Safety Check

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 »


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 »

Do Your Homework

It’s safe to say that it’s extremely important for aircraft pilots to have a thorough understanding of all of the systems on their airplanes that affect the safety of their flights. After all, if a pilot is unfamiliar with his equipment and takes the wrong action in an emergency, it could be fatal. The same is true of skydivers and their equipment, but you would never know it judging from the approach some jumpers take toward their gear. more »

Wingsuit Tail Strikes

Avoiding the tail of the airplane when exiting is one of the most basic safety considerations when wingsuiting, yet year after year experienced wingsuit pilots continue to strike the horizontal stabilizers of the aircraft they’re jumping from. Any side-door airplane—whether a Cessna 182, a Twin Otter or anything in between—presents a risk of a tail strike to wingsuiters and even non-wingsuited skydivers. more »

Advice from a First Responder

As the summer skydiving season gets into full swing, take some time to think about your response to an emergency situation or injury. There are a few things that untrained responders can do to make the medical responders’ jobs easier when they arrive. more »

Avoiding Canopy Collisions

Do not fly your canopy into another canopy. It seems like a fairly easy-to-follow concept. Yet somehow, we continue to see fatal accidents due to canopy collisions each year, not to mention a lot of near-misses. Every single collision is avoidable. Every. Single. One. But creating safer skies requires some effort on everyone’s part. more »

Spring Wind Hazards

With warmer spring temperatures replacing winter’s frigid air, jumpers need to be especially vigilant about safety when it comes to winds and wind-related hazards. Undoubtedly, it was a sunny but very windy spring day when someone came up with the old adage, “It’s better to be on the ground wishing you were in the air than in the air wishing you were on the ground!” more »