Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Skydiving: Up in the Air. . . Temporarily

You know what seems like a good idea? Establishing a life-long, committed relationship with the person you love. And a bad idea? Willfully plummeting 10,000 feet, with only a thin chord between you and death. But, hey, it's your choice. Well, you have the choice to do the second thing. The first thing, not so much.

In the United States, skydiving, base jumping and parasailing all fall under the umbrella of 'personal liberty.' There are hardly any regulations on these activities, even though they account for hundreds of deaths every year. Sure, there are rules that the United States Parachute Association has published. They've even gone so far as to suggest that you follow those rules. However, there is really no legal reason to be a licensed, registered skydiver.

There are also no age limits. Legally, a child or great-granny could skydive. We've all heard about a million old people taking the plunge, which is so cliche it should be illegal. And what about the instructors? I suppose it's not difficult to teach someone to step out of an airplane. . . maybe that's the reason there are so few legal regulations for skydiving academies. Additionally, planes operated for the purpose of ejecting its passengers are allowed to circumvent many Federal Aviation Administration standards. In 1993, the FAA agreed to release skydiving planes from following passenger quantity and weight requirements. I guess if everyone has a parachute then it doesn't matter how many people you pack on board.

Skydiving, (like booze or cigarettes) will likely kill you, but it's totally your constitutional right to partake in it. If the government wants you to die alone anyway, you might as well go for the extreme.

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