Wingsuit Collisions

Skydivers of every freefall discipline have been injured or killed in freefall collisions. The number of reported incidents seems to increase as a discipline emerges then taper off quite a bit once training and equipment catch up to the new style of jumping. Hard-impact freefall collisions resulting in serious injuries and fatalities were once a common issue with formation skydivers and freeflyers, and now they’re an issue with wingsuiters. Modern wingsuit flying—which now has had more than 20 years to develop training methods and equipment and build a foundation of knowledge—cannot truly be considered a new discipline any longer, but it continues to struggle with injuries and fatalities from collisions in freefall, as well as collisions with the aircraft on exit.So, why are wingsuit flyers experiencing more collisions than jumpers in other disciplines? more »

Your First Priority

Despite all the advances in tandem skydiving, the increasing use of handcams by unqualified and underprepared tandem instructors is threatening to demolish the discipline’s improving safety record, the product of a 30-year collective safety effort by the tandem manufacturers and USPA. An ever-increasing number of tandem accidents are attributable to the use of handcams, either as a direct or indirect cause. Sadly, the mistakes leading to these accidents are easy to see in high-definition video, as the tandem instructors continue filming with a straight left arm even as the world around them is going to hell. more »

Bag Lock Malfunction

This bag-lock malfunction occurred when one of the packing tabs on the canopy entangled with the last closing-stow band on the deployment bag. Although this is a very unusual malfunction, jumpers can help avoid it by making sure that the stows are not near the packing tabs when closing their deployment bags. 

How do I know if my brakes are rigged and adjusted correctly?

The length between the “cat’s eye” (the opening in the line where you set your brakes before packing) and the steering toggle can greatly influence whether you have smooth flights and great landings. An incorrect brake length can hamper ideal performance from your canopy, and the causes vary. Working with your rigger, you should be able to address any issues without spending a lot of money. more »

Head-up to head-down shelf transition

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Brought to you by Niklas Daniel and Brianne Thompson of AXIS Flight School at Skydive Arizona in Eloy. Photo by David Cherry. Information about AXIS' coaching and instructional services is available at axisflightschool.com. more »

Aircraft Emergency

It took almost 25 years of skydiving, but I finally experienced an aircraft emergency as a skydiver. Actually, I would not even classify it as a true emergency, since the engine loss happened at 13,000 feet. As a pilot myself with many hours in this King Air, I knew what was going on and I had a good idea of how the pilot who was flying was going to handle the situation. But seeing how everyone reacted was interesting. Some looked nervous, and some seemed confused about what to do. more »

Instructional Rating Changes

At the July USPA Board meeting in Seattle, Washington, the Safety and Training Committee spent most of its meeting time discussing the instructional rating process. The results were multiple changes, some of which went into effect immediately and others of which will come into play at a later date. more »

Back-Fly backward Drive

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Brought to you by Niklas Daniel and Brianne Thompson of AXIS Flight School at Skydive Arizona in Eloy. Photo by David Cherry. Information about AXIS' coaching and instructional services is available at axisflightschool.com. more »

Misrouted Pud Bridle

A jumper using a pull-out pilot chute (known as a “pud”) experienced a total malfunction due to a misrouting of the main-closing-pin bridle. The jumper could extract the pud’s handle but couldn’t extract the pin due to the misrouting. The jumper pulled her reserve ripcord and landed uneventfully under her reserve parachute. more »

Breaking the Links in the Chain

Survey information provided by members of USPA indicates that “Incident Reports” is one of the most important and widely read sections of Parachutist magazine. Apparently, we all see the value in learning from these reports in hopes of avoiding a similar situation on our own skydives. Skydivers are not unique in learning through this type of process. Airplane pilots, BASE jumpers, scuba divers and all sorts of people who participate in potentially dangerous activities study accident information. An entire government agency, the National Transportation Safety Board, is dedicated to investigating accidents in every form of transportation, all in the name of discovering their true causes and developing recommendations for avoiding them in the future. So it is not unusual at all that you would want to read “Incident Reports” for educational purposes. more »