Friday Freakout: No Tracking, Skydiver Collides With Parachute In Freefall

Posted by Zej Moczydlowski

What happened

During a belly jump with an unknown number of people, one jumper – who made it into the formation –  went to pull after not tracking. Another individual – who went low and also didn’t track – deployed while underneath the rest of the group. The first jumper fell through the second jumper’s canopy, blowing out a few cells and requiring a cutaway.

Why did it happen

Poor tracking

Both jumpers did a poor job tracking. The first jumper – the one who made it into the formation – watched everyone else leave the formation and appears to not move at all. The second jumper – the one who went low – spun a few times but never seems to realize that he needs to track away from the jumpers above him.

Inadequate level control

The second jumper wasn’t able to stay with the group on a relatively basic belly jump. Staying on level is a skill every jumper should have before joining larger groups.

How could it be prevented

Group size

The skill levels exhibited by both these individuals suggests that this jump was too large. More knowledgeable jumpers should have broken the jump into smaller groups. By placing multiple inexperienced skydivers onto a single jump, the potential for a dangerous situation was increased significantly.

Training

Both of the major issues with this jump – poor tracking and inadequate level control – are skills that a jumper should be relatively familiar with prior to getting their license and, certainly, before attempting larger group jumps.  If a jumper is unable to grasp these concepts, they should continue getting coaching before getting cleared to do group jumps.

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