Are you withholding your dreams because of fear? “No, no, I am just reasonable!”. Being reasonable is great but not doing what your love to do because of unreasonable reasonability is not so great.
It would be funny, if it was not sad, that people label sports like skydiving as dangerous just because someone told them that, and without doing even basic research on their own.
I hope you are not one of them, but are open to make your judgement based on real facts. Let me share some:
In the United States each year about 30 people die because of skydiving accidents. That is not good of course, but the number comes out of about 2 million parachute jumps. So the fatality ratio is 30:2,000,000 or 1:67,000. In 2007 the fatality ratio of motor vehicle crashes in the USA has been 13.61 per 100,000 population (check yourself). That translates into 1:7,350, which looks quite more dangerous (well, of course most people take more than one drive per year). The figures for motorcycle and bicycle riders are even more depressing. So why are people so much worried about skydiving but let their kids ride a bicycle on the street? Lack of information in most cases. Skydiving is in general safer than travelling in the city – plain and simple.
Of course this should not let you overlook skydiving safety. It’s still an extreme sport and unlike playing chess hides some serious physical risks. To avoid them, you need to pay special attention to several important areas of safe skydiving.
Safe Skydiving Education And Training
If you approach skydiving training seriously you will reduce the accident risk by at least 50%. A huge part of the fatalities happen to untrained or too bumptious skydivers. There are three methods of skydiving training depending on how much time and money you have to spend:
- Accelerated Free Fall (AFF) is a program instituted in 1982 and will prepare you for all the basic safety recommendations issued by USPA.
- Static Line Training (S/L) is a method that has evolved from military training courses which makes it reliable enough as well, but is usually cheaper than AFF.
- Tandem Jumping is maybe the most popular training method because it gives you safety filling and the joy of the jump with less stress.
Whichever method you choose, it’s necessary to ensure that you have a licensed trainer. Pay attention to all the instructions and keep any documents and paper guides that you may receive.
Safe Skydiving Equipment
The second thing that matters most about your safety is your skydiving gear. In general you should make sure your equipment is in good condition by regularly checking it for damages or wear. It’s highly recommended (and in many drop zones required) to have the following gear:
- Jumpsuit. It has an impact on your fall rate and protects you from cold.
- Audible device or altimeter. You need to know your attitude so you know when to activate your parachute. Obviously this defice is vitally important
- Harness. You need well fitting, preferably custom-made harness to connect you to the container.
- Parachutes – main and reserve. The parachutes must be conformable to your weight and experience. Don’t neglect the reserve parachute, it can save your life.
- Automatic Activation Device (AAD). This is an excellent safety device that will activate your parachute even if you forget to do it.
- Helmet. Like in any extreme sport, wearing helmet is highly recommended. There are full face or open face helmets.
If you take skydiving safety seriously you will minimize the risk of accidents and will be able to fully enjoy it. The risk to fall in love with this sport however increases with every jump!