Riser Wear

This photo shows four tandem-system risers in various stages of wear. The two on the left show little to no wear of the nylon three-ring-release retaining loop. These two risers are still in use. The two risers on the right show moderate to significant wear of the nylon loop and are no longer in service. All jumpers should inspect their risers frequently and replace them when necessary to prevent total riser failure. more »

Comparing AADs

Q:
What should I consider when purchasing an automatic activation device (AAD)? more »

In the Right Spot

As skydiving equipment, training and drop zone operations have changed over the past 20 years, so has the act of spotting. The widespread use of larger aircraft and GPS technology has caused the true art of spotting to slowly disappear. Although technology now helps jumpers accurately exit over the airport, we shouldn’t simply rely on a green light to tell us when to leave the plane. more »

Last-Minute Adjustments

This jumper performed her regular gear checks—one before boarding the aircraft, again while the aircraft was climbing and one just prior to arriving at exit altitude—in preparation for a freefly jump. However, after the final check, she removed her helmet in order to put on her goggles and forgot to re-buckle the strap. Soon after exiting, as she transitioned from a head-down position to a sit, the helmet flew off her head. The jumper caught the moment on her chest-mounted camera. No one was struck by the departing helmet, so it was a harmless (but expensive) oversight. Jumpers who make last-minute adjustments should perform an additional gear check just to make sure nothing has been overlooked. more »

Preventing Tandem Fatalities

A look at USPA’s fatality statistics shows an alarming trend: While overall skydiving fatalities decreased during the past 10 years compared to the two previous decades, student fatalities increased. With better training programs and equipment than ever before, the number of student fatalities should have declined just as the total numbers have. The reasons for student fatalities vary, but many could have had different outcomes had the instructors stuck with standard procedures for working with students and supervised them more closely. more »

Repacking the Reserve

Q:
What’s involved in a reserve repack, and why do repacks vary in price? more »

Good News-Bad News

2009 ended with just 16 civilian skydiving fatalities in the United States, a modern-day record low. We have to go all the way back to 1961 to find a year with fewer fatalities (14). On one hand, this is a phenomenal achievement considering that the number of jumps made in 2009 by 32,000-plus USPA members is considerably higher than in 1961, when 3,353 members made a much smaller (but unknown total) number of jumps. In regard to safety, our sport has certainly come a long way. On the other hand, we had many near misses, serious injuries and have seen many mistakes repeated from past years. more »

Shaking off the Rust

For many instructional rating holders in the U.S., student training and jumping activity finally comes to life again in March after several frigid months of un-jumpable weather. First-time students start showing up, as do those returning students who didn’t get a chance to wrap up their A-license requirements before the weather turned cold and the drop zone closed for the winter. But before you get busy helping students get current and before you start jumping with all those first timers, make sure you are current yourself. Whether you are a coach or an instructor, and no matter which discipline you hold a rating in, ground and air skills can get rusty in just a short period of time. more »

Where to Repair?

Q:
When I need to get my rig repaired, who should fix it? more »

Reacting to a Canopy Collision

Unless you are a jumper who has some canopy formation skydiving experience, you may not have given much thought about what you should do if you are ever involved in a canopy collision. Knowing what to do, and reacting correctly to the situation, just might save your life and the life of the other jumper involved. more »