Nearly Fatal Skydive Collision From Meat Missile

Zej MoczydlowskiBy Zej Moczydlowski

WHOA! Don’t blink or you’ll miss this cringe-worthy close call. One of the skydivers on this angle jump got too far ahead of the group, and instead of adding brakes to slow down to close the distance gap, they ended up turning back towards the group in the opposite direction.

This skydiver went full meat missile. Never go full meat missile. A collision at this speed could have been fatal, so luckily there was no impact with the group.

Why did it happen?

Varying skill levels

There were varying levels and distances from the base/leader on this jump. Based on how much the meat missile was moving laterally relative to the rest of the group, it’s questionable whether they were at the appropriate skill level to be on this jump. If a jumper cannot control their speed on a track, if they cannot speed up or slow down as needed, and they’re not proficient at breaking off and picking a heading; they need to work on that prior to getting into group movement jumps.

Large Group Size

An 8-way movement group isn’t exactly small. In a group that size, everyone should be capable of staying together or getting back into their slot or quadrant safely. Intro angle and tracking jumps should be kept small; probably around 3-4 jumpers, one of whom (preferably the leader) should be experienced.

What could have prevented it?

Level. Slot. Dock

Make minor adjustments to increase or decrease speed as needed to maintain levels, but never turn 180 degrees towards a formation — especially on a movement jump (angles, flat tracking). “Level. Slot. Dock.” applies to every skydiving orientation and discipline.

Be honest about your skill level

When putting a jump together everyone needs to be upfront about their skill levels and what the minimum skill level should be for the jump. A big part of that process is honesty; people need to be truthful about where they’re at and organizers may need to be blunt and tell a person if they’re not qualified to be on a particular skydive.

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