone packs his own chute, so this could render the chute unsafe to use until it's repacked by their rigger, also exposes it to damage -- I could just imagine one of their "I-know-what-I'm-doing-don't-tell-me-how-to-do-my-job" specials walk on the chute & tripping on the riggings. :eek:
  3. RB

    RB Founding Member

    I belonged to a jump club in a prior life. We packed our mains. Reserves had to be packed by a certified rigger. Things may have changed.
  4. Caradoc

    Caradoc Original Member

    Parachutes, SCUBA gear, and drug pumps - the TSA's knuckle-dragging thugs certainly do carry a penchant for messing with things that could result in the death of the person they're supposedly protecting, don't they?

    In any case, it has proven impossible to train TSA employees for something as simple as "stop telling people it's illegal to take video at the checkpoint." I don't know why anyone thinks they're capable of understanding anything more complicated than that (as noted in my .sig lines).
  5. N965VJ

    N965VJ Original Member

    I strongly disagree. Screening passengers and belongings for weapons, explosives and incendiaries does not require any sort of law enforcement or paramilitary personnel to do the task, which Ricci seems to imply.

    Screening should be done by private sector employees, with oversight by the FAA. Every airport already has law enforcement officers to act should the need arise.
    Caradoc likes this.
  6. Caradoc

    Caradoc Original Member

    I agree with you. Screening passengers and belongings for weapons, explosives and incendiaries simply requires personnel who are capable of actually thinking - which the TSA is certainly lacking.

    And those screenings/searches really need to be limited in scope as per that "administrative search" protocol - if it's not a weapon, explosive or incendiary that presents a threat to the security of the aircraft, then it simply doesn't exist in the eyes of the person performing the search.

    ...and any time someone's baggage needs to be opened while they aren't present, that needs to happen under the eyes of at least two video cameras if not three (to eliminate "blind spots."

    ...and personnel need to have basic communications and interpersonal skills.

    So far, the TSA fails on every count.
  7. FaustsAccountant

    FaustsAccountant Original Member

    As did I, in my younger years. But I'm sure a certain someone will be along shortly to claim that his airport has a slew of certified riggers employed there in addition to the collection of other experts.
    All he's missing among his co-workers is a catholic pope, but hey, I hear one just freed up....
  8. RB

    RB Founding Member

    Did you pack your mains?
  9. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    If there aren't enough used Popes to go around, there seems to be no shortage of archbishops with issues.
  10. Frank

    Frank Original Member

    Blind in one eye, can barely stand, yeah he's TSA material.
  11. Caradoc

    Caradoc Original Member

    ...and he's used to covering up scandals. Certainly TSA material.
  12. FaustsAccountant

    FaustsAccountant Original Member

    Yes, I learned as soon as I could, because if something was to go wrong with it, I wanted to be my fault. Now I usually had someone watching me, but it was my own hands, my own responsibility.
  13. RB

    RB Founding Member

    That and if you wanted more than one jump you laid out your chute staked the pack and folded the laundry. It's not all that hard. Old conical chutes could be shoved in a paper bag and still function. Most of the time.:D

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