Tracking Dives

Tracking dives are popular among jumpers with a wide range of jump numbers and skill levels. In addition, the size of the tracking group can be very flexible, limited only by the number of jumpers and the type of aircraft available (although common sense dictates that if there are newer jumpers on a tracking dive, the size of the group should be kept small). But regardless of whether a tracking dive includes one jumper or 32, or whether it consists of fresh A-license holders or world-champion record-setters, there are special considerations that every participant needs to understand. more »

What Danger Lurks?

Almost any weekend, tandem instructors and skydiving school managers hear some variation of this question from a licensed jumper: “Hey, I brought my (insert one of the following: girlfriend, brother, mom, boyfriend, sister, buddy) out for a tandem jump; is it OK if I tag along on the skydive?” more »

The Answer is Blowing in the Wind

Most of the time, it’s pretty easy to figure out which weather conditions—low clouds, rain, freezing temperatures—should put a halt to jumping. However, the one weather condition that always seems to bite skydivers, year after year, is the wind. What some may consider comfortable wind conditions may very well be too difficult for others to handle. So, how do you decide when the winds are too dangerous for you to jump? There are a lot of factors to consider: more »

Deployment Handles

This jumper experienced a main-canopy deployment as soon as he exited a Twin Otter during a multi-aircraft large-formation skydive. Luckily, the exit and deployment were otherwise uneventful, and the jumpers exiting after him were not in the path of the deploying main canopy. His main-deployment handle may have snagged on an oxygen tube (used during high-altitude flights) or on some other part of the airplane as he moved toward the door to start his dive toward the formation. more »

Stowing the Slider

What should I do with my slider after I deploy my main canopy? more »

Water Training

You hear it at almost every water-training session: “Why do I have to jump in a pool with this old parachute? I’m never going to land in the water, but if I do, I know how to swim!” And so goes the argument from jumpers who don’t truly understand how serious of a problem a water landing can be. Although water landings are not as common as they once were in the days of less-maneuverable round parachutes, they still happen enough for the training to be important. A proper water-training session should serve as an educational tool for each participant and not just a routine to be drudged though so that the jumper can check off that box to get his license. A USPA Safety & Training Advisor, Instructor or Instructor Examiner should conduct a thorough training session and log it in the jumper’s log book once it is completed. more »

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 more »

Frequent Flyers

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