Master Rigger Mistakes

The owner of this rig (who is a drop zone owner and rigger) picked it up after a Federal Aviation Administration Master Rigger employed by the drop zone had repacked it. The owner noticed that the reserve flaps were closed in the wrong order. Even more bizarrely, the master rigger had renumbered the reserve container flaps by writing new numbers on the flap edges with a black magic marker. The rig owner brought the errors to the attention of the rigger, who was indifferent and unconcerned about the mistake.

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Weather Woes

Unless you live in Southern California, you’ve probably heard a joke about your local weather that goes something like, “If you don’t like the current weather, just wait an hour, and it will change!” There are very few places in the world with consistently sunny, warm and perfect skydiving weather. As jumpers, we don’t have to hold PhDs in meteorology, but we still need to understand the basics. Knowing what weather to look out for can prevent an injury or fatality.

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Flag-Jump Safety

Demo jumps are some of the most rewarding skydives a person can make. Due to the sizes and locations of landing areas, most demos require the jumpers to hold USPA PRO Ratings. This rating requires a jumper to demonstrate landing accuracy on 10 pre-declared jumps, receive training for flag and smoke jumps, serve as a ground crew member, learn about crowd control and understand how to work with the Federal Aviation Administration on demo-jump authorizations. USPA designed this training to help ensure that jumpers perform demos safely. more »

Fouled Toggle

After deployment, this jumper collapsed his slider and started to release his brakes when he realized that the excess steering line was loose and had wrapped around one steering toggle. Had he pulled the toggle through the loop of excess, the steering line would have locked onto the guide ring on the back of the riser. This would have resulted in an uncontrollable main canopy and required a cut away and reserve activation. The jumper moved the excess steering line out of the way before grabbing the toggle and releasing the brakes. Properly stowing the toggles and excess steering line can prevent this problem. more »

Head-Down Forward Movement in the Daffy Position

Axis Flight Logo Skydive Arizona Logo

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

Five Hazardous Attitudes

The aviation world long ago identified five hazardous attitudes that lead to trouble for pilots flying airplanes. The FAA published these findings in chapter 17 of its “Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge” (available as a PDF at These attitudes are also very relevant to skydivers. Jumpers, as well as pilots, can begin to make better decisions by identifying the hazardous attitudes and minimizing them. more »

Preparing for the Coach Course

The USPA Coach Course is USPA’s entry-level instructional course, but in many ways it is more difficult than any of the other instructional rating courses. Much of this is because:

  • Most candidates are new to teaching anything, much less skydiving skills.
  • The evaluation process is a new experience, and it can be intimidating.
  • Many candidates approach the rating with a casual attitude and arrive to the course underprepared.

Maybe Confucius was thinking of the USPA Coach Course when he said, “Success depends upon previous preparation, and without such preparation there is sure to be failure.” more »

Common Sense

Over the 70-plus years of sport skydiving’s evolution, one seeming constant is the unruly reputation of skydivers. The brash, cocky, “to hell with the rules, I’ll do whatever I want” stigma seems to stick with us, no matter what. And sometimes, for good reason. Certain skydivers would rather not follow any rules or guidelines, whether related to skydiving or not. more »

New SIM and IRM

USPA has just released the latest versions of the Skydiver’s Information Manual and Instructional Rating Manual. As in past years, the manuals have a two-year production cycle, which means they are valid for rating courses in 2016 and 2017. Examiners and candidates at any USPA Rating Course that takes place following the release of the manuals must use the new versions. This will eliminate confusion caused by course candidates or examiners using different manuals, especially in coach and tandem courses, since the new manuals contain many changes for those training methods. more »

Rigging Mistake

A newly licensed jumper bought this rig from a private owner over the internet. The gear came with a freshly packed reserve, but when the new owner looked at the rig, he noticed that the reserve closing loop was badly frayed. He brought the gear to a local rigger at his drop zone for inspection, and the rigger noticed that the pin-protector flap of the reserve container was closed incorrectly. The local rigger inspected and repacked the rig to ensure that it had no additional problems. more »