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Thread: Beware Parachute Operations at Mineral Canyon, Utah

  1. #1
    tedwaltman1's Avatar
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    Beware Parachute Operations at Mineral Canyon, Utah

    Yesterday Sept 26 at approx. 10 am I was first of 3 Super Cubs inbound to Mineral Canyon (Identifier UT75). I announced our pending arrival on the radio on 122.90 three separate times. Once at 5 miles W; once at 3 miles W and the last time “Left Base to Final Downstream Landing.” (Landing runway 14).

    As I turned final I noticed a number of what appeared to be people on the runway—as in 10+. There was also a parachute almost touching down on the upstream end of the runway (the end of runway 32).

    At no time was there any acknowledgement to my radio calls from anyone on the ground of any runway conflict. Apparently no one on the ground had a handheld radio—or they were on 122.8 (the KCNY frequency).

    I notified the other Super Cubs in our flight of 3 “Do not land.” We climbed out downriver.

    I changed frequency to 122.8 and heard a jump plane in the pattern at KCNY. I asked him if he had just dropped off jumpers at Mineral Canyon. “Yes.” I informed him that no one on the ground apparently has a handheld as there was no reply to any of my radio calls on 122.9. He replied, “That’s because we operate on 122.8.” I informed him that the backcountry frequency, and that of Mineral Canyon, is 122.9. There was no acknowledgement from the pilot.

    Be aware! There were no NOTAMS. No way to know of this potentially very hazardous situation!
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    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    Ted, Welcome to the club!
    Parachute people have a tendency to move in and take over without regards to any other people aviators or not, whether they be in the air or on the ground. They are worse than the usual traffic pattern scofflaws in that not only do they disregard the direction of their entry and departure, they include high speed descents into the pattern's air space. Don't waist your time speaking with Mr. FAA about the issue as he will do nothing.

    A young smart alec jump pilot here had an issue when he landed fast on an 1860 foot runway with excellent approaches, tipping the junky 182 over on it's back. His excuse: "The radio wasn't working". At least that put them out of business for the season.
    N1PA
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    windy's Avatar
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    I hope you did a very low pass over the airstrip to remind the parachute jumpers that they’re in your way.


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    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    N1PA
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    hotrod180's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skywagon8a View Post
    .....Parachute people have a tendency to move in and take over without regards to any other people aviators or not, whether they be in the air or on the ground. They are worse than the usual traffic pattern scofflaws in that not only do they disregard the direction of their entry and departure, they include high speed descents into the pattern's air space. Don't waist your time speaking with Mr. FAA about the issue as he will do nothing. .....
    I agree.
    We had a situation at a nearby airport where a jump club moved in for the summer (actually, a couple summers in a row).
    The jump plane was a clapped out 182 with one radio.
    So they couldn't comply with the FARs (maintain radio contact with ATC from "jumpers away" to "jumpers down"),
    and AIM (monitor CTAF frequency) at the same time.
    So they follow the FAR & ignored the AIM.
    Plus some sloppy, negligent ops landing & taking off.
    After some near misses, and some retaliatory "I'll show him" behaviour from a couple local pilots,
    I called the FSDO.
    Told the guy I talked to that it was a dangerous situation, and getting worse,
    and was liable to result in some bent metal if not worse,
    and that he should go up & observe at the airport in question some weekend.
    Or at least give the jump outfit a phone call, maybe that'd do the trick.
    He pretty much blew me off.
    I told him that if or more likely when something happened,
    I was gonna call the newspapers, & everyone else I could think of,
    and tell them that I warned "Mr Smith" at the local FAA office about the situation and he refused to follow up on it.
    That got his attention but I still don't think he actually did anything.
    But the jump pilot ran their plane out of fuel on short final & crashed shortly after that,
    so the situation kind of solved itself.
    Cessna Skywagon-- accept no substitute!
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    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Longley View Post
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    I had a similar incident happen to me while taking off in a Cessna 140 back in 1961. I was about 200 feet in the air when a parachute drifted down in front of the windshield. The only choice I had was to push the nose down, when by some miracle I went under the parachute rider. I'll bet he had to clean his pants after that. Ever since then, periodically I've observed parachute operations up close. None of them were very professional nor operated in a safe manner. I witnessed one fatal jump, as did my wife on another occasion.

    I had Mr FAA come to discuss and observe on one occasion. His response was "he built time as a jump pilot". That was a wasted visit.
    N1PA
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    hotrod180's Avatar
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    The few jump operations I've observed seemed to have jump plane pilots that were primarily skydivers,
    with a pilot add-on. Definitely seemed to have the skydiver mindset.
    Cessna Skywagon-- accept no substitute!
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    Eddie Foy's Avatar
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    Usually when i hear a broadcast that jumpers will be deplaning, It sounds like they are saying it as fast as possible and usually unintelligible.
    "Put out my hand and touched the face of God!"
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    txpacer's Avatar
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    I recently had a sim with young Lt who had 650 jumps at the Air Force Academy. I asked if she had ever jumped civilian, she had not. My advice to her was that if she ever did, be sure not to inhale too deeply. That sort of thing could show up on a urinalysis.

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    Quote Originally Posted by skywagon8a View Post

    A young smart alec jump pilot here had an issue when he landed fast on an 1860 foot runway with excellent approaches, tipping the junky 182 over on it's back. His excuse: "The radio wasn't working". At least that put them out of business for the season.
    Was that at 7B9?

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    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pouellette View Post
    was that at 7b9?
    28m
    N1PA

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    Mineral Bottom is a backcountry strip, not a towered airport, and it might be a bit unrealistic to think hazards will be covered by a notam. I have been in there when there has been snow, and enough mud that could put you over on your back if you landed in the wrong spot. I approach every such landing area with an inspection to check for animals, vehicles or wrecked aircraft on the strip. Also looking for wetness, gopher holes, cow trails and other things that could wreck your day.

    Many aircraft operating low level around CNY are on 122.8 so they can keep track of the jump plane and the airliner flights.
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    Is this an attempt to excuse the lack of radio announcements on the documented strip frequency of 122.9?

    (yes, we all monitor 122.8 when around CNY. But CNY is not the center of our attention when landing at Mexican Mountain or Mineral or...)
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    Quote Originally Posted by txpacer View Post
    I recently had a sim with young Lt who had 650 jumps at the Air Force Academy. I asked if she had ever jumped civilian, she had not. My advice to her was that if she ever did, be sure not to inhale too deeply. That sort of thing could show up on a urinalysis.
    Like the early days of hang gliding? Couldn't afford windsocks, the smoke served well enough to do a wind check, or so i was told.

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    I’m not sticking up for operators that aren’t safety concerned or conscious. Operators that don’t make an effort to fit into the flow and make other pilots aware of heir operation. But I’m pretty bummed about the attitudes expressed here. Seems like quite the whitewashing of all skydive operators. I have several thousand hours flying jumpers (including some into mineral bottom where we had a NOTAM and I made calls on local and back country). I have made an effort in my career as a jump pilot to make thins as safe for everyone involved as possible. And I don’t believe that I am the exception to a rule that’s being espoused here.

    Perhaps rather that starting straight away with red faced finger wagging, or a holier than thou attitude, an amicable meeting could be made with your local club if there are issues occurring. One way to for sure get ignored or make things worse is to stand on your porch and yell at the punk kids to get off your lawn.

    On a side note, I now fly Smoke jumpers for the federal government where we take safety and procedures extremely seriously. This summer some of the “flying cowboys” , so venerated on you tube, came in to mccall with their heads so far up their butts as to how to talk on the radio, avoid a very obvious jump operation, and enter a pattern like civilized pilots. AIM? I don’t think they’ve seen it. I had to do several laps, holding my smokejumpers as they blew through the easily avoided jump area that was announced to them many miles prior.


    I guess my point is: not all jump ops are sketch balls, and you probably all aren’t saints waiting on air medals either. Take it easy, be careful, and perhaps try some honey and throw out the vinegar.

    I’ll climb down off my soap box now and put on my poncho behind the chicken wire in front of the stage and prepare for the throwing of beer bottles.
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    I think it is more complicated.

    First, the date of this incident was during the annual Sky Dive Boogie at CNY, that brings several hundred jumpers and jump aircraft from out of the area. CNY is really busy between the airliner, regular activity, and the jumping. We generally try to avoid CNY for the days of the event, as it is crazy.

    We have had a hangar here at CNY over ten years, and have knowledge from having flown a variety of aircraft in and out. SOP for the jump aircraft is to depart on 122.8, climb out in a direction required by the winds aloft to get their jumpers back to the field, and then talk with Denver Center on 134.5 to de-conflict from other aircraft. Denver advises incoming aircraft of the position of the jump aircraft.

    As to “UT75,” I am not even sure where that designator came from. If you type “UT75” or Mineral Canyon into ForeFlight, you get nothing, so I am not sure where you would find this hypothetical notam. The sectional doesn’t use UT75, but has Mineral Canyon and a “R,” indicating private. A search of Mineral Canyon shows it as private, controlled by BLM, and requiring prior permission before landing. I assume the skydivers had a permit from BLM, as they were dropping jumpers and transporting them back out of theare by vehicle. They probably thought the OP was the issue, not their ops.

    A lot of words to say, keep your head on a swivel flying into backcountry strips, and recognize you aren’t operating into a towered airport. I can’t comment on skydivers generally, but we mix skydivers, balloons, airliners, helicopters and a bunch of Bush aircraft daily at CNY.
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    Gordon Misch's Avatar
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    UT75 is recognized in the FAA's NOTAM search here. https://notams.aim.faa.gov/notamSearch/nsapp.html#/
    Gordon

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    My SPOT: tinyurl.com/N4328M (case sensitive)
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    Kodiakmack's Avatar
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    There can also be parachute or other NOTAMS not associated with an airport. Good practice dictates to employ a pointer NOTAM that “points” to nearby airports if you’re only searching for NOTAMS at airports. We had an issue with a near miss between a rappelling operation and another agency aircraft. The NOTAM was not for an area within 5 miles of the destination airport. The pilot was relying on the NOTAM box in ForeFlight for the airports in his plan, and this NOTAM did not show up. New standard is to use a pointer if the operation is outside of 5 miles from any recognized airport. B
    HAVE FUN. DON'T DIE.

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    The Notam thing is funny. Did the OP check before or after he got home? Anyway Skydiving is general aviation and has the same right to the sky as anything else. Calling the FAA on jumpers is feminine. You want vanilla GA trike drivers calling the FAA on you for landing in the grass? Same mentality.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gordon Misch View Post
    UT75 is recognized in the FAA's NOTAM search here. https://notams.aim.faa.gov/notamSearch/nsapp.html#/
    good link, I wasn’t aware of this tool. Of course, when I searched for any notams at Mineral Canyon between Jan 1, 2000 and present, I couldn’t find a single one.

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    If you have the backcountry bible, the frequency is there.
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    Willie's Avatar
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    "Calling the FAA on jumpers is feminine." I hope you meant asinine, otherwise you may see the claws come out - - - -
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    Quote Originally Posted by Willie View Post
    "Calling the FAA on jumpers is feminine." I hope you meant asinine, otherwise you may see the claws come out - - - -

    Yeah, that statement isn't going to help your Willie at all.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Willie View Post
    "Calling the FAA on jumpers is feminine." I hope you meant asinine, otherwise you may see the claws come out - - - -
    Feminine is the correct word

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    Waldo M's Avatar
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    Pilots have some legitimate beefs with skydivers, and skydivers most certainly have legitimate beefs with pilots. I have been flying airplanes for 49 years and skydiving for 41 years, so I can speak to these issues with some authority. It is possible to mix operations safely if a common sense is applied on both sides.

    I have seen jump operations that were not run well and chosen not to patronize them. As time goes on, there are fewer and fewer of them. I have also trained pilots for skydiving operations and written flight operation manuals for jump operations. In helping operations get started, meeting with the FAA FSDO office and the staff of the ATC facilities they will be using as well as establishing outreach and informational meetings with local pilots are among the first things on the agenda. If you actually watch flight operations at most drop zones these days, I think you will observe more professionalism displayed by the skydiving operation than the rest of the airport users.

    I have been fortunate enough to have been a crop-duster, freight hauler, corporate, airline, fractional, and recreational pilot in my career. There are people in each group that feel they are superior to all other airspace users. It seems to me that all of us together are are very small fraction of the population. I think Ben Franklin might have been right when he said "If we don't hang together, we will all hang separately".
    Last edited by Waldo M; 10-19-2020 at 09:32 AM. Reason: grammar
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    Quite a while back, I was a freshman student at UT Austin and I responded to an index card on a bulletin board that said "LEARN TO SKYDIVE!!". For $45 I got about 1 1/2 hours of "ground school" from a young woman with an incredible body, a quick ride up to 3000 feet and a static line jump. All before noon. As young and dumb as I was, I could see that every single one of the skydivers I met there had a pathologically reckless personality and that if I continued to mess with them, I'd be dead sooner or later. The jump was fun but I never went back.
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  28. #28
    Kodiakmack's Avatar
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    I responded to an online classified ad that said “learn to fly cheap!!” I got no ground school and went up in a ratty old Cessna with an instructor who smelled like cigars and shame. He let me take off and land even though I had no experience. I liked the experience, but from what I saw of aviation that day I could tell that it’s nothing but bums flying around in death trap spam cans. I never flew again and am so happy!
    HAVE FUN. DON'T DIE.
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  29. #29

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    Everyone all skydive operations are run by Truman Sparks
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ewsKMu4w66Y

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    They missed the best part! Watch the entire jump scene to get the full effect!

    Web
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tennessee View Post
    Quite a while back, I was a freshman student at UT Austin and I responded to an index card on a bulletin board that said "LEARN TO SKYDIVE!!". For $45 I got about 1 1/2 hours of "ground school" from a young woman with an incredible body, a quick ride up to 3000 feet and a static line jump. All before noon. As young and dumb as I was, I could see that every single one of the skydivers I met there had a pathologically reckless personality and that if I continued to mess with them, I'd be dead sooner or later. The jump was fun but I never went back.
    Did you get her number????
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    Waldo M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GreggB View Post
    Everyone all skydive operations are run by Truman Sparks
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ewsKMu4w66Y
    Truman and his operation were based on truth, with very little exaggeration, on some drop zones I've seen in Arizona forty years ago. That's why its particularly hilarious to me.

    That sequence from the movie "Fandango" was almost a direct copy of an award-winning short film entitled "Proof" that was made by a couple of film students that were also skydivers.

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    "Who took my backpack full of laundry?"

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    Jump out of a perfectly good airplane? Nope. And I have a great reason - the mere thought of it makes me start to sweat, my heart beat, etc... Same problem I have on a ladder above about 10 feet, or those crazy Embassy Suites hotel lay outs with the open mezzanine concept.. Most of my non pilot friends don’t believe I’m scared of heights. My wife and I went to Hawaii for a few months right after we were married, we rented a studio apartment in a high rise on Waikiki. The manager said it was the first time he was ever asked if he had something on a lower floor.....
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    I made a couple thousand just like that.

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    Waldo M's Avatar
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    Precisely the same thing was true of the pilots Mr. Kelly was speaking to.
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    Both survived believe it or not.
    If you get lost while flying, don't try hail a cop. Pick up the first railroad you find and hug it until you get somewhere.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Utah-Jay View Post
    Did you get her number????
    She was way out of my league. Didn’t even try..
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  40. #40
    Waldo M's Avatar
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    You'll never know until you ask. I met a woman like that while skydiving and ended up marrying "up". Way up. Thirty-three years later, she is still out of my league.
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