Fatality Summary

Identifying the Dangers - The 2013 Fatality Summary

We are in the safest decade of the sport: During the last 10 years, an average of just over 22 people died skydiving in the U.S. each year. In the 1960s—when USPA membership was about a third of what it is today—an average of 43 people died per year. more »

A Letter from Skydive Arizona S&TA Bryan Burke

Every Safety Day, Skydive Arizona in Eloy tries to combine practical safety exercises in the daytime with a more generalized, thoughtful look at safety trends during an evening presentation. The latter element has always been my job and my passion. I’ve been a Safety and Training Advisor since they were known as Area Safety Officers, and although I only have a few thousand jumps, I’d be willing to bet good money that I’ve seen more jumps than anyone alive. The downside to my job is the 25 fatalities I’ve worked over the last two decades and the hundreds of serious accidents. I want to do everything I can to reduce that, and education based on solid facts is my best tool. Most of those accidents were preventable. more »

Lessons to be Learned - The 2012 Fatality Summary

Canopy landings and malfunctioning main parachutes were the two most common causes of the 19 skydiving deaths in the United States in 2012. However, there are lessons to be learned from every skydiving mishap. Sharing the circumstances in which these tragedies occurred helps the rest of us avoid these situations. This article will take a look at the year as a whole and try to identify the mistakes that skydivers in the U.S. made that resulted in death. more »

Recurring Lessons—The 2011 Fatality Summary By Paul Sitter

When you look at skydiving mishaps over time—exactly what this article does each year—some recurring lessons stand out. For example, the AAD (automatic activation device) and RSL (reserve static line) are proven life-saving technologies. But what really has stood out for the last two decades is that canopy selection and canopy operation are the most serious issues for skydiver safety today. Once again, canopy issues contributed to the majority of skydiving deaths in 2011. more »

Time to Regroup—the 2010 Fatality Summary

On a formation skydive, when things don’t go as intended, the jumpers regroup. Assess the situation and move on. Bring order to the chaos. more »

The Safest Year—The 2009 Fatality Summary

To find a year in which there were fewer U.S. skydiving deaths than 2009, we have to go back to 1961, when there were 14. Considering that USPA membership is more than nine times what it was in 1961 (and that 2009’s members almost certainly made more than nine times the number of jumps), the 16 skydiving deaths that occurred in 2009 indicate that our sport has made real advances in safety. However, anyone who has been touched by the death of a jumper knows that a single fatality is one too many. When we consider the loss that these deaths represent—and the fact that most could have been easily prevented in ways identified years ago—it is clear that we still have a lot of room for improvement. more »