Friday Freakout: Skydiver Turns Into Meat Missile On Big Way Jump

Posted by Zej Moczydlowski

What happened

On the final day of a big way camp that had experienced some weather holds, a dive plan was changed due to a missing jumper but then changed back when the individual showed up at the final dirt dive on the 15-minute call. On the jump, the sectors begin to build but the individual who showed up late was seen flying around looking for their spot. At break-off the individual misses their tracking group’s departure from the main group. They attempted to compensate by “catching up” to their group and turned into a meat missile. They impacted the tracking leader in the lower back, resulting in two dislocated discs.

Why did it happen

Last Second Additions

Because the camp had experienced multiple weather days, the organizer decided to allow the jumper who had missed the earlier dirt dives to join in. Accommodating them necessitated a last second change and may not have provided the jumper adequate time to prepare for the jump.

Tunnel vision

The late jumper, who never made it into their slot during the jump, may have gotten tunnel vision about getting to their tracking group. To reach the group, they appear to have forgotten about safety, miscalculated their speed and trajectory, and took someone out.

How could it be prevented

On time or bust

This organizer decided to accommodate a jumper who showed up late but, in doing so, they allowed someone onto the jump who did not have the time to thoroughly go through the dirt dives with everyone else. The safer choice may have been to tell the jumper that it was too late to add them to the jump.

Personal responsibility

The jumper in question could have avoided the situation by choosing to take themselves off the jump. Showing up late and still trying to get on the load put the organizer in an uncomfortable position.

Tracking basics

Level-Slot-Dock is a basic tenet of all forms of skydiving and it applies to tracking. This jumper looks to have come across half the sky, joining the tracking group perpendicularly and without control of their speed. Alternatively, once this jumper realized they were not in the right position they could have broken off early and tracked away from the group.

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