2-1 Basic Safety Requirements and Waivers
Note: Every BSR requires full board approval if a waiver is requested, unless the BSR has a marginal notation of [S] or [E], which identifies its waiverability by others as indicated in Section 2-2.
- These procedures are applicable worldwide, apply to all jumps except those made under military orders, or those training personnel under military orders, and those made because of in-flight emergencies. However, USPA Licensed skydivers when jumping outside of the United States, its territories and possessions, must comply with either the USPA Basic Safety Requirements or the rules and regulations of the country where the jump is being made, but must comply with the USPA BSR when instructing student skydivers. Compliance with these procedures is mandatory and will protect the best interests of both the participants and the general public.
- A “skydive” is defined as the descent of a person to the surface from an aircraft in flight when he or she uses or intends to use a parachute during all or part of that descent.
- All persons participating in skydiving should be familiar with the Skydiver’s Information Manual and all federal, state, and local regulations and rules pertaining to skydiving.
B. Compliance with Federal Regulations
- For skydives made within the U.S. and its territories and possessions, no skydive may be made in violation of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations.
- FAA regulations include the use of restraint systems in the aircraft by all skydivers during movement on the surface, takeoff, and landing. [FAR 91.107]
C. Medical Requirements
- All persons engaging in skydiving must:
- Possess at least a current FAA Third-Class Medical Certificate; or
- Carry a certificate of physical and mental fitness for skydiving from a registered physician; or
- Agree with the USPA recommended medical statement in Section 4-3.
- Any skydiver acting as tandem parachutist in command must possess a current FAA Third-Class Medical or military flight or diver physicals that are required by their position or duty status by their military command authority. Alternatively, if acting as tandem parachutist in command outside the United States, its territories or possessions, a current medical certificate recognized by the civil aviation authority of the country where they will be exercising their tandem rating privileges may be substituted.
- A tandem parachutist in command with a medical condition that would not allow the use of their FAA medical certificate to act as a pilot in command of an aircraft may not act as a tandem parachutist in command.
- A tandem parachutist in command with a medical condition that would not allow the use of the privileges of their USPA accepted equivalent medical certificate may not act as a tandem parachutist in command.
- Any foreign national in the United States, its territories or possessions for the purpose of qualifying as a tandem parachutist in command, or to fulfill rating renewal or currency requirements, must be under the direct supervision of a tandem examiner and must possess a current FAA Third-Class Medical Certificate or a current medical certificate recognized by the civil aviation authority of the country where they will be exercising their tandem rating privileges.
D. Age Requirements
- For skydives made within the U.S. and its territories and possessions, skydivers are to be at least 18 years of age. [E, during interim]
- For skydives made outside the U.S. and its territories and possessions, the minimum age is specified by the country’s (or its national airsport control’s) requirements. Such skydivers who are under 16 years of age will not be issued a USPA license.
- A waiver for tandem jumps may be issued to terminally ill persons under the age of 18 with manufacturer approval. The organizer of such jumps must submit a USPA Waiver Request form to the director of safety and training and the chairman of safety and training committee for approval prior to such jumps.
USPA membership is required of any skydiver cleared for self-supervision at a USPA Group Member drop zone, except for non-resident foreign nationals that are a member of their own national aeroclub.
F. Alcohol and Drugs
- No person may make a parachute jump, or attempt to make a jump, if that person is or appears to be under the influence of either;
- any drug that affects that person's faculties in any way contrary to safety.
- No person may make a parachute jump, or attempt to make a jump, within 8 hours after the consumption of any alcoholic beverage.
G. Student Skydivers
Note: All references to USPA instructional rating holders apply to higher rating holders in that training discipline.
- General [E]
- All student training programs must be conducted under the supervision as required by an appropriately rated USPA Instructor until the student is issued a USPA A license.
- A person conducting, training, or supervising student jumps must hold a USPA instructional rating according to the requirements that follow.
- On any student jump, the supervising instructor or both instructors if a two-instructor jump, must submit a completed incident report to USPA within 48 hours if any AAD was activated on the jump. No disciplinary action will result from this self-report.
- Each Instructor or Coach must ensure that all gear used on a student jump has received a complete gear check and is ready to jump before boarding the aircraft.
- First-jump course [E]
- All first-jump non-method-specific training must be conducted by a USPA Instructor or a USPA Coach under the supervision of a USPA Instructor.
- All method-specific training must be conducted by a USPA Instructor rated in the method for which the student is being trained.
- All students must receive training in the following areas, sufficient to jump safely [E]:
- aircraft and exit procedures
- freefall procedures (except IAD and static-line jumps)
- deployment procedures and parachute emergencies
- canopy flight procedures
- landing procedures and emergencies
- Advancement criteria
- IAD and static line [E]
- All jumps must be conducted by a USPA Instructor in that student’s training method.
- Before being cleared for freefall, all students must perform three successive jumps with practice deployments while demonstrating the ability to maintain stability and control from exit to opening.
- All students must be under the direct supervision of an appropriately rated instructor until completing one successful clear-and-pull.
- Following a successful clear-and-pull, each student must be supervised in the aircraft and in freefall by a USPA Coach or Instructor until demonstrating stability and heading control prior to and within five seconds after initiating two intentional disorienting maneuvers involving a back-to-earth presentation.
- All ground training must be conducted by an instructor in that student’s training method, until demonstrating stability and heading control prior to and within five seconds after initiating two intentional disorienting maneuvers involving a back-to-earth presentation.
- Harness-hold program
- All students must jump with two USPA AFF rating holders until demonstrating the ability to reliably deploy in the belly-to-earth orientation at the correct altitude without assistance, except:
- Students who have been trained in a wind tunnel may jump with one AFF rating holder after demonstrating the following in the wind tunnel:
- basic stability (neutral body position)
- heading control
- controlled forward and backward motion
- controlled turns
- proper response to hand signals
- simulated altimeter checks and time awareness
- simulated main parachute activation
- The wind tunnel training and tunnel flight sessions must be conducted by an AFF rating holder, or a tunnel instructor who is under the direct supervision of an AFF rating holder. All training must be documented.
- All students must jump with one USPA AFF rating holder, exit safely, maintain stability, and deploy at the planned altitude without assistance prior to attempting disorienting maneuvers.
- All students must jump under the direct supervision of an appropriately rated USPA Instructor until demonstrating stability and heading control prior to and within five seconds after initiating two intentional disorienting maneuvers involving a back-to-earth presentation.
- Tandem training jumps [E]
- Any USPA member conducting a tandem jump must have successfully completed a tandem instructor course conducted by the manufacturer of the tandem parachute system used in the parachute operation, been certified by the appropriate parachute manufacturer or tandem course provider as being properly trained on the use of the specific tandem parachute system to be used, and must hold a current USPA Tandem instructor rating.
- For progressive training requirements following tandem jumps, refer to “Crossover training.”
- Intentional back-to-earth or vertical orientations that cause tandem freefall speeds exceeding that of droguefall are prohibited.
- Tandem equipment instruction must be conducted by an individual approved by the tandem equipment manufacturer of that system.
- All student tandem skydives must be conducted in accordance with the specific manufacturer’s age requirements for the tandem system used for that jump.
- Use of any extendable or fixed pole camera mounts, attached or handheld by the tandem instructor or student, is prohibited.
- Any person acting as parachutist in command on a tandem skydive is required to conduct system-handles checks as defined by the manufacturer of the specified tandem equipment being used immediately after deploying the drogue.
- Any person making a tandem skydive may not perform a turn of more than 90 degrees below 500 feet AGL.
- Tandem instructors must have at least 200 tandem skydives before any camera device may be used, held or attached to the tandem instructor or tandem student.
- Crossover training [E]
- Students may transfer after the first or subsequent jumps to another training method after demonstrating sufficient knowledge and skill in the areas of equipment, aircraft, exits, freefall maneuvers, deployment, emergency procedures, canopy control, and rules and recommendations to enter into that program at a comparable level of proficiency and training.
- Students previously trained in a tandem program may continue in a harness-hold program or must demonstrate a solo exit and practice deployment with stability in the IAD or static-line program prior to advancing to freefall.
- Students who have completed at least two tandem jumps and demonstrated the ability to reliably pull the drogue release at the correct altitude, maintain heading and a stable body position, without requiring any control or altitude prompts from the tandem instructor, may progress to single instructor AFF jumps after completion of solo ground training.
- Students previously trained in a harness-hold program must have exited stable without assistance or performed a stable IAD or static-line jump with a practice deployment supervised by a USPA IAD or Static-Line Instructor prior to performing freefall jumps with any non-AFF-rated USPA Instructor.
- Students previously trained in Categories A-C in SL, IAD and tandem programs may jump with one AFF instructor after demonstrating the AFF wind tunnel requirements.
- Students training for group freefall [S]
- Student freefall training for group freefall jumps must be conducted by either a USPA Coach or a D-license holder approved to make coach jumps by their S&TA, under the supervision of a USPA Instructor, and;
- The maximum group size allowed for any group skydive is four if that group includes any solo students cleared for self-supervision. The solo student must have successfully demonstrated the skills of ISP Category G. There must be at least one instructor, coach or D-license holder (that has been approved by an S&TA) for each student involved.
- Instruction of foreign students [E]
- Foreign non-resident instructional rating holders appropriately and currently rated by their national aero club may train students from that nation in the U.S., provided the instruction is conducted in accordance with the USPA Basic Safety Requirements.
- Appropriately and currently rated USPA instructional rating holders may assist in this training.
- No skydiver will simultaneously perform the duties of a USPA instructional rating holder and pilot-in-command of an aircraft in flight.
- All student jumps, including tandems, must be completed between official sunrise and sunset.
Maximum ground winds
- For all solo students
- 14 mph for ram-air canopies
- 10 mph for round reserves
- For licensed skydivers are unlimited
I. Minimum Opening Altitudes
Minimum container opening altitudes above the ground for skydivers are:
- Tandem jumps–5,000 feet AGL [E]
- All students and A-license holders–3,000 feet AGL [E]
- B-license holders–2,500 feet AGL [E]
- C- and D-license holders–2,500 feet AGL [S] (waiverable to no lower than 2,000 feet AGL)
J. Drop Zone Requirements
- Areas used for skydiving should be unobstructed, with the following minimum radial distances to the nearest hazard: [S]
- solo students and A-license holders—330 feet
- B- and C-license holders and all tandem skydives—165 feet
- D-license holders—40 feet
- Hazards are defined as telephone and power lines, towers, buildings, bodies of water, highways, vehicles, and clusters of trees covering more than 32,292 square feet. However, clusters of trees must not be greater than 10% of the designated landing area.
K. Pre-jump Requirements
The appropriate altitude and surface winds are to be determined prior to conducting any skydive.
L. Extraordinary Skydives
- Night, water, and demonstration jumps are to be performed only with the advice of the appropriate USPA S&TA, Examiner, or Regional Director.
- Pre-planned breakaway jumps are to be made by only class C- and D-license holders using FAA TSO’ed equipment. [E]
- Demonstration jumps into Level 2 areas require a D license with a USPA PRO Rating for all jumpers, including both tandem jump participants. [E]
- Contact canopy formation activity is prohibited on tandem jumps. [E]
- Tandem jumps into stadiums are prohibited. [E]
- Any person performing a wingsuit jump must have at least 200 skydives, and hold a current skydiving license. [E]
- Freefall within 500 feet vertically or horizontally of any student under parachute, including tandem students, is prohibited. (This requirement excludes scenarios where— during a training jump—a student’s instructor(s) and videographer may be within this distance.) Freefall within 500 feet vertically or horizontally of any licensed skydiver under canopy requires prior planning and agreement between the canopy pilot and the skydiver in freefall.
M. Parachute Equipment
- FAA regulations [FAR 105.19] require that when performing night jumps, each skydiver must display a light that is visible for at least three statute miles from the time the jumper is under an open parachute until landing.
- All students are to be equipped with the following equipment until they have obtained a USPA A license:
- a rigid helmet (except tandem students)
- a piggyback harness-and-container system that includes a single-point riser release and a reserve static line.
- a visually accessible altimeter (except tandem students)
- a functional automatic activation device that meets the manufacturer’s recommended service schedule
- a ram-air main canopy suitable for student use
- a steerable reserve canopy appropriate to the student’s weight
- for freefall, a ripcord-activated, spring-loaded, pilot-chute-equipped main parachute or a bottom- of-container (BOC) throw-out pilot chute
- Students must receive additional ground instruction in emergency procedures and deployment-specific information before jumping any unfamiliar system.
- All instructional rating holders must have a visibly accessible altimeter when conducting student jumps.
- All skydivers wearing a round main or reserve canopy and all solo students must wear flotation gear when the intended exit, opening, or landing point is within one mile of an open body of water (an open body of water is defined as one in which a skydiver could drown). [S]
N. Special Altitude equipment and Supplementary Oxygen
Supplementary oxygen available on the aircraft is mandatory on skydives made from higher than 15,000 feet (MSL).