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back to article Security researcher Cédric 'Sid' Blancher dead at 37

Security researcher Cédric “Sid” Blancher has reportedly been killed in a skydiving accident in France. At the time of writing, details of the accident remain sketchy. However, the Courrier-Picard says he died instantly after "a heavy fall on the landing zone" at the Frétoy-le-Chateau airfield. Among other things, the 37-year- …

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You would think

You would think this would be safer, but I have a friend who had his primary chute fail and his reserve chute get tangled in the failed primary. The reserve opened enough to keep him from getting killed, but he broke a ton of bones. Did he go skydiving again? Yes. [Note:He was a ham radio operator and we know those guys are, let's say, a breed apart. By 'breed apart', I mean nuts.]

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Bronze badge

Re: You would think

Many years ago, I asked my instructor what to do if the reserve failed to deploy after a main failure.

He deadpanned, "Climb back up and get another."

The shame of it was, I was using parachutes made by the lowest government bidder.

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Gold badge
Happy

Re: You would think

"[Note:He was a ham radio operator and we know those guys are, let's say, a breed apart. By 'breed apart', I mean nuts.]"

You should probably avoid women mountain climbers as well. *

Watching the movie "The Descent" I kept thinking "Not bad, but not quite crazy enough."

*Especially the Dutch ones.

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Alert

Re: You would think

You want nuts, try cave divers. Apparently every cave diver knows 3 other cave drivers that have died.

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Happy

"You want nuts, try cave divers"

Yes, they are another group with a "special"* perception of danger

*As in "needs"

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Re: You would think

Just curious about "Especially the Dutch ones." Why's that?

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3....2....1....

Waiting for the inevitable conspiracy theory about a critical vulnerability he was going to make public at a conference soon...

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Bronze badge

Re: 3....2....1....

"Waiting for the inevitable conspiracy theory about a critical vulnerability he was going to make public at a conference soon..."

He proved it.

The vulnerability of reserve parachute systems to failure induced from the primary system. That is the most common thing to happen with a reserve.

The biggest primary malfunction that is fatal typically involves not cutting away soon enough, mistakenly attempting to free the main.

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Re: 3....2....1....

Cedric's accident has nothing to do with a double mal, or not cutting away, or anything of the sort, maybe you should refrain from saying anything given that you actually don't know what happened.

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Sky diving accident

Was this the fault of the NSA - Nasty Skydiving Agency?

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Anonymous Coward

Did he fall?

Or was he pushed?

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Meh

What no 3rd backup?

Can't parachuters have a large airbag they can deploy. Ok may not work, but better than nothing I suppose?

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Coat

Too soon?

Well, he definitely made an impact in his particular field.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Too soon?

> Well, he definitely made an impact in his particular field.

Black humour. Not overly bad taste. As a fellow skydiver, I like it. :)

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Unhappy

Well, he definitely made an impact in his particular field.

He did.

At about 120mph IIRC.

It's called "terminal" velocity for several reasons.

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Goodbye Sid

You were a gifted professional and an old friend. Both the world of security and I are poorer for your passing.

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What in all reality probably happened

Ok I've done a fair bit of throwing myself out of airplanes. This is most probably what's called a 'hook turn'. This is a maneuver done under a fully inflated, working parachute, very close to the ground. It consists of flying with the wind towards the landing area and then pulling the whole of one front corner of the canopy down, inducing a very high speed 180 turn with lots of altitude loss. As the canopy comes out of the dive it planes out at high speed which the experienced pilot uses to land in a very dramatic fashion. This allows the pilot to use very small canopies which you can't really land in the way a less experienced skydiver (ie me) would.

That's by the by.

Blue Skies Sid

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What in all reality probably happened

As the gentleman above says, looks like a hook turn not completed with sufficient altitude, which is the most common cause of skydiving fatalities (fatal gear malfunctions are extremely rare, there is not much that can go wrong with a piece of fabric and a few bits of rope).

I am at a bit of a loss as to what in French might translate as "turn down" in English (virage en bas?). In French one would say simple "un virage" or perhaps "un virage engagé" (a tight turn). If there is a specific name for the hook turn, I am not aware of it (then again, I'm not a native speaker).

This video should give an idea what a hook turn is used for http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=usreDL1BtNQ

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What in all reality probably happened

The term is "virage bas", or "low turn". "turn down" is a machine translation gone wrong.

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A better translation....and a question

Makes it clear a number of skydivers agreed Blancher made an error by taking the low turn too fast. It's unclear to me, though, whether there is an implication Blancher intentionally tried to push the limits, or was accidentally going too fast.

Loose translation of the president's statement is: a number of experienced skydivers confirmed Blancher ignored safety precautions (failed to make a safe turn) because he was going too fast (survitesse meaning "overspeed") for the final maneuver, a virage bas, i.e., low turn.

The statement specifically notes it was a "voluntary" maneuver - i.e., the fast, low turn wasn't the result of, say, a gust of wind or equipment failure - and is equally specific that too-high speed is the reason the maneuver failed.

However, perhaps a native French speaker could clear up whether there IS, also, an implication Blancher might have been hot dogging? Or is the president simply saying Blancher made an error, and failed inadvertently to achieve a recommended safe speed before the turn?

I ask because one commenter on Courrier Picard felt the president's statement was "indecent" and "distressing" - and further said he hoped the president had been misquoted, as otherwise the statement was "unworthy" of a representative of a formal skydiving "league".

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Anonymous Coward

Prime Directive

It is recommended that the parachute be opened before hitting the ground.

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Probably a hook turn

I'm guessing "Low turn" is the maneuver known as a Hook Turn in most English-speaking countries.

It is generally held to be a fucking stupid thing to do, as its a high risk maneuver the only need for which is showing off, and if you get the timing wrong or even if just a gust happens at the wrong time, you are pretty much guaranteed to do potentially serious injury to yourself. In many dropzones performing them is outright banned yet people still persist in doing them and often getting hurt or even killed. If he killed himself doing a fast/low hook turn, sorry but he only had himself to blame.

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Swooping!

virage bas? - Anyone here ever heard about "swooping"? en:wp nows it as "Canopy_piloting" - i'd recommend the german version: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swooping

In short: you make a small parachute go into a continous turn, going down with a vertical speed of more than 100 km/h. Just over ground you stop the spiraling, converting the vertical speed in a looooooonng and fast (~150 km/h) horizontal glide just meters (or centimeters) above the ground.

have fun!

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