Mixed Formation Skydiving Block 10 (Flat Stairstep)

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

Seatbelt Usage

Has this happened to you?
You’re hot loading a full turbine aircraft, and you’re one of the last on. You scrunch onto that last seat on the straddle bench and scramble to find your seatbelt just as the door shuts, only to discover that someone at the front of the plane skipped a belt. What do you do?
a) Nothing. What are the chances of a plane crash, anyway?
b) Nothing. Seatbelts don’t really save lives.
c) Quietly share a seatbelt with someone next to you and wonder if it’s legal.
d) Shout, “Stop the plane!” and reorganize so that everyone has the correct seatbelt and endure the inevitable teasing and new nicknames. more »

Gaining Experience

Good judgment comes from experience, but for many, a lot of their experience comes from bad judgment. Regardless of whether you are just getting started in teaching skydiving by gaining a USPA Coach rating or have been at it for years and are receiving an Instructor Examiner rating, working toward a goal and earning a new rating is a challenging process that requires hard work and dedication. It is the end of one process (preparing and completing a certification course) and the beginning of another (the real-world environment). You have proven you deserve the rating with your knowledge and flying skills, but now is when learning really begins. more »

What kind of hardware is best for my rig?

When choosing a new or used rig, the metal hardware used in the 3-ring assembly and for harness adjustments matters a lot. Inattention to this detail can make or break a good used gear deal. If you’re getting new gear, some of those great sales and discount deals might be due to hardware choice. more »

Container Lock

A jumper flying her wingsuit attempted to deploy her main canopy at 3,500 feet. A few seconds after she threw her pilot chute, she saw the pilot chute trailing behind her, so she pulled her reserve ripcord. The reserve deployed and was fully inflated by 2,000 feet. The main canopy remained in the container after the reserve deployed. more »

Sit-Fly Fall-Rate Changes (Leg Mechanics)

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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 »

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 »