Friday Freakout: Close Call, Skydiver Flies By Canopy

Posted by Zej Moczydlowski

After a tracking jump and under canopy, this jumper had a dangerously close call with another jumper from a different tracking group who fell through the same air space. #MoreSeparation

Why did it happen

This is a short video with little context, so it’s difficult to tell exactly what happened. However, based on the limited comments provided with the submission, it would appear that two tracking groups were separated by several jump groups but still wound up opening in the same airspace. More than likely the second group traveled in an unsafe direction, although it’s possible the first group had done so as well.

How could it have been prevented:

  • Angle/tracking jumps need to be organized by individuals who are both familiar with a dropzone AND the rules regarding movement. This is especially important at dropzones where reference points are difficult to spot. “Solo track” should be an alarming phrase to hear in the loading area (just like “solo freefly” 😉)
  • Individuals leading movement groups must have the skill necessary to ensure a safe line of flight and need to know how to brief the dangers of track/angle jumps, i.e. the higher risk of collisions. Even jumpers who have proven themselves competent at movement may lack the situational awareness required to lead such a jump.
  • Exit orders and flight plans should ensure movement groups will not enter the airspace of other jumpers. Most dropzones state that tracking/angle groups should be first out or should exit after free-flyers. When two movement groups are on the same plane, they need to communicate their flight plans to one another and should, typically, take those aforementioned spots in the exit order.
  • Dropzones should have specific guidance regarding the experience levels they require for participation in movement groups as well as for leading those groups.