Safety Check

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 »

Risk

When a reporter recently asked me, “Is swooping more dangerous than other types of skydiving?” I was stumped for the right answer. I thought of saying, “Well, it can be,” or, “Sometimes it is,” or, “Depends on who’s doing it,” but none of those were good responses. more »

How Well Do You Really Know Your Emergency Procedures

So, you think you’re a badass? How well do you know your emergency procedures? more »

Danger Areas

An informal survey that Parachutist conducted years ago showed that most members read the “Incident Reports” section of the magazine first. Skydivers often say that they read these reports every month to learn from the mistakes of others and become safer skydivers. Yet, despite this focus, jumpers are still making the same six types of fatal mistakes. Over and over and over again. more »

That Little Voice

It is probably safe to say that all of us have a little voice inside our heads (some of the skydivers I know seem to have seven or eight) that helps us make decisions. Usually, that voice does a pretty good job of reasoning with us and keeping us on the right path. Making educated decisions and using good judgment to stay safe often comes down to learning to trust the guidance of that inner voice. more »

Dear Santa

Another year has flown by, and it’s time to send you my wish list. While there have been lots of good things happening in skydiving lately, we have had some low points, too. So, as usual, I have lots of stuff on my wish list. more »

Rules and Recommendations

It seems like a simple enough idea: Skydivers should follow USPA’s rules and recommendations, which have proven to make skydiving safer. After all, not following them has been the cause of almost every skydiving fatality. However, skydiving attracts a unique bunch of people, and whether it is due to sheer ignorance or “rules are for other people” arrogance, jumpers don’t always follow the rules and sometimes ignore the recommendations. And periodically, it leads to tragedy. more »

Landing Off

Almost every skydiver will have to deal with an off-field landing eventually. It might be the first jump or jump 10,000, but most of us will miss the drop zone landing area at some point in our skydiving careers. Visit almost any drop zone and you’ll find jumpers with loving nicknames based on their colorful exploits while landing off: Sparky, Chevy, Tree Hugger... the list is seemingly endless. more »

Wingsuit Flights: Communicate, and Don't Forget the Pilot

Wingsuiting seems to be one of the main reasons skydiving students show up at the drop zone these days, and it’s likely that the inspiration of horizontal flight is a trend that will continue. Although wingsuiting presents specific challenges—most significantly, the addition of horizontal navigation in freefall and a larger surface area to control—it is also driving the growth and popularity of our sport, and it’s not going away. The most effective ways to promote safety and avoid incidents during wingsuit jumps require communication between skydivers, drop zone owners and managers, Safety and Training Advisors, manifest staff, aircraft loaders and jump pilots. more »