Flying Camera

In the 1950s and ’60s, when skydivers first started using video and still cameras in freefall, they carried large, heavy cameras, separate tape decks and heavy batteries (often mounted on the camera flyers’ chests). All this equipment, along with the bulky parachutes, ensured that most jumpers were happy to be in the video and leave the use of awkward equipment and resulting sore necks to the few skydivers who were both very experienced and really interested in videography and photography. more »

Steering Lines and Toggles

This jumper was unable to clear the toggle from his right steering line when he initially released his brakes. After several attempts at pulling the toggle in different directions and at different angles, the toggle finally slipped free from its cat’s eye (the opening in the steering line). The remainder of the canopy flight was uneventful.

The jumper reported that the cat’s eye in the steering line had always been somewhat snug around the toggle, and as time went on, the fit seemed to get tighter. more »

Visual Training Aids

Niklas Daniel put together this poster, which illustrates proper student landing procedures, for Skydive Elsinore’s student program. AFF Instructor Cesar Lopez de Castro, flying a student canopy, demonstrated the proper form while Daniel took a series of still photographs. Using photo-editing software, Daniel layered four of the photos and created the text. Daniel sent the file to a printer who created the approximately four-by-six-foot poster, which now hangs in Elsinore’s classroom as a visual aid for skydiving students. A quick online search will turn up dozens of print shops that produce poster-size reproductions for about $15-$30. Drop zones can assemble a photo themselves or may contact Daniel for his version at info@niklasdaniel.com. more »

Frequent Flyers

Q:
I jump more often than most jumpers. Should I treat my equipment differently than when I jumped less frequently? more »

License and Rating Equivalents

USPA occasionally receives calls and e-mails asking how to convert foreign licenses and ratings or military ratings and jump experience into the USPA equivalent. Though the rules are similar for converting foreign and military accreditations, there are some differences. The Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) sets international standards for skydiving licenses. The following rules apply to foreign license holders: more »

Wound Up

Spinning malfunctions can range from a mild inconvenience that a jumper may be able to fix to a wild, violent malfunction that can easily lead to a fatality if the jumper does not deal with it correctly. There are many factors that determine what a jumper experiences during a spinning malfunction, including: more »

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 »