Friday Freakout: Skydivers Have Parachute Collision, Very Close to the Ground

Posted by Zej Moczydlowski

What happened

One skydiver was flying directly towards another jumper under canopy and neither did anything to avoid a collision. Consequently, a collision took place! Thankfully both jumpers were able to recover from the incident and landed safely.

Why did it happen

Assumptions

This video submission didn’t include details, but it seems possible that the jumper whose perspective we are viewing took it for granted that the other person would turn to avoid collision. (Yes, we realize that we’re making assumptions ourselves, haha.)

Tunnel vision

Either, or both, of these jumpers may have been so focused on their landing patterns that they completely forgot to pay attention to what was going on around them.

Head on a Swivel

We believe it was one of our favorite canopy coaches, Greg Windmiller*, who explained a few years ago at the Parachute Industry Association Symposium how he hates the phrase, “Keep your head on a swivel” because it causes jumpers to just whip their heads around without taking the time to process what they’re seeing. That may have been sort of what happened here. The jumper almost certainly saw the canopy coming at him, but didn’t actually recognize the danger.

*Greg: If we misquoted you, or if it wasn’t actually you who said that at all, please let us know!

How could it be prevented

Everyone is trying to kill you

A lot of jumpers say that, while tracking away from a formation and while under canopy, they presume everyone in the sky is trying to kill them. It may sound like paranoia but it’s not the worst mentality to have. Never assume someone knows what they’re doing, never assume they are going to avoid you, and never assume that they see you… even if they’re staring straight at you.

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