Peak Experiences in Skydiving

Visit any drop zone and you’ll soon start enjoying the good vibes. Skydivers are friendly, possess high energy and are extremely passionate about freefalling through the sky. Excitement is in the air, and it’s easy to see why. Skydivers take premeditated risks by leaping out of perfectly good airplanes. It’s what we do, and we love it. The daily camaraderie on drop zones is compelling and is one of the major things that attracts new skydivers to the sport. It’s an activity filled with confident, competent and enthusiastic people.

However, there is more to it than that. New skydivers soon begin to understand what almost everybody on the DZ realizes: It isn’t just surviving each skydive that matters; it’s what happens during the skydive. And what happens on the next skydive could be that very special time when everything comes together for a great experience. more »

Dangers of the Sport—The 2015 Fatality Summary

During 2015, 21 people died skydiving in the U.S. Considering how much USPA’s membership has grown in recent years, this shows that the sport is becoming safer as it is maturing. However, the jumpers who died in 2015 generally could have avoided the circumstances that caused their deaths, many of which involved the same errors that killed jumpers in the past. The purpose of this article is to identify those hazards so jumpers can avoid them in the future. more »

How to Keep Your Expensive, Life-Saving Equipment Looking Like Expensive, Life-Saving Equipment

The few weeks after you get a new car are probably when you keep it the cleanest and most well maintained it will ever be. You’ve just spent a lot of money, and you hope it will last a long time. Maybe you promise that this time will be different—you’re going to take excellent care it—but then get busy or complacent and before you know it, the floorboards are sprouting potatoes.
The same thing can happen when you purchase skydiving gear. Even though the gear is important (after all, it saves your life on every jump), your consideration of it can dissipate rather quickly. And for some, that consideration may never have been there to begin with. more »

Buying Used Gear—Part Two of Two

Last month, you read about how to choose your canopies and measure for the rig you selected to fit them. Now it’s time to start shopping. It would be great to be able to choose a size for a rig and canopies and then just mine the used gear listings, make a few calls, send a check and start skydiving. Oh, if only it were so simple! more »

Action Cameras

Action cameras have completely changed our sport by making it simple for almost anyone to capture high-definition and high-quality video and still images in the sky. These days, creating a camera helmet requires only placing an adhesive mount onto your existing helmet. Gone are the days of building your own comparatively enormous custom camera helmet with power tools, soldering irons, hot knives and makeshift camera mounts. However, back then, jumpers who strapped 10-pound-plus camera helmets on their heads were painfully aware that the added equipment posed extra safety considerations. Today, because GoPros and other action cameras are so small, light and easy to use, many of those added risks are not as apparent. But even if you barely feel that the camera is there, there are additional safety factors you should be aware of and some tips and tricks that will make it easier to get up and running. more »

The Cost of a Jump Ticket

One of the long-held maxims of skydiving is that there is no charge for the jump; you only pay for the plane ride to altitude. That’s only partly true, as you’ll learn. But whatever the cost of skydiving—whether you’re exiting a Cessna 182 from 9,000 feet or a Twin Otter from 13,500—the bottom line is simply this: We’ve never had it so good. more »

Buying Used Gear—Part One of Two

When staring down the barrel of spending as much as $8,500 for a new skydiving system, the prospect of buying a used first rig makes sense. But it’s seldom like buying a used car that you can look at, test drive in one piece and pay for on the spot. More often, you’ll have to do research and build a pre-owned rig using components from around the country or even the world, sometimes by buying more than you need and selling off the extra parts. So complicated! However, the need to move away from renting at $20 to $45 a hit becomes more urgent as you get pulled further into the sport … more »

A Problem With Two Solutions—The Pilot-Chute-in-Tow Malfunction

Coke or Pepsi? Chevy or Ford? Your daily life is filled with choices. Though most choices are inconsequential to your safety and wellbeing, this is not necessarily the case when it comes to skydiving. A perfect example of a skydiving problem with two possible solutions is the pilot-chute-in-tow malfunction. more »

I Want to Become an AFF Instructor. Now What?

You love skydiving and want to teach others about your passion. What a great goal! That is the kind of motivation that leads to becoming a great instructor. You won’t become financially rich, but you will be very rich in other aspects, and you’ll be living the dream! more »

Jumping from 30,000 Feet

When Leonardo da Vinci so eloquently said, “For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been and there you will long to return,” he must have had skydivers in mind. (After all, he did invent the first parachute.) In any event, the modern-day corollary, in less elegant terms, might go something like, “Have you ever turned your eyes skyward, observed the contrail of an airliner and wondered what it would be like to jump from that high?” more »