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Skydiving Accident Leaves Security Guru Cedric 'Sid' Blancher Dead At 37 332

Posted by timothy
from the regards-to-his-friends-and-family dept.
An anonymous reader points out The Register's report that Wi-Fi security expert Cédric 'Sid' Blancher has died as the result of a skydiving accident. "Among other things, the 37-year-old Blancher was a sought-after speaker on WiFi security, and in 2005 published a Python-based WiFi traffic injection tool called Wifitap. In 2006, while working for the EADS Corporate Research centre, he also put together a paper on how to exploit Skype to act as a botnet." Some of Blancher's skydiving videos are posted to Vimeo; clearly, it's something he was passionate about.
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Skydiving Accident Leaves Security Guru Cedric 'Sid' Blancher Dead At 37

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  • Security 101 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 17, 2013 @07:33PM (#45450947)

    Secure your common sense. Don't skydive.

  • That's a shame (Score:5, Interesting)

    by msobkow (48369) on Sunday November 17, 2013 @07:37PM (#45450959) Homepage Journal

    That's a shame. To go so young.

    But I never have understood the sanity behind jumping out of a perfectly good plane. :(

    A friend of mine was into sky diving years ago. Everyone warned him he was taking crazy risks and he'd die some time.

    But in the end, he died flat on his back under a car that slipped from the jacks. Life can be so ironic...

    • Perhaps if you survive things which are perceived as very dangerous, your risk awareness is skewed?

    • Re:That's a shame (Score:5, Interesting)

      by FlyHelicopters (1540845) on Sunday November 17, 2013 @07:45PM (#45451013)
      I've been skydiving exactly once...

      It was on my bucket list, wanted to try it to see what all the fuss was about.

      I've had many amazing experiences in life. Getting married, the birth of my children, flying solo for the first time (in a helicopter with the doors off, quite an experience!).

      About the only thing that compares... the birth of my first child... that is first on the list, skydiving would be second... above everything else...

      There is simply nothing I can say to anyone who hasn't done it... stepping out of an airplane at 13,500 feet above the ground, parachute on your back, nothing but you, the sky, and God.

      Well, ok, the pair of instructors with you, one per side. I did the accelerated free fall option, so I had my own chute, they fall with you to 5,000 ft, then you open and spend about 4 minutes by yourself under canopy (they fall another 1,000 ft to make sure your chute opens cleanly, then they open their own.)

      I understand it, it is amazing, and I never need to do it again. :)

      • Re:That's a shame (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Joining Yet Again (2992179) on Sunday November 17, 2013 @07:51PM (#45451037)

        I expect it depends a lot on your physiology/psychology. I don't really get any kick at all out of extreme physical experiences, or anything material - and I've had lots of opportunity.

        Solving a complex mathematical problem is an immense thrill for me, however. Or figuring out a clever algorithm.

        Why yes, I am a nerd and a geek.

        World's good with all different sorts, though :).

        • Re:That's a shame (Score:4, Insightful)

          by cold fjord (826450) on Sunday November 17, 2013 @08:02PM (#45451087)

          I've had lots of opportunity.

          The question is, did you act on the opportunity? Did you really climb, jump, shoot the rapids, or whatever the opportunity was for? Many people have opportunities, not all take them. Besides ...

          Nothing says a nerd and a geek
          can't also be an adrenaline freak.

          There are pleasures to be had from both intellectual achievement and testing one's physical courage.

          “There is nothing more exhilarating than to be shot at with no result.” -- Winston Churchill

        • by dpidcoe (2606549)

          I don't really get any kick at all out of extreme physical experiences, or anything material - and I've had lots of opportunity.

          Solving a complex mathematical problem is an immense thrill for me, however. Or figuring out a clever algorithm.

          I feel exactly the same way when it comes to that sort of stuff. That still didn't stop me from going skydiving with a group of friends when we were given an opportunity.

          I definitely don't regret doing it, not so much for the thrill during the jump (I blacked out for a few seconds and had a bit of trouble walking after we landed due to the aftereffects of a terror fueled adrenalin crash), but for the ability to look back on it and say "wow, I did something that most people are completely terrified to do".

      • by gavron (1300111)

        I fly helicopters. With the doors off when it's hot. The first solo was... terrifying :)
        Now it's the greatest thrill in my life.

        Great post comparing the things that matter,

        E

        • There are two types of helicopters. Those that have crashed and those that are going to. I have flown in a bunch of helicopters, often with the doors open. I like it. :)
      • There is simply nothing I can say to anyone who hasn't done it...

        I've made several hundred jumps myself. When asked to explain it, I refer to Charles Lindbergh who put it into words better than I ever could:

        "...when I decided that I too must pass through the experience of a parachute jump, life rose to a higher level, to a sort of exhilarated calmness. The thought of crawling out onto the struts and wires hundreds of feet above the earth, and then giving up even that tenuous hold of safety and of substance, left me a feeling of anticipation mixed with dread, of confiden

        • Nice quotes... :)

          Another favorite of mine is Richard Bach, Illusions remains one of my favorite books of all time.

          "When you have come to the edge of all the light you have
          And step into the darkness of the unknown
          Believe that one of the two will happen to you
          Either you'll find something solid to stand on
          Or you'll be taught how to fly!"
          Richard Bach

          "Bad things are not the worst things that an happen to us.
          NOTHING is the worst thing that can happen to us."
          Richard Bach

          "Here is a test to find whet

      • There is simply nothing I can say to anyone who hasn't done it... stepping out of an airplane at 13,500 feet above the ground, parachute on your back, nothing but you, the sky, and God

        If God was there, you could have tried it without the parachute.

        • Funny...

          No, I would never tempt my maker that way. He gave us the invention of the parachute so that we'd use it.

          It rather reminds me of the guy who was in a house that was about to be flooded out, a rescue team came by and said, "quick, get in the Jeep, we'll save you". The man replied, "no, it's ok, God will take care of me".

          Then the flood waters rose, a boat came along, "quick, get in, we'll save you!". "No" the man replied, "God is with me".

          Then the house was almost covered by water, a helico

    • Re:That's a shame (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 17, 2013 @07:53PM (#45451053)

      A friend of mine was into sky diving years ago. Everyone warned him he was taking crazy risks and he'd die some time.

      But in the end, he died flat on his back under a car that slipped from the jacks. Life can be so ironic...

      Steve Irving (aka the crocodile hunter) always said "if I ever die during recording something then people will just laugh and say "the crocs finally got him"". In the end he died during recording due to a freak accident involving a stingray. Supposedly they just bumped into each other by accident and the tail went strait though his chest. Life is neither fair or predictable.

    • I went to airborne school in the us army
      Jumping out of an airplane is safer than driving

      • by rubycodez (864176)

        no, not if you count the number of deaths per 1000 trips.

      • Re: That's a shame (Score:4, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 17, 2013 @08:32PM (#45451219)

        People don't understand that most fatalities from skydiving involve stunts of some sort: hook turns, base jumping, wingsuits. The translation from the French article isn't all that great, but it looks like he was attempting a hook turn and didn't judge the distance well.

        People who just jump out of a plane, open their chute, and drift to the ground rarely perish.

        • by Pulzar (81031)

          People don't understand that most fatalities from skydiving involve stunts of some sort: hook turns, base jumping, wingsuits.

          Not necessarily [performancedesigns.com].

        • Re: That's a shame (Score:5, Informative)

          by FlyHelicopters (1540845) on Monday November 18, 2013 @12:00AM (#45451953)
          My skydiving instructor's name was Eddie, he was a very experienced guy (he sure looked it), he said that he had over 8,000 jumps in his logbook going back over several decades.

          In all that time, he has had to use his reserve chute 4 times, however all 4 uses were in the first 4,000 jumps, he hadn't had to use it in almost 20 years.

          His comment was that due to modern chute designs and modern safety practices, if you're just "jumping out of the plane, opening the chute, and landing", the odds of dying are very low. If you do stunts, formations, or fly a sport chute, your risk goes way up.

          He showed us a video of a reserve being used, we also carried an AAD (automatic activation device) and frankly, they have saved a lot of lives in skydiving.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automatic_activation_device [wikipedia.org]

          In short, depending on the model of course, but for a student, if you're falling more than 29 feet per second when you pass through 750 feet above the ground, it fires a wedge cutter that cuts the closing loop to the reserve chute, which is spring loaded so it will deploy even if you're upside down, tumbling, or whatever...

          It takes no more than 250 feet beyond that to fully open a student chute and 250 feet beyond that to fully arrest your sink rate to just a few feet per second, so even if you're completely passed out, you'll live.

          Over 1,000 people have had their lives saved via an AAD, and most jump zones require them for all jumpers.

    • by Deadstick (535032)

      Everyone warned him he was taking crazy risks and he'd die some time.

      Wonder what percentage of them were smokers...

    • Probably not that ironic, he probably took stupid risks in the rest of his life as well, including how he set up those jacks.

      • Probably not that ironic, he probably took stupid risks in the rest of his life as well, including how he set up those jacks.

        Hello. Newly licensed n00b skydiver here.

        Non-skydivers tend to overestimate the risks associated with skydiving. It's certainly an activity that deserves respect. You can't ignore procedures, and you must pay attention to what you're doing. The same thing can be said for lots of things people do every day, such as driving a car. Get distracted by something that places your attention somewhere other than the road, and you can get you and others killed.

        Last year there were an estimated 3.1 million jumps

        • I ever said that skydiving was over dangerous, but I still disagree with your statistics.

          All of those dives were either done by seasoned professionals, or in the company of them, and I would bet that most were done simply by the professionals themselves.

          Most drivers are horrible at driving, and most crashes involve really bad drivers.

          I would argue that Skydiving is likely orders of magnitude more dangerous than the statistics show, as the statistics are biased based on who actually goes skydiving.

          • I ever said that skydiving was over dangerous, but I still disagree with your statistics.

            Well, the implication I took from the way you worded it was, "this guy chooses to do this inherently dangerous activity, so we can assume he brought the same attitude of disregard to danger to every aspect of his life." I meant to point out that skydiving isn't as risky as most people assume, and therefore some very cautious people participate in the activity. I count myself in that group, I am in no way an adrenaline junkie. If that's not what you meant by it, I apologize for the misunderstanding.

            All of those dives were either done by seasoned professionals, or in the company of them, and I would bet that most were done simply by the professionals themselves.

            Well,

    • As Thom York said, "... gravity always wins".

    • But I never have understood the sanity behind jumping out of a perfectly good plane. :(

      Women bear the economic price of childbirth. As a consequence, they tend to be conservative and choosy in picking mates and men have to compete for access. In order to succeed, men have evolved to take risks - we see this when comparing the bell curves of women versus men: women tend to have lower standard deviations than men. More women are of average height for women, men tend to have more varied heights. More men are born than women because over the course of their maturity, more men will die from taking

    • by uncqual (836337)

      But I never have understood the sanity behind jumping out of a perfectly good plane. :(

      Given the condition of some of the jump planes I've jumped out of, jumping often seemed like a better option than landing with the plane - it probably wasn't statistically though. I've landed in small planes so few times (usually when the clouds were closing in and the pilot decided to abort the jump run before the hole in the clouds was gone as they were flying VFR) I always found it unnerving and felt much more comfort

  • by Shoten (260439) on Sunday November 17, 2013 @07:42PM (#45450989)

    ...skydiving is not for you.

  • although I've seen this style used many times.

    Why the anthropomorphism for a type of accident?

    "Hi, my name is Skydiving Accident, but you can call me Skyak because it's like paddling upstream without a canoe, or a paddle, or even water and you're jumping from the top of the falls.
      So, who wants to be left dead or disabled today??"

  • Hook turn maneuver (Score:5, Informative)

    by ciurana (2603) on Sunday November 17, 2013 @09:47PM (#45451527) Homepage Journal

    From the report, it sounds like Cédric performed a maneuver called "hook turn" -- it's a high speed turn in your final approach, 100' or less from the ground, considered deadly and stupid by USPA, the French Federation of Parachutism, and pretty much anyone who's been jumping for a while.

    The rate of descent increased as a parachute (square, ram air canopy) banks. The sharper the turn, the faster the descent. The hook turn swings the jumper fast, like a pendulum, and an experienced jumper will guesstimate ending the swing at about the same time as his or her feet would touch the ground. The margin of error for a hook turn, by an experienced jumper riding a small canopy (the more experience the smaller the canopy), is between 5' and 10'.

    Start the turn too soon, and you'll end up 3' to 10' above the ground, with a stalled parachute, falling straight down. On a good day, a few bruises or a parachute landing fall, a dirty jump suit, and teasing from your pals. On a bad day, a twisted or broken ankle, yet survivable.

    Start the turn too late, and you'll slam the ground with enough force to kill you. And remember: too late is a difference of only about 5'.

    Even if the turn starts fine, and the jumper is the king of experienced up jumpers, other factors may come into play. A little thermal near the ground may force the canopy up or sideways near the ground. Or a cold air pocket (e.g. flying over a small puddle, or a dark patch on the ground) may drop the canopy a few feet faster.

    Most if not all drop zones since at least 1994 ban people caught doing hook turns because of the danger they present to the jumpers doing them and others around them. Every once in a while some hot shot with a few thousand jumps thinks he's above physics and chance, and does a bandit turn if nobody is watching.

    Maybe Cédric ran out of air on final and thought that hooking the turn would help him land into the wind. Maybe he was just hot dogging. Regardless, if he was an up jumper and he did a hook turn, he should've known better and performed a different maneuver. Sad to loose him, but not feeling sorry about the accident itself. Stuff like this is what gives a bad reputation to skydiving in the eyes of people with little or no knowledge of the sport.

    Cheers!

  • friends. (Score:3, Funny)

    by capaslash (941889) on Sunday November 17, 2013 @09:55PM (#45451541) Homepage
    "I wonder if it will be friends with me?" - Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
  • Hook turn is an expert's error. Beginners are too scared to attempt touching anything at landing time :-)
  • by Frankie70 (803801) on Sunday November 17, 2013 @11:05PM (#45451789)

    Rich People problems day on Slashdot
    - Skydiving Accident Leaves Security Guru Cedric 'Sid' Blancher Dead At 37
    - Rigging Up Baby - the rise of extreme baby monitoring

  • Low turns kill most of us. Looks like he was fairly new, don't expect he'd have been into swooping yet. Though if he was, that would kind of explain it.

    We all know the risks. The accident rate really isn't that high, around 1 jump in 100K results in a fatality. I feel safer jumping out of a plane than I do driving down to the city to train in the wind tunnel. The rewards are worth it. Everyone dies, not everyone really lives.

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