Friday Freakout: Close Call Canopy Clusterf#@k Fly-By

Posted by Zej Moczydlowski

What happened

This short video came with a single sentence stated in the submission notes, “At the time pull another skydiver passed the parachute.” That’s a pretty succinct and accurate summary! We would also note that the jumper whose camera view we’re watching appears to be opening directly under another canopy.

Why did it happen

Unfortunately, we know very little about the events leading up to this incident. There are a few possibilities:

— If these jumpers were on a skydive together, they may have done a poor job tracking away at break-off; they may have been off-level from one another and lost awareness of where everyone was; they may not have cleared their airspace, etc.

— If the jumper who falls past the canopies was in a different group, he may have moved up jump run and entered the other group’s airspace. There is also a possibility that he may not have given proper exit separation.

How could it be prevented

Group Basics

When jumping in a group, everyone needs to ensure they are aware of where the other jumpers are, that they don’t fly over other jumpers at deployment altitude, that they track away properly at break-off, and that they clear their airspace before deploying.

Separation Basics

Before boarding a plane, jumpers should be aware of the direction that jump run is flying. When in freefall, they should ensure that any movement — including tracking away at break-off — is perpendicular to jump run to avoid encroaching into the airspace of another group. Jumpers should also ensure that they don’t rush the exit count. Counting out loud and/or counting with your fingers can help prevent a fast-count.