Safety Check

Mastering Consistent Landings

Mastering the basics of canopy control is one of the most important aspects of learning to skydive. It is also the skill that usually takes the longest for students and newly licensed jumpers to develop. It is a great feeling for skydiving instructors when a younger jumper finally becomes a great canopy pilot rather than a passenger going for a ride to wherever the canopy happens to be pointing. more »

An Intelligent Approach to Technology

A jumper with approximately 100 jumps flew his canopy too far downwind to land in the main landing area. After landing uneventfully in another area of the airport, he explained that he did not turn onto his base leg in time because he was waiting for his audible alarm to beep as his signal.
During a 2-way skydive, a jumper with approximately 500 jumps who planned to deploy at 4,000 feet instead deployed at 2,000 feet. He had been waiting for his audible altimeter to beep but finally realized that he was not wearing his helmet for the skydive, so his audible device was not there.
A jumper with approximately 150 jumps was on an airplane fiddling with his GoPro camera just before exit when another jumper pointed out that his chest strap was not threaded properly through the friction adapter.
A first-jump student did not respond to instructions provided via radio while he was under canopy. After he landed uneventfully, staff discovered that he did not respond to the radio commands because he was busy talking to a friend on his cell phone during his canopy descent. more »

Wingsuit Rules and Recommendations

As the popularity of wingsuit flying continues to expand, the discipline is advancing at a rapid rate in many areas. Its training programs, suit designs, competitions and records are all progressing. But like every emerging discipline that came before it, wingsuiting has experienced a few hiccups during its advances and seems to be suffering from some growing pains. more »

Weather Woes

Unless you live in Southern California, you’ve probably heard a joke about your local weather that goes something like, “If you don’t like the current weather, just wait an hour, and it will change!” There are very few places in the world with consistently sunny, warm and perfect skydiving weather. As jumpers, we don’t have to hold PhDs in meteorology, but we still need to understand the basics. Knowing what weather to look out for can prevent an injury or fatality.

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Five Hazardous Attitudes

The aviation world long ago identified five hazardous attitudes that lead to trouble for pilots flying airplanes. The FAA published these findings in chapter 17 of its “Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge” (available as a PDF at faa.gov). These attitudes are also very relevant to skydivers. Jumpers, as well as pilots, can begin to make better decisions by identifying the hazardous attitudes and minimizing them. more »

Common Sense

Over the 70-plus years of sport skydiving’s evolution, one seeming constant is the unruly reputation of skydivers. The brash, cocky, “to hell with the rules, I’ll do whatever I want” stigma seems to stick with us, no matter what. And sometimes, for good reason. Certain skydivers would rather not follow any rules or guidelines, whether related to skydiving or not. more »

Spinning Malfunctions

After any given weekend, you’ll hear about several jumpers from around the country who needed to cut away from their rapidly spinning main canopies. You’d think that skydivers would really want to avoid having malfunctions, but with all of the spinning malfunctions occurring recently, it seems that the opposite is true. Amazingly, malfunctions of this type remain a prominent cause of cutaways even though almost all of them are preventable. more »

2015 Letter to Santa

Dear Santa,

The holiday season is here once again, so it’s time to reflect on the past year and send you another wish list. This year, my wish is for skydivers to learn more about seatbelt use, and also for drop zones and airplane owners to take the necessary steps to ensure a culture in which skydivers automatically use seatbelts properly on every load. Jumpers often don’t give a lot of thought to the ride to altitude. But there’s a lot going on during the average skydiving flight, so they actually need to pay attention. Here are a few things I hope all jumpers will consider: more »

Protecting Your Gear and Yourself After Landing

After landing, there are a few simple steps you can take to avoid dragging your gear—or getting dragged by your gear—regardless of the size of your canopy or the strength of the winds. By learning a few tricks, you can keep your equipment in good condition, avoid unnecessary rigging costs and keep your packer happy. When you’re in the landing area gathering up your gear, just be sure to stand facing incoming skydivers so you can move out of the way if necessary. more »

Turbulence

Impossible to see and difficult to predict, air turbulence is a real hazard for skydivers of any experience level. Thankfully, most encounters with turbulence under canopy occur high enough above the ground that they result in nothing more than a light bump. But occasionally turbulence close to the ground can lead to a scare or even injuries from a hard landing. more »