United States Parachute Association > Experienced Skydivers > SIM > Section 6

Section 6: Advanced Progression

Section Summary

Important Reference Numbers
  • group freefall—6-1
  • freeflying, freestyle, and skysurfing—6-2
  • rate of descent and time table—6-3
  • night jumps—6-4
  • water landings—6-5
  • canopy formation—6-6
  • high altitude jumps and oxygen use—6-7
  • camera flying—6-8
  • wing suits—6-9
  • canopy flight fundamentals—6-10
  • advanced canopy flight topics—6-11

Completing the basic instruction and earning a license presents many new opportunities for advanced progression in skydiving. Advancement in one or more of the areas discussed in this section will help to improve your skills and increase your enjoyment and satisfaction from the sport.
Information in this section provides guidance for night jumping, water landings, canopy formation, high altitude jumps, flying a camera, jumping wingsuits and advanced canopy flight.
These guidelines will also assist you in meeting your skill and knowledge requirements for the USPA B, C, and D licenses and USPA ratings.

Who needs this section?

  • jumpers planning to engage in new types of skydiving activities
  • jumpers planning extraordinary skydives
  • jumpers working on advanced USPA licenses and ratings
  • USPA Instructors conducting night and water jump briefings
  • USPA officials advising jumpers on extraordinary skydives

6-1 Group Freefall (Relative Work)

A. What is relative work?

  1. Group skydiving, traditionally called “relative work,” may be described as the intentional maneuvering of two or more skydivers in proximity to one another in freefall.
  2. The concept of group skydiving is the smooth flow and grace of two or more jumpers in aerial harmony.
    1. Mid-air collisions and funneled formations are not only undesirable but can be dangerous.
    2. The colliding of two bodies in flight can cause severe injuries or death.
    3. The greatest danger exists when jumpers lose sight of each other and open independently, which may set the stage for a jumper in freefall to collide with an open canopy.
    4. Even after opening, there is the possible danger of canopy collisions if proper safety procedures are not followed.

B. Training and procedures

  1. Before training for group freefall, each student should complete all the training and advancement criteria through Category F of the USPA Integrated Student Program, Section 4 of this manual.
  2. Initial training for group freefall skills should begin as soon as the student completes Category F of the ISP—
    1. to maintain interest in skydiving
    2. to encourage relaxation in the air
    3. to develop coordination
    4. to establish participation in group activities
    5. to encourage the development of safe attitudes and procedures
  3. Initial training should begin with no more than two jumpers—the trainee and a USPA instructional rating holder.
  4. A recommended training outline for beginning group freefall skills is included in Categories G and H of the ISP.

C. Breakoff

  1. The minimum breakoff altitude should be—
    1. for groups of five or fewer, at least 1,500 feet higher than the highest planned deployment altitude in the group (not counting one camera flyer)
    2. for groups of six or more, at least 2,000 feet higher than the highest planned deployment altitude in the group (not counting a signaling deployment or camera flyers)
    3. higher than these recommendations for the following:
      1. groups with one or more jumpers of lower experience
      2. jumpers with slower-opening or faster-flying canopies
      3. jumpers engaging in freefall activities that involve a fall rate faster than belly to earth terminal velocity
      4. jumps involving props, toys, or other special equipment, (signs, banners, smoke, flags, hoops, tubes, items released in freefall, etc.)
      5. jumps taking place over an unfamiliar landing area or in case of an off-field landing (bad spot recognized in freefall)
      6. other special considerations
  2. At the breakoff signal or upon reaching the breakoff altitude, each participant should:
    1. turn 180-degrees from the center of the formation
    2. flat track away to the planned deployment altitude (flat tracking will achieve more separation than diving)
  3. Opening:
    1. The pull should be preceded by a distinct wave-off to signal jumpers who may be above.
    2. During the wave-off, one should look up, down and to the sides to ensure that the area is clear.
    3. The low person has the right-of-way, both in freefall and under canopy.

D. Other references

  1. See SIM Section 6-2, “Freeflying, Freestyle Skydiving, and Skysurfing Recommendations” for information about group flying in vertical orientations.
  2. See SIM Section 6-4, “Night Jump Recommendations” for guidance on jumping in groups at night.

6-2: Freeflying, Freestyle and Skysurfing

A. The scope of freeflying

  1. These recommendations provide guidance for vertical freefall body positions, generally associated with significantly higher fall rates and rapid changes in relative speed.
  2. The diverse freefall speeds among jumpers engaged in different freefall activities affect separation between individuals and groups exiting on the same pass over the drop zone.
  3. The term “freeflying” in this context is applied to all activities that incorporate back, standing, head-down, or sitting freefall positions, including freestyle and skysurfing.

B. Qualifications

  1. Before engaging in freeflying, the skydiver should either:
    1. hold a USPA A license
    2. receive freeflying instruction from a USPA instructional rating holder with extensive freeflying experience
  2. The skydiver should have demonstrated sufficient air skills, including:
    1. consistent altitude awareness
    2. basic formation skydiving skills
    3. ability to track to achieve horizontal separation
    4. understanding of the jump run line of flight
    5. proficiency in movement up, down, forward, backward, and rotation in a backfly position before attempting sit maneuvers.
    6. proficiency in movement up, down, forward, backward, and rotation in a sit position before attempting a standing or head-down maneuvers.

C. Equipment

  1. Gear must be properly secured to prevent premature deployment of either canopy.
    1. A premature opening at the speeds involved in this type of skydiving could result in severe injury to the body or stressing the equipment beyond limits set by the manufacturers.
    2. Deployment systems and operation handles should remain secure during inverted and stand-up flight; therefore, equipment for freeflying should include:
      1. bottom-of-container mounted throw-out pilot chute pouch, pull-out pilot chute, or ripcord main deployment system
        1. Exposed leg-strap-mounted pilot chutes present an extreme hazard.
        2. Any exposed pilot chute bridle presents a hazard.
        3. Use of a tuck-tab is recommended to provide additional security of the pilot chute during high freefall speeds encountered while freeflying.
      2. closing loops, pin protection flaps, and riser covers well maintained and properly sized
  2. Harness straps
    1. Leg straps should be connected with a seat strap to keep the leg straps from moving toward the knees while in a sitting freefall position or making transitions.
    2. Excess leg and chest straps should be tightly stowed.
  3. Automatic activation devices are recommended because of the high potential for collisions and loss of altitude awareness associated with freeflying.
  4. In the case of skysurfing boards, a board release system that can be activated with either hand without bending at the waist is recommended.
  5. Personal accessories for freeflying should include:
    1. audible altimeter (two are recommended)
    2. visual altimeter
    3. hard helmet
    4. clothing or jumpsuit that will remain in place during inverted and stand-up freefall and will not obscure or obstruct deployment or emergency handles or altimeters

D. Training

  1. Freeflying has many things in common with face-to-earth formation skydiving.
    1. A beginner will progress much faster and more safely with a coach.
    2. Novices should not jump with each other until—
      1. receiving basic training in freeflying.
      2. demonstrating ability to control movement up, down, forward and backward in a sitting position.
  2. Prior to jumping with larger groups, progress should follow the same model as for the freefall and canopy formation disciplines: 2-way formations of novice and coach to develop exit, body position, docking, transition, and breakoff skills.

E. Hazards associated with group freeflying

  1. Inadvertently transitioning from a fast-falling body position to a face-to-earth position (“corking”) results in rapid deceleration from typically 175 mph to 120 mph.
    1. Freeflying in a group requires the ability to:
      1. remain in a fast-flying position at all times
      2. remain clear of the airspace above other freeflyers
    2. Assuming a fast-falling position when the other skydivers are in a slow-falling position puts the freeflyer below the formation, creating a hazard at break-off.
  2. Freeflying offers more potential for loss of altitude awareness than traditional skydiving for several reasons.
    1. Higher speeds mean shorter freefalls.
      1. Face-to-earth freefall time from 13,000 feet to routine deployment altitudes takes about 60-65 seconds.
      2. Typical freefly times from 13,000 feet may be as short as 40 seconds.
    2. Head-down and sit-fly positions present a different visual picture of the earth; freeflyers may not be visually aware of their altitude.
    3. Visual altimeters can be difficult to read in some body positions.
    4. Audible altimeters can be hard to hear in the higher wind noise associated with freefly speeds.
    5. As with other skydiving disciplines, participants must guard against focusing on an unimportant goal and losing track of the more important aspects of the skydive: time and altitude.
  3. Horizontal drift
    1. Novice freeflyers sometimes drift laterally in freefall.
      1. An experienced coach can correct the problem.
      2. On solo jumps, freeflyers should practice movement perpendicular to the line of flight (90 degrees to jump run heading).
      3. Separation from other groups can be enhanced by tracking perpendicular to the line of flight at a routine breakoff altitude.
    2. Experienced freeflyers must also be aware of lateral movement when coaching novices or performing dives involving horizontal movement.
    3. All skydivers on loads mixing freeflyers and traditional formation skydiving must consider the overall effect of the wind on their drift during freefall.
    4. As a general rule, faster-falling groups should leave after slower-falling groups particularly when jump run is flown against a strong headwind.
  4. Faster-falling groups should delay canopy flight downwind and remain in position to allow jumpers who exited before them, but who fell slower, to deploy and then turn downwind also.
  5. Loss of visual contact with other skydivers:
    1. The rapid changes in vertical separation that can occur in freefly positions makes it easy to lose contact with others on the dive.
    2. Even jumpers with extensive experience in formation skydiving may have trouble locating everyone on a freefly dive.
    3. Breakoff can be more confusing than usual.
    4. Important considerations in planning a freefly dive are:
      1. Keep the size of the groups small until proficient.
      2. Plan higher breakoffs than usual.
      3. Transition from fast-fall rate to normal tracking for separation gradually in case of a skydiver above the formation in a high-speed descent.
      4. Avoid maneuvers near breakoff that increase vertical separation.
      5. It is as important to slow down after breakoff as it is to get separation from other jumpers.

6-3: Freefall Rate of Descent and Time Table

A. A logging aid

  1. The following table will assist in estimating the approximate amount of freefall time to be expected from a given altitude and in logging the correct amount of freefall time for a given jump.
  2. Each skydiver should log every jump made, including the amount of freefall time experienced.
  3. The amount of freefall time logged for each jump should be actual time.

B. Computation

  1. Many factors affect the rate of fall or terminal velocity in freefall.
    1. total weight of the jumper including equipment
    2. the surface area-to-weight ratio
    3. jumpsuit
    4. altitude above sea level (air density)
    5. skydiving discipline, e.g., vertical orientations
  2. The chart lists freefall times based on three different typical terminal velocities and provides an exit altitude reference for 3,000-foot openings.
    1. 120 mph (176 feet per second) for belly-to earth orientation
    2. 160 mph (235 feet per second) for vertical head-down or standing orientation
    3. 50 mph (73.3 feet per second) for wing-suit jumps
  3. To determine the approximate amount of freefall time to expect on a jump and to log a realistic amount of freefall time for a jump, use the following procedures:
    1. Determine your approximate terminal velocity by taking actual measurements of jumps with known exit and opening altitudes (this can be done by timing video tapes, by having someone on the ground time the skydive, or using a recording altimeter).
    2. Subtract your opening altitude from your exit altitude to determine the length of your freefall.
    3. Use the chart to estimate your freefall time according to your approximate terminal velocity and the distance in freefall.

6-4: Night Jumps

A. Why jump at night?

  1. Night jumps can be challenging, educational, and fun, but they require greater care on the part of the jumper, pilot, spotter, and ground crew.
  2. As with all phases of skydiving, night jumping can be made safer through special training, suitable equipment, pre-planning, and good judgment.
  3. Every skydiver, regardless of experience, should participate in night-jump training to learn or review:
    1. techniques of avoiding disorientation
    2. use of identification light, lighted instruments, and flashlight
    3. target lighting
    4. ground-to-air communications
    5. reserve activation
  4. To maintain safety and comply with FAA Regulations, any jumps between official sunset and official sunrise are considered as night jumps.
  5. Night jumps to meet license requirements and to establish world records must take place between one hour after official sunset and one hour before official sunrise.

B. Qualifications

  1. Skydivers participating in night jumping should meet all the requirements for a USPA B or higher license.
  2. Participants should complete a comprehensive briefing and drill immediately prior to the intended night jump.
    1. The training should be conducted by a USPA Safety & Training Advisor (S&TA), Examiner, or Instructor who has completed two-night jumps.
    2. The training (including the date and location) should be documented in the jumper’s logbook and signed by the USPA S&TA, I/E, or Instructor.

C. Challenges

  1. Night jumps provide the challenge of a new and unusual situation that must be approached with caution because of:
    1. the opportunity for disorientation
    2. the new appearance of the earth’s surface and the lack of familiar reference points
    3. Vision and depth perception are greatly impaired by darkness.
    4. Be thoroughly familiar with the effects of hypoxia (oxygen deprivation) on night vision (from the FAA Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM) online at faa.gov:
      1. One of the first effects of hypoxia, evident as low as 5,000 feet, is loss of night vision.
      2. It takes approximately 30 minutes to recover from the effects of hypoxia.
      3. Smokers suffer the effects of hypoxia sooner than non-smokers.
      4. Carbon monoxide from exhaust fumes, deficiency of Vitamin A in the diet, and prolonged exposure to bright sunlight all degrade night vision.
    5. Night vision requires 30 minutes to fully adjust.
  2. A jumper’s own shadow cast by the moon can resemble another jumper below and cause confusion.
  3. Skydivers infrequently make night jumps, and are less familiar with and less proficient in handling themselves under the conditions of this new environment.
  4. Since the skydiver cannot perceive what is taking place as rapidly and easily as in daylight, it takes more time to react to each situation.

D. Special equipment

  1. A light visible for at least three statute miles displayed from opening until the jumper is on the ground (an FAA requirement for protection from aircraft)
  2. Lighted altimeter
  3. Clear goggles
  4. Jumper manifest
  5. Flashlight to check canopy
  6. Whistle
    1. to warn other jumpers under canopy
    2. for after landing to signal other jumpers
    3. to aid rescuers in locating a lost or injured jumper
  7. Sufficient lighting to illuminate the target
    1. Lighting can be provided by flashlights, electric lights, or such devices.
    2. Road flares or other pyrotechnics and open flames can be extremely hazardous and should not be used.
    3. Automobiles can be used for lighting, but they clutter the landing area.
  8. Cycle the automatic activation device to ensure it is within the time-frame operational limits for the night jump.

E. Procedures

  1. General
    1. Night jumps should be conducted in light winds.
    2. visibility
      1. Night jumps should be made only in clear atmospheric conditions with minimum clouds.
      2. Moonlight greatly increases visibility and night-jump safety.
    3. advice and notification
      1. Consult the local S&TA or a USPA Examiner for advice for conducting night jumps (required by the BSRs).
      2. Notify FAA, state, and local officials as required.
    4. Use a topographical map or photo with FAA Flight Service weather information for appropriate altitude and surface winds to compute jump run compass heading and exit and opening point.
    5. One senior member should be designated jumpmaster for each pass and be responsible for accounting for all members of that pass once everyone has landed.
    6. Each jumper performing a night jump who is not familiar with the drop zone should make at least one jump during daylight hours on the same day, to become familiar with the drop zone and surrounding areas during daylight conditions.
  2. Target configuration for accuracy:
    1. Arrange lights in a circle around the target area at a radius of 82 feet from the center.
    2. Remove three or four of the lights closest to the wind line on the downwind side of the target and arrange them in a line leading into the target area.
      1. This will indicate both wind line and wind direction.
      2. By following a flight path over this line of lights, the jumper will be on the wind line and land upwind.
    3. Place a red light at dead center, protected by a plexiglass cover flush with the surface.
  3. Emergency: Extinguish all lights in the event of adverse weather or other hazardous jump conditions to indicate “no jump.”
  4. Ground-to-air radio communications should be available.
  5. Night Spotting:
    1. Current wind information for both surface and aloft conditions is critical at night.
    2. Spotters should familiarize themselves with the drop zone and surrounding area in flight during daylight, noting ground points that will display lights at night and their relationship to the drop zone and any hazardous areas.
    3. The spotter should plan to use both visual spotting and aircraft instruments to assure accurate positioning of the aircraft.
    4. During the climb to altitude, familiarize each jumper with the night landmarks surrounding the drop zone.

F. General

  1. A jumper making a first night jump should exit solo (no group skydiving).
  2. Strobe lights are not recommended for use in freefall, because they can interfere with night vision and cause disorientation.
    1. Constant lights are preferable.
    2. Flashing lights can be used once the jumper has opened and is in full control under canopy.
  3. Warning on pyrotechnics:
    1. Road flares and other pyrotechnics exude hot melted chemicals while burning and are hazardous when used by skydivers in freefall.
    2. In addition, the bright glare greatly increases the possibility of disorientation.

G. Group jumps: freefall and canopy

  1. Freefall
    1. It is recommended that night relative work be planned for a full moon.
    2. Skydivers should wear white or light-colored jumpsuits.
    3. A safe progression from a 2-way to larger formations should be made on subsequent night jumps.
    4. Staggering the deployment altitudes can reduce the risk of a canopy collision
      1. During deployment, in the event there is a lack of horizontal separation
      2. During the canopy descent and landing pattern, when all canopies are converging above the landing area
      3. The deployments should be staggered in order, with the lowest wing-loaded jumper deploying at the highest altitude, continuing in order until the highest wing-loaded jumper is deploying at the lowest altitude
  2. Under canopy:
    1. With others in the air, jumpers should fly predictably and avoid spirals.
    2. All jumpers on each pass should agree to the same downwind, base, and final approach and the altitudes for turns to each leg of the landing pattern.
  3. Jumpers planning canopy formations should practice together during daylight and rehearse prior to boarding for each night jump.
    1. It is recommended that night canopy formation activity be performed during a full moon.
    2. Brightly colored clothing should be worn by all jumpers.
    3. Lighting
      1. Constant beam lights are preferred.
      2. Strobes can interfere with night vision and depth perception.

6-5: Water Landings

A. Why jump in the water?

  1. A number of fatalities have resulted from accidental water landings, usually because of the absence of flotation gear, use of incorrect procedures, and landing in extremely cold water.
  2. Water landing training is recommended to improve chances for survival from both intentional and unintentional water landings.
  3. The purpose of wet training (required for the USPA B license) is to expose the individual to a worst-case scenario in a controlled situation.
    1. Drownings are usually brought on by panic.
    2. Proper training should decrease the likelihood of panic and therefore decrease the likelihood of a drowning.
  4. The potential always exists for unintentional water entry due to spotting error, radical wind changes, malfunctions, and landing under a reserve rather than a main.
  5. Intentional water jumps are preplanned jumps into a body of water.
    1. With a few additional precautions, a water jump can be the easiest and safest of all skydives.
    2. Physical injuries and drownings are almost unknown on preplanned, intentional water landings.
  6. These recommendations provide the USPA S&TA, Examiner, and Instructor with guidelines to train skydivers to effectively deal with water landings.
  7. This section covers recommendations, procedures, and references for the following:
    1. training considerations for unintentional water landings
    2. wet training for water landings, both unintentional and intentional
    3. intentional water jumps

B. Training for unintentional water landings

  1. In the USPA Integrated Student Program, training recommendations for unintentional water landings are included in the obstacle landing training of Category A (the first-jump course).
  2. A more complete and detailed briefing outline is contained in SIM Section 5-1.F.

Dry (theoretical training)

  1. This training (including the date and location) should be documented in the student’s logbook and A-license application or on a separate statement and signed by a USPA S&TA, Examiner, or Instructor.
  2. Theoretical training should include classroom lessons covering:
    1. techniques for avoiding water hazards
    2. how to compensate for poor depth perception over water
    3. preparation for water entry
    4. additional risks of water landings in cold water temperatures
    5. recovery after landing
  3. Practice should combine both ground and training harness drills and should continue until the jumper is able to perform the procedures in a reasonable amount of time.

Wet (practical training)

  1. Wet training
    1. should be conducted following a class on theory
    2. should take place in a suitable environment such as a swimming pool, lake, or other body of water at least six feet deep
    3. meets the USPA B license training requirements for intentional water landings
  2. This training (including the date and location) should be documented in the jumper’s logbook and signed by a USPA S&TA, Examiner, or Instructor.
  3. Safety personnel should include properly trained and certified lifeguards.
    1. If suitably qualified skydivers are not available, assistance may normally be solicited from the local American Red Cross or other recognized training organization.
    2. Flotation gear and other lifesaving apparatus is recommended for non-swimmers.
    3. Persons conducting this training need to consider the safety of the participants.
  4. Review all theoretical and practical training.
  5. Initial training may be conducted in swimsuits, but final training is to be conducted in normal jump clothing to simulate a water landing.
    1. Non-swimmer: Training is to include basic skills covering breath control, bobbing, and front and back floating.
    2. Swimmer: Training is to include all of the above, plus the breast stroke, side stroke, back stroke, and treading water.
  6. While wearing a parachute harness and container system and all associated equipment, jump into the water.
    1. The USPA Instructor should then cast an open canopy over the jumper before any wave action subsides.
    2. Any type of canopy may be used.
    3. The jumper should then perform the steps necessary to escape from the equipment and the water.
    4. Repeat this drill until proficient.

C. Intentional water landings

  1. Any person intending to make an intentional water landing should:
    1. undergo preparatory training within 60 days of the water jump
      1. The training should be conducted by a USPA S&TA, Examiner, or Instructor.
      2. The training (including the date and location) should be documented in the jumper’s logbook and signed by a USPA S&TA, Examiner or Instructor.
    2. hold a USPA A license and have undergone wet training for water landings
    3. be a swimmer
  2. Theoretical training should include classroom lessons covering:
    1. preparations necessary for safe oper­ations
    2. equipment to be used
    3. procedures for the actual jump
    4. recovery of jumpers and equipment
    5. care of equipment
  3. Preparation
    1. Obtain advice for the water jump from the local USPA S&TA or Examiner (required by the BSRs).
    2. Check the landing site for underwater hazards.
    3. Use an altimeter for freefalls of 30 seconds or more.
    4. Provide no less than one recovery boat per jumper, or, if the aircraft drops one jumper per pass, one boat for every three jumpers.
    5. Boat personnel should include at least one qualified skydiver and stand-by swimmer with face mask, swim fins, and experience in lifesaving techniques, including resuscitation.
    6. Each jumper should be thoroughly briefed concerning the possible emergencies that may occur after water entry and the proper corrective procedures.
    7. opening altitude
      1. Jumpers should open no less than 3,000 feet AGL to provide ample time to prepare for water entry.
      2. This is especially true when the DZ is a small body of water and the jumper must concentrate on both accuracy and water entry.
    8. A second jump run should not be made until all jumpers from the first pass are safely aboard the pickup boat(s).
  4. After canopy inflation: In calm conditions with readily accessible pick-up boats, the best procedure is simply to inflate the flotation gear and concentrate on landing in the proper area.
  5. Landing
    1. In strong winds, choppy water conditions, in competitive water jump events, or if the flotation gear cannot be inflated, separation from equipment after water entry is essential.
    2. Instruments:
      1. Water may damage some altimeters and automatic activation devices.
      2. Skydivers jumping without standard instruments and AADs should use extra care.

D. High-performance landings in water

  1. Water may reduce injuries for jumpers who slightly misjudge high-performance landings, but jumpers have been seriously injured or killed after hitting the water too hard.
  2. Jumpers should obtain coaching from an experienced high-performance canopy pilot familiar with water hazard approaches and contact prior to attempting high-performance landings across water.
  3. Raised banks at the approach entry and exit from the body of water present a serious hazard.
  4. An injury upon landing in a water hazard can increase the jumper’s risk of drowning, so high-performance landings involving water should be approached with the standard water landing precautions, including the use of a flotation device.
  5. The area around the body of water should be clear of hazards and spectators in case high-speed contact with the water causes the jumper to lose control.

E. Water jump safety checks and briefings

  1. A complete equipment check should be performed with particular attention to any additional equipment to be used or carried for the water jump (refer to SIM Section 5-4 on equipment checks).
  2. Boat and ground crew briefings:
    1. communications procedures (smoke, radio, buoys, boats)
    2. wind limitations
    3. jump order
    4. control of spectators and other boats
    5. setting up the target
    6. maintenance of master log
    7. how to approach a jumper and canopy in the water (direction, proximity)

6-6: Canopy Formations

A. What is canopy relative work?

  1. Canopy Formation (CF) is the name of the competition discipline for the skydiving activity commonly called canopy relative work (CRW) or “crew.”
  2. Canopy formations are built by the intentional maneuvering of two or more open parachute canopies in close proximity to or in contact with one another during flight.
  3. The most basic canopy formation is the joining of two canopies vertically during flight as a stack or plane (compressed stack).
  4. Canopy formations, both day and night, may be accomplished by experienced canopy formation specialists leading the dives.

B. General

  1. This section recommends procedures considered by canopy formation specialists to be the safest and most predictable, as well as productive.
  2. The concept of canopy relative work is that of smooth flow and grace between two or more jumpers and their canopies in flight.
  3. Jumper-to jumper collisions or hard docks that result in deflated canopies or entanglements can result in serious injury or death.

C. Qualifications and initial training

  1. Before engaging in canopy formations, a jumper should have:
    1. thorough knowledge of canopy flight characteristics, to include riser maneuvers and an understanding of the relative compatibility of various canopies
    2. demonstrated accuracy capability of consistently landing within 16 feet of a target
  2. For the first few jumps, begin with stacks and planes, as offset formations are less stable.
  3. Initial training should be conducted with two jumpers—the beginner and a canopy formation specialist—and include lessons in basic docking, break-off procedures, and emergency procedures.

D. Equipment

  1. The following items are essential for safely building canopy formations:
    1. hook knife—necessary for resolving entanglements
    2. ankle protection
      1. Adequate socks prevent abrasion from canopy lines.
      2. If boots are used, cover any exposed metal hooks.
    3. gloves for hand protection
    4. Self-retracting or removable pilot chute bridle systems are recommended.
    5. cross connectors
      1. A secure foothold at the top of the risers is essential for building planes, which can develop greater tension as they grow larger.
      2. Cross connectors should be attached between the front and rear risers only, not from side to side.
      3. Side-to-side cross connectors can snag on the reserve container during deployment and cause a dangerous entanglement.
  2. The following items are strongly recommended for safely building canopy formations:
    1. altimeter—provides altitude information for dock, abort, and entanglement decisions
    2. protective headgear—should allow adequate hearing capability for voice commands in addition to collision protection
    3. long pants and sleeves for protection from line abrasions
    4. extended or enlarged toggles that can be easily grasped
    5. cascades—recommended to be removed from the two center A lines, which should be marked in red

E. Rules of engagement

  1. Weather considerations:
    1. Avoid jumping in turbulent air or gusty wind conditions.
    2. Early morning and early evening jumps are recommended in areas subject to thermal turbulence and other unstable air conditions.
    3. Avoid passing near clouds, which are associated with unpredictable air conditions.
    4. Use caution in flying formations over plowed fields, paved surfaces, or other areas where thermal conditions often exist.
    5. When encountering bumpy or unexpected turbulent air, it is recommended that all efforts be made to fly the formation directly into the wind.
  2. Factors that must be considered in every pre-jump briefing include:
    1. exit order
    2. time between exits
    3. length of freefall
    4. designation of base-pin
    5. canopy wing loading and trim
    6. order of entry
    7. direction of flight and techniques of rendezvous
    8. approach and breakoff traffic patterns
    9. docking procedures
    10. formation flight procedures
    11. one-word verbal commands
    12. breakoff and landing procedures
    13. emergency procedures
  3. Exit and opening procedures:
    1. Spotting procedures should allow for upper-wind velocity and direction.
    2. The aircraft pilot should be advised that a canopy formation group is exiting and opening high.
    3. Exits should be made at one- to three-second intervals.
    4. Any opening delay should be adequate to assure clearance from the aircraft, jumper separation, and stable body position at opening.
    5. Each jumper must be prepared to avoid a collision at any time upon leaving the aircraft.
  4. Docking procedures:
    1. base-pin
      1. This position requires the most expertise of all; however, these skills are used in all slots.
      2. Discuss the methods to be used to dock before boarding the aircraft.
    2. Formation flight course: It is important that the formation pilot maintain a constant direction of flight along a predetermined course.
    3. Traffic patterns: Establish an orderly flight pattern for canopies attempting to dock.
      1. An orderly pattern will enable approaches to be made without interference and lessen the possibility of canopy collisions.
      2. No canopies should ever pass in front of a formation; the wake turbulence created will disturb the formation’s stability and could lead to a very dangerous situation.
    4. Approaches:
      1. For smoothness and safety, each person entering the formation after base-pin should enter from behind and below, never crossing from one side of the formation to the other.
      2. Moderate angles of approach are recommended.
    5. Docking:
      1. Only the center section of a docking canopy should be grasped when the canopy closes third or later in a stack formation.
      2. To complete the stack dock, the top jumper places both feet between both A lines of the center cell of the lower jumper and hooks one by each instep.
      3. A center cell dock is preferred for beginners.
    6. Collapses:
      1. Improper docks are the most common cause of collapsed canopies.
      2. Collapsed canopies should be released to allow reinflation only if it will not make the situation worse.
      3. To prevent dropping an entangled jumper into a potential collision, make sure the area behind and below is clear.
      4. Experienced participants may be able to reinflate a collapsed canopy by continuing to plane down the lines.
      5. The jumper with the collapsed canopy can try using brakes or rear risers to back the canopy off and reinflate it.
      6. The term “drop me” should be used by a jumper wishing to be released from the formation.
        1. This command is to be obeyed immediately, unless it will drop the jumper into a worse situation.
        2. The jumper issuing the command should be sure to check behind for other canopies on approach before asking to be dropped.
  5. Formation flight procedures:
    1. Verbal commands should be concise and direct.
    2. There should be no non-essential conversation.
    3. The pilot should fly the formation with limited control movements to minimize oscillations and facilitate docking.
    4. The formation pilot should never use deep brakes in the formation.
    5. Oscillations
      1. Oscillations are a primary concern in canopy formations, because they can result in collapsed canopies and entanglements.
      2. To reduce their effect and frequency, jumpers in the formation can—
        1. when on the bottom of the formation, sit still in the harness and cross their legs
        2. maintain an arch
        3. if on the bottom, apply the appropriate control to reduce or increase tension
        4. manipulate a lower jumper’s lines to dampen the oscillation
        5. drop the bottom jumper before the oscillation develops into something worse
  6. Diamonds and offsets
    1. Diamonds and offsets require different flying techniques from vertical formations.
    2. It is imperative to get properly trained before attempting them.
  7. Breakoff and landing procedures:
    1. Approaches and docking should stop no lower than 2,500 feet AGL.
    2. Formation pilots should avoid all obstacles, including suspected areas of thermal activity, such as paved surfaces, plowed fields, buildings, etc.
    3. The landing of canopy formations should be attempted by only those with a high level of CRW proficiency.
    4. Breakoff for landing should take place no lower than 2,500 feet AGL because of the danger of entanglement at breakoff time.
    5. Jumpers should not attempt to land formations in high or gusty winds, high density altitudes, or high field elevations.
    6. CRW groups landing off the airport should try to land together.

F. Emergency procedures:

  1. Entanglements are the greatest hazards when building canopy formations.
  2. Jumpers should know their altitude at all times, because altitude will often dictate the course of action.
  3. If a collision is imminent:
    1. The jumpers should spread one arm and both legs as wide as possible to reduce the possibility of penetrating the suspension lines, provided the suspension lines are made from larger diameter Dacron©.
    2. The other hand is used to protect the reserve ripcord.
    3. Canopies with small diameter suspension line, such as Spectra or HMA, can lead to more serious injuries during a collision than canopies using larger diameter suspension lines made from Dacron©.
      1. Jumpers should tuck in arms, legs and head if the collision involves canopies with small diameter suspension lines.
      2. Avoid hitting the suspension lines or other jumper, if at all possible.
  4. Jumpers should be specific in discussing their intentions.
  5. If altitude allows, emergency procedures should proceed only after acknowledgment by other jumper(s).
  6. In the event of multiple cutaways and if altitude allows, jumpers should stagger reserve openings to avoid possible canopy collisions.
  7. Respond to the given situation.
    1. When entanglements occur, jumpers must be prepared to react quickly and creatively.
    2. In many cases, the emergency is one that can’t be prepared for in advance; it may even be a problem no one imagined could happen.
  8. If the entanglement occurs with sufficient altitude, the jumpers should attempt to clear the entanglement by following lines out before initiating emergency procedures.
  9. Jumpers should try to land together following a canopy relative work emergency.

G. Night canopy formations

See "SIM Section 6-4, “Night Jump Recommendations,” for guidance.

6-7: High Altitude and Oxygen Use

A. Preparation and planning critical

  1. Skydives from altitudes higher than 15,000 feet above mean sea level (MSL) present the participants with a new range of important considerations.
  2. The reduced oxygen, lower atmospheric pressure and temperature, and the higher winds and airspeed above 15,000 feet MSL make skydiving more hazardous in this region than at lower altitudes.
  3. Hypoxia, or oxygen deficiency, is the most immediate concern at higher altitudes.
    1. Hypoxia can result in impaired judgment and even unconsciousness and death.
    2. Hypoxia can be prevented by the use of supplemental oxygen and procedures not required for skydives from lower altitudes.
  4. With proper training, adequate equipment, and well-planned procedures, high altitude skydives can be conducted within acceptable safety limits; without such precautions, they may result in disaster.

B. Scope

  1. These recommendations are presented to familiarize skydivers with:
    1. altitude classifications
    2. experience recommendations
    3. training recommendations
    4. equipment recommendations
    5. procedural recommendations
  2. General information is provided on the accompanying Planning Chart.

C. Altitude classifications

  1. Low altitude: below 15,000 feet MSL
  2. Intermediate altitude: from 15,000 feet up to 20,000 feet MSL
  3. High altitude: from 20,000 feet up to 40,000 feet MSL
  4. Extreme altitude: above 40,000 feet MSL

D. Experience recommended

  1. For intermediate-altitude jumps (15,000-20,000 feet MSL), participants should hold at least a USPA B license and have made 100 jumps.
  2. For high-altitude jumps (20,000-40,000 feet MSL), participants should:
    1. hold a USPA C license
    2. have made at least one jump from 15,000 feet MSL or below using the same functioning bailout oxygen system
  3. For extreme-altitude jumps (40,000 feet MSL and higher), participants should:
    1. hold a USPA D license
    2. have made at least two jumps from below 35,000 feet MSL using the same functioning bailout oxygen and pressure systems

E. Training recommendations

  1. It is a benefit for participants on intermediate-altitude skydives to have completed physiological flight training (PFT) within the preceding 12 months.
  2. It is essential for all participants on high- and extreme-altitude skydives to have completed PFT within the preceding 12 months.
  3. PFT availability:
    1. The FAA’s Civil Aerospace Medical Institute offers a one-day aviation physiology course at the Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center site in Oklahoma City, OK with a hypobaric chamber that creates high-altitude and rapid-decompression scenarios.
    2. Additional locations run by private companies are available in various locations across the U.S.
    3. To attend training, applicants for PFT must hold at least a current FAA class 3 medical certificate.
  4. The PFT course:
    1. familiarizes the skydiver with the problems encountered in the high-altitude environment
    2. introduces basic high-altitude oxygen and pressure equipment and its use
    3. provides the opportunity to discover individual reactions to hypoxia and other altitude diseases through simulated high-altitude flights in a decompression chamber
  5. Applications:
    1. First, view the CAMI web site at: www.faa.gov/pilots/training/airman_education/aerospace_physiology/
    2. Directions and enrollment instructions can be found at: www.faa.gov/pilots/training/airman_education/aerospace_physiology/cami_enrollment/

F. Recommended equipment

  1. General:
    1. A sensitive altimeter and adequate protective clothing are recommended for skydives from above 15,000 feet MSL in addition to the oxygen and body pressurization equipment listed below.
    2. In the event of a malfunction in the primary systems and components, backup oxygen systems and components should be available on board the aircraft.
  2. Intermediate-altitude jumps: A separate oxygen mask should be provided for each skydiver and aircrew member, although a common central oxygen bottle and regulator system may be used.
  3. High-altitude jumps:
    1. All skydivers must be equipped with an appropriate on-board oxygen source and compatible bailout oxygen system, preferably with a backup bottle (see Planning Chart following this section).
    2. An automatic activation device (AAD) is recommended.
  4. Extreme-altitude jumps:
    1. All skydivers must be equipped with compatible on-board and bailout oxygen and body pressurization systems appropriate to the goal altitude (see Planning Chart following this section).
    2. An AAD is recommended.

G. Recommended preparations

  1. General:
    1. All jumps must be coordinated in advance with the appropriate local, state, and federal aviation authorities.
    2. All jumps should be coordinated in advance with USPA for safety and for establishing new national and international skydiving records under the FAI Sporting Code.
  2. Oxygen monitor:
    1. For group jumps from above 15,000 feet MSL, it is helpful to appoint an oxygen monitor whose duties are to:
      1. inspect, operate, and monitor the oxygen systems during their use
      2. watch for symptoms of hypoxia and other altitude diseases in all jumpers
      3. initiate appropriate remedial measures in the event of oxygen equipment malfunction or jumper illness
      4. see that oxygen equipment is properly stowed before exit
    2. There should be one oxygen monitor for each six persons or each oxygen bottle, whichever is fewer.
  3. Communications in the aircraft are extremely limited by the wearing of oxygen masks.
    1. The spotter and oxygen monitor should establish with the jumpers and aircrew a standard set of hand signals for the commands, inquiries, and responses required during flight.
    2. A small blackboard or similar device may be helpful for communicating lengthier messages.
  4. Warning: Oxygen explosively accelerates burning.
    1. To prevent damage to aircraft and equipment and injury to persons from oxygen-fed flash fires, the aircraft should be electrically grounded during all ground practice.
    2. No smoking should be permitted in the vicinity of the aircraft, either on the ground or aloft, while oxygen equipment is on board.
  5. Ground practice
    1. Ground practice is essential because of—
      1. restrictions on communication
      2. the additional pre-exit activities required
      3. restricted vision (by the mask)
      4. restricted movement
        1. results from bulkier clothing
        2. is often further irritated by long periods of sitting and low cabin temperatures during the climb to jump altitude
    2. Signals and exit procedures should be practiced on the ground in the actual jump aircraft until everyone can perform the procedures—
      1. by hand-signal command
      2. smoothly and without discussion
    3. Practice will prevent confusion aloft that may result from inadequate rehearsal.
  6. Equipment checks:
    1. Equipment should be checked prior to loading the aircraft and especially before exit.
    2. In addition, the oxygen monitor should perform the “P.D. McCRIPE” oxygen equipment inspection: Pressure gauge Diaphragm Mask Connections at mask Connections at disconnect Regulator Indicator Portable unit (walk-around bottle) Emergency cylinders (bailout bottles)

H. Oxygen use procedures

Oxygen use procedures will vary with the equipment used, but the following are basic.

  1. Intermediate altitude:
    1. All participants should put on masks and begin breathing oxygen at 8,000 feet MSL.
      1. Breathing should be continuous throughout the remainder of the climb and jump run.
      2. This procedure should be conducted under the supervision of the oxygen monitor.
      3. This procedure is important (even if it doesn’t seem necessary), especially if more than one jump per day is planned.
    2. Two minutes from exit—
      1. The spotter signals “get ready.”
      2. At this time, all jumpers move into the ready position and prepare to remove their oxygen masks.
    3. prior to exit—
      1. Jumpers should stay on oxygen for as long as possible, removing their masks at the “climbout” or “exit” signal.
      2. The spotter need do nothing further than signal or lead the exit.
    4. In the event of an aborted jump run, the oxygen masks should be redistributed and donned, a wide orbit made, and the process repeated, with all skydivers again breathing oxygen until within 30 seconds of exit.
  2. High altitude:
  3. All skydivers should pre-breathe 100% oxygen under the supervision of the oxygen monitor for 30 minutes prior to takeoff when goal altitude is above 25,000 feet MSL.
  4. When goal altitude is lower than 25,000 feet MSL, all skydivers should begin breathing from their on-board oxygen source at 8,000 feet MSL, under the supervision of the oxygen monitor.
  5. Five minutes before exit, the spotter signals “get ready.”
  6. Two minutes from exit—
    1. The spotter signals two fingers and gives the command to activate bailout bottles, activates his own and, when he feels its pressure, disconnects from the aircraft oxygen system.
    2. To prevent goggles from fogging, jumpers should leave their goggles raised until bailout bottle activation is completed.
  7. Once on the bailout bottle, the spotter goes back to spotting.
    1. The oxygen monitor gives the spotter the “thumbs up” signal when all other jumpers have functioning bailout bottles and are disconnected from the aircraft oxygen.
    2. The spotter then need only signal or lead the exit.
  8. In the event of malfunction of the skydiver’s first bailout bottle, there is sufficient time (two minutes) to switch to the backup bottle.
    1. In the event that no backup bottle is carried, the skydiver would be forced to remain connected to the aircraft oxygen system.
    2. After the other jumpers exit, the jumper should descend to 20,000 feet MSL or lower, then jump or land with the aircraft.
  • Extreme altitude: Standard procedures are not established, but must be developed for the specific mission and equipment.
  • I. Spotting procedures

    1. Direction of the wind at altitude and on the surface may not coincide.
      1. Winds aloft may also be stronger than surface winds (the jet stream is found at high altitude).
      2. Adjust the exit point for freefall drift to allow for winds aloft.
      3. Exit point and opening point will not coincide.
    2. The higher ground speeds attained by an aircraft indicating the same airspeed as usual at lower altitude radically increases the distance of forward throw that will be encountered on exit.
    3. To calculate the exit point, consult FAA Flight Service for the winds aloft up to the planned exit altitude.
      1. Using an average freefall rate of 10,000 feet per minute, compute the time required to freefall through each different layer of wind direction and speed reported.
      2. Insert the time and wind speed figure into the following equation and solve for wind drift through each layer: Drift = Wind Velocity x Time of Exposure (1) The time component of wind speed and time of exposure must both be expressed in or converted to the same units, (i.e., feet per second and seconds, miles per hour and hours). (2) The drift distance will then be expressed in the same unit as the distance unit of the wind speed figure.
    4. Use a sheet of acetate, a grease pencil, and a map or aerial photo of the DZ and surrounding area to plot the exit point.
      1. On the acetate, mark a north-south reference line.
      2. Then beginning with the topmost wind layer and proceeding to the lowest layer:
        1. In the same scale as the map or photo, plot the computed wind drift for each by a line.
        2. Join the beginning of the line representing the drift anticipated in the next lower layer to the end of the line from the one above.
      3. The resulting zigzag line represents the total wind drift expected during freefall, without tracking.
      4. In the opposite direction of the exit altitude wind drift (or in the direction of the jump run if it is not to coincide with the wind direction) add 2,000 feet to compensate for forward throw from the aircraft.
    5. Throw wind-drift indicators at the planned opening altitude to determine the opening point, then, orient the acetate over the photo or map.
      1. Place the end of the freefall wind drift line on the opening point indicated by the wind drift indicators.
      2. The other end of the wind drift line now indicates the exit point.
    6. Jump run should be oriented directly into the wind at exit altitude to prevent lateral drift if spotting is to be primarily visual.
    7. Navigational aids may be used as the primary spotting reference, but the spot should always be confirmed visually prior to exit.

    J. Hazards of openings at higher altitudes

    1. As terminal velocity increases, so does the rate of change in speed from freefall to open canopy.
      1. At normal opening altitude, terminal velocity is about 160 feet per second (fps) and the rate of descent under open canopy is about 15 fps; thus, the change in velocity at opening is about 145 fps.
      2. By comparison, the figures for an opening at 40,000 feet MSL are 336 minus 40, or a 296 fps change in velocity in the same period of time.
      3. At 60,000 feet MSL the change in velocity is even more striking: 543 minus 64, or 479 fps.
    2. Because of the higher terminal velocity at the higher altitudes—
      1. It is clear that an inadvertent opening can cause serious injury as result of the greater opening shock experienced.
      2. In addition, the equipment may not be able to withstand the load without damage.
    3. Even if a skydiver were not injured and the equipment not damaged, he or she would still face an extended period of exposure to the extreme cold at altitude.
    4. Another hazard of a canopy opening at higher altitude is hypoxia.

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    6-8: Camera Flying Recommendations

    A. Introduction

    1. Skydiving provides a wealth of visual stimulation that can be readily captured through still and video photography.
    2. Smaller and lighter cameras have made it easier and less expensive to take cameras on a jump.
    3. Jumpers need to exercise caution with respect to camera flying:
      1. camera equipment and its interaction with the parachute system
      2. activities on the jump
      3. breakoff procedures
      4. special emergency procedures for camera flyers
    4. Once a camera flyer has become completely familiar with the equipment and procedures of the discipline, he or she will be able to experiment and perform creatively.

    B. Background

    1. In the early days:
      1. Early pioneer camera flyers had to solve the obvious problems presented by big, cumbersome camera equipment and parachutes.
      2. Only the most experienced jumpers and photographers would brave the activity of filming others.
    2. More recently:
      1. Miniature digital still and video cameras appear to present less of a challenge, encouraging more jumpers to use cameras on their jumps.
      2. Skydivers have become less concerned about the skill of a camera flyer jumping with their group.

    C. Purpose

    1. Recommendations for flying cameras should educate potential camera flyers and those making jumps with them.
    2. Jumpers should realize that flying a camera is a serious decision and that it requires additional effort and attention on each jump.

    D. Equipment

    1. A camera flyer should consult another experienced camera flyer and a rigger before using any new or modified piece of equipment on a camera jump:
      1. helmet
      2. parachute
      3. deployment device modification
      4. camera
      5. camera mount
      6. flash
      7. switch and mounting
      8. camera suit
      9. other
        1. sky surfboard or skis
        2. tubes or other freefall toys
        3. wingsuit
    2. Prior to filming other skydivers, each new or additional piece of equipment should be jumped until the camera flyer is completely familiar with it and has adjusted any procedures accordingly.
    3. Camera equipment
      1. Small cameras are not necessarily safer to jump than larger ones.
      2. Regardless of location, any camera mount should be placed and rigged with respect to the deploying parachutes.
      3. All edges and potential snag areas should be covered, taped, or otherwise protected.
        1. Necessary snag points on helmet-mounted cameras should at least face away from the deploying parachute.
        2. A pyramid shape of the entire camera mounting system may deflect lines better than an egg shape.
        3. Deflectors can help protect areas that can’t be otherwise modified to reduce problems.
        4. All gaps between the helmet and equipment, including mounting plates, should be taped or filled (hot glue, etc.).
        5. Protrusions, such as camera sights, should be engineered to present the least potential for snags.
        6. Ground testing should include dragging a suspension line over the camera assembly to reveal snag points.
      4. Sharp edges and protrusions can injure other jumpers in the event of a collision or emergency aircraft landing.
      5. Cameras mounted on a jumper’s extremities need to be kept clear during deployment.
      6. Camera operation devices (switches, cables) need to be simple and secure.
      7. Each added piece of equipment needs to be analyzed for its potential interaction with the overall camera system and the parachute.
    4. Helmets and camera mounts
      1. All camera platforms, whether custom or off the shelf, should be evaluated for safety and suitability to the camera flyer’s purpose.
        1. by a rigger
        2. by an experienced camera flyer
      2. The helmet should provide full visibility for the camera flyer:
        1. in freefall
        2. under canopy
        3. during emergency procedures
      3. Empty camera mounts should be covered and taped to prevent snags.
    5. Helmet releases
      1. An emergency release is recommended for camera helmets in the event of an equipment entanglement.
      2. Emergency helmet releases should be easy to operate with either hand.
      3. Using a reliable helmet closure or clasp that can also be used as an emergency release promotes familiarity with the system.
    6. Parachute
      1. Camera flyers should use a reliable parachute that opens slowly and on heading.
      2. The deployment system needs to be compatible with the camera suit, if used.
      3. Camera suit wings and lower connections must not interfere with the camera flyer’s parachute operation handles or main bridle routing in any freefall orientation.
      4. The pilot chute and bridle length must be sufficient to overcome the additional burble created by a camera suit, if worn.
      5. If the camera flyer generally opens higher than the other jumpers, a slower descending canopy may help reduce traffic conflicts.
      6. The camera flyer should weigh the advantages against the disadvantages of a reserve static line in the event of a partial malfunction.
        1. Advantages: could assist after a low cutaway or when disoriented during cutaway procedures (
        2. Disadvantages: could deploy the reserve during instability following a cutaway, increasing the chances for the reserve entangling with the camera system, especially a poorly designed one
      7. As always, proper attention to packing and maintenance, especially line stowage, helps prevent hard openings and malfunctions.
    7. Recommended accessory equipment
      1. audible altimeter
      2. visual altimeter that can be seen while photographing
      3. hook knife

    E. Procedures

    1. General
      1. Prior to jumping with a camera, a skydiver should have enough general jump experience to be able to handle any skydiving emergency or minor problem easily and without stress.
      2. A camera flyer should possess freefall flying skills well above average and applicable to the planned jump.
        1. belly-to-earth
        2. freeflying (upright and head-down)
        3. canopy formation
        4. multiple (for skysurfing, filming student training jumps, etc.)
      3. It is recommended that jumpers be licensed and have completed 200 jumps before jumping with a camera.
      4. The jumper should have made at least 50 recent jumps on the same parachute equipment to be used for camera flying,
      5. The camera flyer should know the experience and skills of all the jumpers in the group.
      6. Deployment:
        1. The deployment altitude should allow time to deal with the additional equipment and its associated problems.
        2. The camera flyer must remain aware of other jumpers during deployment.
      7. Each camera flyer should conduct a complete camera and parachute equipment check before rigging up, before boarding the plane, and again prior to exit.
      8. Camera jumps should be approached procedurally, with the same routine followed on every jump.
      9. The priorities on the jump should be the parachute equipment and procedures first, then the camera equipment and procedures.
      10. Introduce only one new variable (procedure or equipment) at a time.
      11. A camera jump requires additional planning and should never be considered just another skydive.
    2. Aircraft
      1. Cameras should be worn or secured during take off and landing to prevent them from becoming a projectile in the event of sudden movement.
      2. A camera flyer needs to be aware of the additional space the camera requires:
        1. Use caution when the door is opening to prevent getting hit by door components.
        2. Practice climbout procedures in each aircraft to prevent injury resulting from catching the camera on the door or other part of the aircraft.
        3. To prevent injury and damage to the aircraft, the camera flyer should coordinate with the pilot before attempting any new climbout position.
    3. Exit
      1. Unless the plan calls for the camera flyer to be part of the exit, he or she should remain clear of the group, being mindful of the airspace opposite the exiting jumpers’ relative wind.
      2. A collision can be more serious with a jumper wearing a camera helmet.
      3. Student jumpers can become disoriented if encountering a camera flyer unexpectedly.
      4. A tandem parachutist in command requires clear airspace to deploy a drogue.
      5. Skydivers occasionally experience inadvertent openings on exit.
    4. Freefall
      1. The jumpers should prepare a freefall plan with the camera flyer, to include:
        1. the camera flyer’s position in relation to the group
        2. any planned camera flyer interaction with the group
      2. The jumpers and the camera flyer should follow the plan.
    5. Exit and breakoff
      1. All jumpers on the load should understand the camera flyer’s breakoff and deployment plan.
      2. Two or more camera flyers must coordinate the breakoff and deployment more carefully than when only one camera flyer is involved.
      3. Filming other jumpers through deployment should be planned in consideration of the opening altitudes of all the jumpers involved and with their cooperation.
      4. The camera flyer should maintain awareness of his or her position over the ground and deploy high enough to reach a safe landing area.
    6. Deployment
      1. The camera flyer must exercise added caution during deployment:
        1. to prevent malfunctions
        2. to assure an on-heading deployment and reduce the likelihood of line twist
        3. to avoid neck injury
      2. New camera flyers should consult with experienced camera flyers for specific techniques to prevent accidents during deployment and inflation.
      3. Malfunction, serious injury, or death could occur if the lines of a deploying parachute become snagged on camera equipment.
    7. Parachute emergencies
      1. The additional equipment worn for filming can complicate emergency procedures.
      2. Each camera flyer should regularly practice all parachute emergency procedures under canopy or in a training harness while fully rigged for a camera jump.
      3. Emergency procedure practice should include removing the helmet with either hand in response to certain malfunctions.
      4. Routine emergency procedures should be practiced during every jump.
      5. When to release the helmet:
        1. equipment entanglements
        2. obstacle landings (water, trees, building, power lines)
        3. whenever a dangerous situation presents itself

    F. Considerations for filming students

    1. Refer to the USPA Instructional Rating Manual for additional guidelines for flying camera for student training jumps.
      1. A skydiver should have extensive camera flying experience with experienced jumpers prior to photographing or videoing student jumps.
        1. At least 300 group freefall skydives
        2. At least 50 jumps flying camera with experienced jumper
      2. The USPA Instructor supervising the jump should conduct a thorough briefing with the camera flyer prior to boarding.
      3. All procedures and the camera plan should be shared among the USPA Coach or Instructor, the camera flyer, and the student making the jump.
    2. The instructors’ full attention is supposed to be on the student, and the student is incapable of considering the movements and needs of the camera flyer.
    3. The camera flyer should avoid the area directly above or below a student or instructor(s).
      1. Students may deploy without warning.
      2. Disturbing the student’s or instructors’ air could compromise their performance and the safety of the jumpers.
    4. Exit
      1. The camera flyer should plan an exit position that avoids contact with the student or the instructor(s).
      2. During the exit, students often give erratic exit counts, making exit timing difficult for the camera flyer.
        1. The camera flyer may leave slightly before the student exits if the count is reliable.
        2. The camera flyer should follow slightly after the student’s exit whenever the student’s exit timing is uncertain.
      3. When filming tandem jumpers, the camera flyer must remain clear of the deploying drogue
    5. The camera flyer needs to maintain independent altitude awareness and never rely on the student or instructor(s).
    6. Opening
      1. The camera flyer is responsible for opening separation from the student and the instructor(s).
      2. While dramatic, aggressive filming of openings compromises the safety of the student, the instructor(s), and the camera flyer.
    7. When using larger aircraft, student groups typically exit farther upwind, which may require a higher opening for the camera flyer to safely return to the landing area.
    8. When using a handcam to film students, the tandem instructor should review the information contained in the tandem section of the Instructional Rating Manual Tandem Section 4-5 regarding handcam training.

    6-9: Wingsuit First Flight Course (FFC) Syllabus

    Note: As used here, “Coach” describes an experienced wingsuiter. “Student” describes a first-time wingsuit jumper required to have a minimum of 200 jumps per BSR 2-1. It is also recommended that at least 200 jumps have been completed in the past 18 months before completing a wingsuit first jump course and making a wingsuit jump. Wing-suit manufacturers offer instructional ratings for their products. All jumpers, regardless of experience in other disciplines, are recommended to seek thorough training that covers all of the elements below.

    A. Classroom topics

    1. Equipment Considerations
      1. Canopy selection
        1. Non-elliptical, docile main canopies with consistent opening characteristics, with a wing loading of not more than 1.3, and having a bridle length of at least six feet from pin to pilot chute are strongly recommended for First Flight Course (FFC) jumps.
        2. Students should be familiar with any canopy used on FFC jumps.
      2. Pilot Chutes and Deployment Systems
        1. Wingsuits create a large burble above and to the back of a skydiver, and may not provide the pilot chute enough air for a clean inflation and extraction of the deployment bag from the pack tray.
        2. Pilot chutes smaller than 24 inches are not recommended, due to wingsuiters’ slower fall rates, which may result in reduced snatch force.
        3. If wingsuiting becomes the student’s primary skydiving activity, bridle length should be increased as the wingsuiter moves into larger suits that create larger burbles.
        4. The bottom-of-container throw-out pilot chute is the only deployment system that should be used for wingsuit skydiving.
        5. It is recommended that a pilot chute handle that is as light as possible be used on the main pilot chute.
      3. Helmets and Automatic Activation Devices
        1. Students should wear a helmet for FFC jumps.
        2. Use of an Automatic Activation Device is recommended for all wingsuit flights.
      4. Audible Altimeters
        1. Use of at least one audible altimeter is recommended for all FFC flights.
        2. The first warning alarm should be set for 6,500 feet in preparation for wave-off and deployment.
        3. The second alarm should be set for 5,500 feet (deployment altitude).
        4. The third alarm should be set for 4,500 feet (low altitude warning).
    2. Wingsuit Selection
      1. Wingsuit Designs
        1. Provide a general overview of the popular wingsuit models and advantages and disadvantages of different designs.
        2. Mono-wing and tri-wing designs;
        3. Wing sizes and shapes, and their advantages and disadvantages for flocking, aerobatics, distance and slow flight.
      2. Discuss popular cutaway and emergency systems in general.
      3. Wingsuits for Use in FFC Jumps
        1. Wingsuit Coaches should select a wingsuit for FFC jumps that is appropriate for use by a novice wingsuiter according to manufacturer’s guidelines.
        2. Wingsuit Coaches should explain why a particular suit has been selected and should ask the students questions to confirm that they understand these concerns.
        3. Students should be encouraged to continue to use suits appropriate for novice wingsuiters following completion of the FFC. In no event should students be encouraged in the FFC to use or purchase an expert or advanced suit.
    3. Wingsuit Attachment
      1. The Coach must ensure that the student is fully capable of properly connecting the wingsuit to the parachute harness system used in a FFC, according to manufacturer guidelines.
      2. Wingsuit Coaches should demonstrate to the student the proper method of attaching the wingsuit to the container.
      3. The student must receive training for attaching each specific type of wingsuit to the container prior to making any jump with that wingsuit.
    4. Wingsuit Pre-Jump Inspections
      1. For a Cable Thread System, assure the cables are threaded correctly through the tabs, all the way up, with the wing cutaway handles properly secured.
      2. For a Zipper Attachment System, look to see if the zipper is attached properly and completely. If applicable, check that the Velcro breakaway system isn’t bunched or pinched
      3. Tug on the wing to make certain that it is properly attached.
        1. Students must be capable of connecting the parachute harness system to the wingsuit and demonstrate a gear check prior to being allowed to make their first FFC jump.
        2. The Coach is responsible for checking the wingsuit and parachute harness system prior to the first flight to ensure they are properly connected and the student is wearing the harness correctly.
    5. Wingsuiting Special Concerns
      1. Restrictions on Motion
        1. Arm movements are generally more restricted during a wingsuit skydive, although the amount of restriction is model-specific.
        2. Some suits do allow for a full range of arm motion, although pressurized cells in the wingsuit may make full arm movement more difficult.
      2. Fall Rates
        1. A typical belly-to-earth skydiver has a vertical (downward) descent speed of approximately 120 miles per hour and a horizontal (forward) speed of zero.
        2. A typical wingsuit skydiver has a vertical (downward) descent speed of approximately 65 mph and horizontal (forward) speeds ranging between 40 to 90 mph.
        3. The deployment of the parachute following a wingsuit skydive results in the canopy leaving the pack tray at approximately a 45-degree angle from the flight direction.
      3. Importance of Navigation
        1. Wingsuits are capable of traveling tremendous distances from standard exit altitudes when compared to traditional skydivers.
        2. This means great care must be taken when planning exit points.
        3. Winds aloft must be taken into account, as should the potential for other canopy and aircraft traffic.
        4. Wingsuit flight within 500 feet vertically or horizontally of any licensed skydiver under canopy requires prior planning and agreement between the canopy pilot and wingsuit pilot.
        5. The USPA Basic Safety Requirements prohibit wingsuit flight within 500 feet vertically or horizontally of any solo or tandem student under canopy.
      4. Water Landings
        1. If the wingsuit flight occurs near a coastline or other large body of water, remain close enough to the shoreline to ensure each wingsuit flyer can make it to the designated landing area or another suitable landing area
        2. In case of a water landing, it is critical that the arm wings and leg wing and booties are released before landing in the water to allow the jumper as much freedom of movement as possible after entering the water.
    6. Exits
      1. Exit Order
        1. The minimum exit altitude for a first flight should be 9,000 feet AGL.
        2. Wingsuiters should be the last to exit the aircraft (i.e., after tandems).
      2. Exit Position
        1. Regardless of the aircraft, Wingsuit Coaches should always choose an exit position for the student that allows the student to exit safely:
        2. The exit should allow the student to exit the aircraft in a stable manner.
        3. The student must be trained for an exit that allows for safely clearing the tail of the aircraft.
        4. The student should maintain eye contact with the Coach.
        5. The Coach must maintain proximity to the student.
        6. The Coach must maintain stability and eye contact with the student
        7. The Coach must not create a distraction or collide with the student.
      3. Typical FFC Jump Exit:
        1. Coach checks the spot with student.
        2. Coach signals for an engine cut (if applicable).
        3. Student takes position at Coach’s direction.
        4. Student uses an exit technique that directs his or her face toward the propeller of the aircraft.
        5. This method not only provides a clean exit for both skydivers, but also provides for a good angle for video of the student exit.
        6. Exit procedures should be practiced on the ground several times at the mock-up until the student can physically and verbally demonstrate all points of the exit clearly and with confidence.
      4. Avoiding Tail Strikes
        1. Students should be informed of the danger of collision with the tail of the aircraft if they open their wings immediately upon exit.
        2. Students should demonstrate a two-second delay between exit and opening of their wings.
        3. Instruct the student to open wings after clearing the tail of the aircraft.
    7. Body Position for Flight
      1. Demonstrate Basic Neutral Body Position
        1. The Coach should demonstrate a basic neutral position for the suit that the student will be flying in the FFC jump.
        2. Have the student practice in both horizontal and vertical positions.
      2. Demonstrate How to Accelerate.
        1. The Coach should demonstrate how to accelerate.
        2. Have the student practice this position.
      3. Demonstrate How to Decelerate
        1. The Coach should demonstrate how to decelerate.
        2. Have the student practice this position.
      4. Demonstrate How to Turn
        1. The Coach should demonstrate how to turn.
        2. Have the student practice these motions.
      5. Flat Spins and Tumbling
        1. Poorly aligned body position and overly aggressive turns can result in flat spins or tumbling.
        2. Students should be instructed in how to best manage flat spins per manufacturer guidelines.
        3. If the student’s flat spin is uncontrolled after 10 seconds, or if the flat spin occurs below 6,000 feet AGL, the student should immediately deploy.
        4. Have the student practice this process.
      6. Signals
        1. Present any hand signals that the Coach intends to use during the first flight.
        2. Quiz the student on these signals after presentation and periodically throughout the remainder of the FFC.
    8. Deployment Procedures
      1. At 5,500 feet AGL, the student should wave off and deploy by 5,000 feet. This altitude provides ample time to deal with any emergency procedures and provides ample time to unzip/release and stow any parts of the wingsuit that may require release.
        1. Wave off by clicking the heels together three times; this is mandatory on every skydive.
        2. Collapse all wings simultaneously while maintaining proper symmetrical body position.
        3. Pull at correct altitude.
        4. Collapse both arm wings and grasp the pilot chute handle.
        5. Throw the pilot chute: the left hand makes a simultaneous symmetrical “fake throw” as the right hand throws the actual pilot chute.
        6. Following release of the pilot chute, bring both hands forward symmetrically to the front of the harness.
        7. Keep tail wing closed until the canopy is fully deployed.
      2. Wingsuit Coaches should stress the importance of maintaining body symmetry and closed wings throughout the deployment sequence to avoid difficulties with deployment (e.g., line twists due to asymmetry or a pilot chute caught in the leg wing burble).
    9. Emergency Procedures
      1. Arm wings may restrict movement and prevent the jumper from grabbing risers until the wings are released
      2. Leg wings also restrict movement, and the large wing surface can have an effect on which way a body moves following a cutaway if the wing is still inflated.
      3. Any wingsuit, regardless of the model, should allow enough range of motion to pull the cut-away and reserve ripcord handles without having to disconnect the arm wings.
      4. In the event of a main canopy malfunction, immediately pull the cutaway handle followed by the reserve ripcord. Do not waste time by disconnecting the arm wings first.
      5. It may be necessary to release arm wings in order to reach as high as the risers in the event the main canopy opens with line twists and the jumper needs to reach the risers.
    10. Procedures After Normal Canopy Inflation
      1. Clear airspace.
      2. Unzip arm wings first; remove thumb loops (if necessary); unzip leg zippers and remove booties.
      3. Tuck away or snap up leg wing (the student must do this on the ground until it can be done without looking, so student can keep eyes on surrounding airspace under canopy).
      4. If video of the first flight is being recorded, the videographer (or Coach, as applicable) should attempt to obtain footage of the complete deployment sequence.
      5. Post-deployment Awareness
        1. Wingsuit skydivers often share canopy airspace with tandems and jumpers still on student status (as well as other jumpers that may have deployed higher than 3,000 feet AGL).
        2. As experienced skydivers, the FFC student should exercise care around these other canopies to avoid canopy collisions.
    11. Navigation and Descent Plans
      1. Navigation
        1. Because wingsuiters can travel miles from exiting the aircraft to the point at which they deploy, navigation is a critically important skill.
        2. Winds aloft should be determined prior to FFC jumps by consulting the pilot or winds aloft forecasts.
      2. Wingsuits generally fly a standard flight pattern, which may vary with the drop zone and air traffic concerns.
        1. In a typical “left hand pattern,” the wingsuiter exits the aircraft and immediately turns 90 degrees from the line of flight for 10 to 30 seconds. They make a second 90-degree turn back along the line of flight, with significant separation between the wingsuiter and any deploying canopies.
        2. Wingsuit Coaches should plan the navigation for the jump using an aerial photograph of the drop zone and surrounding areas.
        3. After outlining the desired pattern, the Coach should plan the skydive with the student.
        4. The student should be able to plan a basic exit point, flight path, and deployment point that assures vertical and horizontal separation from other skydivers on the load.
        5. Wingsuiters often deploy at altitudes where large canopy traffic may be found (e.g., tandems and AFF students). The planned flight path must take this into account. Emphasis should be placed on deploying at a safe distance from tandems.
        6. If multiple groups of wingsuiters are to exit on the same load, the groups should exit and fly in opposite patterns (e.g., the first wingsuit group to exit may fly a left-hand pattern, and the second group may fly a right hand pattern).
        7. There should be a minimum 10-second separation between wingsuit groups.
        8. Wingsuit Coaches should anticipate possible student out-landings and communicate a plan with the drop zone’s management. Students should be encouraged to carry a cell phone with them on all wingsuit jumps.
        9. If a student makes any gross navigation mistakes, the Coach should require another jump before signing off on the FFC.
    12. Clouds and Visibility
      1. A hole in the clouds suitable for typical skydivers (see SIM Section 9, Part 105), may not be sufficient for wingsuit skydivers.
      2. Wingsuit skydivers must meet the requirements of (it is recommended that they exceed the requirements of) FAR 105.17.
      3. Below 10,000 MSL:
        1. Three mile flight visibility;
        2. Not less than 500 feet below clouds;
        3. Not less than 1,000 feet above clouds; and
        4. Not less than 2,000 feet horizontally from clouds.
      4. Above 10,000 MSL:
        1. Five mile flight visibility;
        2. Not less than 1,000 feet below clouds;
        3. Not less than 1,000 feet above clouds; and
        4. Not less than one mile horizontally from clouds.
      5. Wingsuit Coaches should avoid taking students on first flights if weather conditions may present visual obstructions.
      6. In the event of inadvertently entering a cloud, students must be trained to maintain a straight-line flight path and avoid making any radical turns while in the cloud.
    13. Communication with Pilots and Other Skydivers
      1. Pilot Considerations
        1. Pilots should not be distracted during takeoff or jump run.
        2. Wingsuit Coaches should communicate with the pilot either on the ground, or between 4,000 and 10,000 feet AGL.
        3. Wingsuit Coaches should inform the pilot of intended flight direction, any special needs, the number of wingsuiters exiting, and of any wingsuit floating exits.
      2. Pilots
        1. Wingsuit skydivers often exit the aircraft following tandems, and are usually the last to exit the aircraft.
        2. Inform the pilot if wingsuiters will remain in the plane for a minute or more following the exit of the last of the “traditional” skydivers (especially when there are significant winds aloft)
        3. Inform the pilot in advance if wingsuiters need an extended jump run requiring the pilot to power up the aircraft again prior to the wingsuiters’ exit.
        4. A solid engine cut is necessary for wingsuiters to avoid colliding with the tail during the exit, particularly in low-tail aircraft.
      3. Other Skydivers
        1. Wingsuiters should be aware of the deployment altitudes and types of skydiving activities (e.g., tandem, FS, freeflying, etc.) that are being conducted on their loads.
        2. Wingsuiters should be aware of any skydivers on the load intending to deploy above 6,000 feet.
    14. Confirm the Student’s Understanding
      1. Ask Questions
        1. Wingsuit Coaches should ask questions throughout the FFC to make sure that the student understands the material.
        2. At the conclusion of the FFC, the Coach should encourage the student to ask questions.
        3. The Coach should repeat any material that appears to have been misunderstood or which requires additional explanation.
      2. Perform a walkthrough following the completion of the ground portion of the FFC, the Coach should walk the student through the complete FFC jump.
        1. The student should be able to verbally relate the flight plan without prompting or coaching.
        2. The Coach should confirm that the student knows any hand signals that the Coach intends to use, and that the student is aware Coach may guide student via flight pattern.
        3. The student should be able to complete all of the activities without prompting by the Coach.

    B. Gearing up and pre-flight gear checks

    1. Gear Checks
      1. Three Gear Checks. Wingsuit Coaches should perform a complete gear check at least three times:
        1. Before rigging up;
        2. Before boarding; and
        3. Before exit.
      2. Checking the Rig
        1. Always check the wingsuit and rig in a logical order, such as top to bottom, back to front.
        2. Automatic activation device switched on.
        3. Closing loop tight for properly closed container
        4. Pilot chute handle easily reached
        5. Flap closing order and bridle routing correct
        6. Slack above the curved pin
        7. Pin fully seated
        8. Tight closing loop, with no more than 10-percent visible fraying
        9. Pin secured to bridle with no more than 10-percent fraying
        10. Collapsible pilot chute cocked
        11. Pilot chute and bridle with no more than 10-percent damage at any wear point
        12. Main deployment handle in place
        13. Canopy release system and RSL
        14. Cutaway handle
        15. Reserve ripcord handle
        16. Leg straps threaded properly
        17. Chest strap threaded properly through the friction adapter and excess stowed securely
      3. Checking the Wingsuit
        1. All zippers intact
        2. No rips, tears or excess fabric that may cover handles
        3. Handles not pulled into or covered by wingsuit
        4. All cables neatly secured (if applicable)
      4. Checking the Helmet
        1. Adequate protection
        2. Fit and adjustment
      5. Audible – settings (for example):
        1. 6,500 feet
        2. 5,500 feet
        3. 4,500 feet
      6. Altimeter
        1. Readable by student
        2. Zeroed
      7. Goggles
        1. Clear and clean
        2. Tight
    2. Attaching the Wingsuit to the Parachute Harness System
      1. Student Responsibility
        1. The student is responsible for attaching the wingsuit to the harness under the supervision of the Coach.
        2. The student should be able to attach the wingsuit with minimal guidance from the Coach.
      2. Coach Responsibility
        1. The Coach is responsible for inspecting the attached wingsuit/harness system once it has been attached by the student.
        2. Any mis-attachments or errors should be pointed out to the student for correction by the student.
        3. Consider delaying the FFC jump to focus on gear issues if the student appears to have difficulty with this subject.
    3. Putting on the Gear
      1. Student Responsibility
        1. The student is responsible for attaching and putting on the gear.
        2. The student should be able to put on the wingsuit and parachute harness system without input (but while under supervision) from the Coach.
      2. Coach Responsibility
        1. The Coach is responsible for inspecting the gear once it has been put on by the student. The Coach should complete the second complete gear check at this point.
        2. Wingsuit Coaches should pay particular attention at this point to harness attachment systems (i.e., leg straps and chest straps):
        3. Wingsuit Coaches should instruct the student to feel his or her leg straps through the wingsuit fabric to make sure that they are on and tight.
        4. Wingsuit Coaches should have the student shrug and the student should feel tension from the leg straps if they are on properly.
        5. The Coach should visually affirm that the leg straps are properly tightened around both legs of the student.
        6. Consider delaying the FFC jump to focus on gear issues if the student appears to have difficulty with this subject.
        7. Once the gear is on, the student should be instructed not to remove any gear without informing the Coach.

    C. Walk-through; boarding; ride to altitude

    1. Full Walkthrough
      1. Complete a full, geared up walk through of the skydive, from climb out to deployment.
      2. Demonstrate several hand signals that may be used by the Coach to confirm that the student understands them.
      3. The student should be able to complete the walk-through with minimal input from the Coach.
    2. Confirm Weather Conditions
      1. Confirm that the Coach has an up-to-date weather forecast.
      2. Confirm surface winds and winds aloft are appropriate for wingsuiting.
      3. Confirm sufficient daylight is remaining.
    3. Boarding the Aircraft
      1. Student Equipment
        1. Monitor the student’s equipment.
        2. Encourage wingsuit and gear awareness.
      2. Coach’s Equipment
        1. if other experienced wingsuiters are present, ask for a gear check from one of them.
        2. This demonstration highlights to the student that even experienced wingsuiters seek out gear checks.
    4. Pre-exit Gear Checks
      1. Conduct a complete pre-exit equipment check with the student at 3,000 feet below exit altitude.
      2. Have the student shrug and feel the leg straps to confirm that they are properly routed.
      3. Remind the student to be aware of his movement in the aircraft during climb out.
    5. Spotting
    6. Coach Responsibility
      1. The Coach should ask the student to identify the proper spot for exit.
      2. The Coach is responsible for confirming the spot and should not allow the first flight to occur unless the spot is appropriate.

    D. Wingsuit exit and flight

    1. Spotting
      1. Proper spotting techniques will help to assure an on-field landing.
      2. Flying a standard box pattern will help to avoid other skydiver traffic and will increase the likelihood of making it back to the drop zone.
      3. The student should make a visual confirmation of the landing area as well as make a note of where other jumpers are relative to the drop zone.
      4. The airspace also needs to be checked for aircraft or any other air traffic.
    2. Climb Out and Exit
      1. Climb out or set up in door, breathe and prepare to exit as per Coach instruction.
      2. The Coach should observe the exit to evaluate:
        1. the students’ stability; and
        2. that the student delayed opening their wings as instructed to avoid the horizontal stabilizer.
      3. The student should establish stability as soon as possible.
    3. Practice Pulls/Touches and Circle of Awareness
      1. After establishing stability, the student should complete three wave offs and practice pulls/touches as taught in the ground portion of the FFC.
      2. The student should demonstrate awareness by responding to hand signals from the Coach and by being aware of his altitude.
    4. Navigation
      1. The student should fly a standard pattern with minimal input or prompting from the Coach.
      2. The Coach should note any discrepancies between the student’s actual flight path as compared to his planned flight path.
    5. Formation Flights
      1. Due to the significant forward speed generated by wingsuits, each wingsuit flyer should fly parallel flight paths with one another.
      2. Flying head-on toward another wingsuit flyer should never be attempted.
      3. Flying an intersecting flight at 90-degree angles should never be attempted.
      4. Reducing any significant lateral distances should be accomplished by flying towards the other wingsuiter at a gradual angle of 30 degrees or less.
    6. Deployment
      1. The student will wave off at 5,500 feet AGL and deploy not lower than 5,000 feet AGL.
      2. If possible, the deployment sequence should be captured on video.

    E. Debrief

    1. Verify that the student has landed and returned safely to the hangar.
    2. Provide a post-flight debrief.
      1. Conduct a walk and talk, allowing the student to act out his or her perceptions of the jump first.
      2. Particular attention should be paid to whether the student was aware of any mistakes he made during the jump.
      3. Explain the jump from the Coach’s viewpoint.
        1. Accentuate the positive.
        2. Discuss areas for improvement.
        3. Review the video, if available.
      4. Provide any necessary corrective training.
      5. Conduct or overview the training for the next jump.
      6. Record the jump in the student’s logbook.

    6-10: Canopy Flight Fundamentals

    A. Introduction and purpose

    1. The same ram-air parachute technology that has led to soft openings and landings, flat glides, and small pack volume has opened the door for higher performance with increased wing loadings (the jumper’s exit weight divided by the area of the parachute canopy, expressed in the U.S. in pounds per square foot).
      1. Skilled and practiced jumpers who choose to fly this equipment aggressively may achieve desirable results, given the right training and the use of good judgment.
      2. In the hands of untrained, uncurrent, unskilled, and unpracticed pilots, this equipment and these techniques pose a potential threat to the pilot and others sharing the airspace.
      3. The recommended training in USPA’s Integrated Student Program given in preparation for the USPA A license is not adequate to prepare jumpers for advanced canopy flight.
      4. Routine canopy descents and landings alone do not provide the kind of skills and experience necessary to safely perform advanced maneuvers under more highly loaded canopies.
    2. Jumpers, particularly those new to the sport, need to understand the potential dangers of flying this kind of equipment in the skydiving flight environment.
      1. The ram-air parachutes used in skydiving, even those considered moderately loaded, can cover a large amount of horizontal and vertical distance when handled aggressively during descent.
      2. High-performance landings are a part of a demanding and unforgiving discipline requiring careful study, practice, and planning.
      3. The reference for what equipment and techniques might be considered conservative or aggressive varies according to a jumper’s experience, canopy size and canopy design.
        1. Skydivers who jump highly loaded canopies may have different goals than others they advise.
        2. Most successful high-performance canopy pilots have practiced extensively with larger canopies before experimenting with higher wing loadings.
        3. It is difficult for a jumper who is accustomed to more advanced equipment and techniques to remember the challenges facing less-experienced jumpers.

    B. Scope of performance

    1. “Advanced” refers to practices that combine equipment and control techniques to increase descent and landing approach speeds.
      1. A canopy designed for more performance may exhibit relatively docile characteristics with a light wing loading and when flown conservatively.
      2. A canopy designed for docile performance that is flown aggressively and jumped with a higher wing loading can exhibit high-performance characteristics.
    2. The types of errors that novice canopy flyers make on docile canopies without getting hurt could have serious consequences when made on more advanced equipment.
    3. Advanced equipment generally refers to canopies loaded as follows:
      1. above 230 square feet, 1.1 pounds per square foot or higher
      2. from 190 to 229 square feet, 1.0 pounds per square foot or higher
      3. from 150 to 189 square feet, .9 pounds per square foot or higher
      4. canopies smaller than 150 square feet at any wing loading
    4. Canopy design can play a significant role in skewing these numbers one way or the other.
      1. Some canopies are designed for flaring with less-than-expert technique.
      2. Some canopies are designed to perform better with higher wing loadings but require skillful handling.
      3. Earlier canopy designs, particularly those using 0-3 cfm canopy fabric (“F-111”), can be more challenging to land, even with relatively light wing loadings.
    5. Advanced technique generally refers to control manipulation to induce speeds greater than stabilized, hands-off, level flight (natural speed) during descent and on the final landing approach.
    6. Canopy flight characteristics and control become more challenging as field elevation, temperature, and humidity increase.
    7. These recommendations do not consider the specialized information and expertise required to safely fly canopies at wing loadings approaching 1.5 pounds per square foot and beyond or canopies approaching 120 square feet or smaller.
    8. Each progressive step in downsizing, technique, and canopy design should be a conscious decision, rather than considered a routine part of a skydiver’s progression:
      1. Jumpers downsizing to get a smaller or lighter container should also be prepared to handle the added responsibility of jumping a higher-performance canopy.
      2. Jumpers at drop zones with a high-performance canopy culture need to understand that neglecting the individual training required to pursue that discipline safely can lead to serious consequences for themselves and for others.
      3. Jumpers need to understand the design intents of the canopies they purchase to see whether those canopies match their overall expectations and goals.
      4. The decision to progress to advanced canopy skills and equipment should include others who can be affected, including jumpers in the air and landing area who could be affected by a canopy piloting error.

    C. Performance progression

    1. Jumpers will advance at different rates.
    2. The “Canopy” sections (B.) in each category of the USPA Integrated Student Program outline a series of exercises valuable for exploring the flight characteristics and performance envelope of any unfamiliar canopy.
      1. The jumper should become familiar with a standard controllability check to determine a baseline for later comparison in the event of a minor malfunction (broken line, detached steering control, fabric damage, etc.).
      2. A jumper should review the basics on each new canopy before proceeding with more advanced maneuvers; skipping the foundations of flight control will show up later with potentially serious consequences.
    3. Before attempting any advanced landing maneuvers, each jumper should be familiar with the following under his or her current canopy at altitudes above 2,500 feet AGL:
      1. reverse toggle turns (90 degrees reversing abruptly to 180 degrees)
      2. canopy formation approaches and at least non-contact canopy formation flight
      3. back-riser turns and flaring
        1. If, due to a control problem, a jumper has decided to land a canopy using back risers, the jumper should be familiar with the technique.
        2. A jumper may decide after experimentation and practice that a canopy is not safe to land with back risers.
        3. A jumper should consider this decision before contemplating advanced maneuvers or wing loadings where dropping or breaking a control line on final approach becomes more significant.
      4. front-riser control, including single and double front riser maneuvers (all performed with toggles in hand)
      5. altitude loss in a variety of diving and turning maneuvers (check the altimeter at the beginning and end of a turn)
      6. aborting a turn and recovery to flare
      7. slow-flight gliding and maneuvering (braked turns)
      8. braked approach and landing

    D. Downsizing progression

    1. Before moving to a smaller size, a jumper should be familiar and comfortable with the following landing maneuvers on his or her current canopy:
      1. landing flare from full, natural-speed flight
      2. flaring for landing from slow (braked) flight
      3. consistent soft, stand-up landings within 32 feet of a planned target in a variety of wind conditions, including downwind
      4. beginning to flare, turning to ten-degree bank, and returning to wings-level before landing
    2. Downsize increments on the same canopy design
      1. above 230 square feet, 30 square feet
      2. from 229 to 150 square feet, 20 square feet
      3. from 149 to 120 square feet, 15 square feet
      4. below 120 square feet in smaller increments
    3. Before downsizing, jumpers should be familiar with any maneuver they plan to attempt or might encounter on a smaller canopy, including induced-speed landing approaches and braked landing approaches (low speed).
    4. A jumper who has downsized without performing advanced maneuvers at each increment should practice them on a larger canopy first before trying them on his or her current canopy.

    E. Design progression

    1. Jumpers should explore only one new design element until completing and becoming comfortable with all recommended maneuvers.
    2. Design increments (one design characteristic at a time at the same square footage before downsizing)
      1. tapered or elliptical planform (degree of taper or ellipse varies according to design)
      2. cross-bracing or other airfoil flattening or stiffening design
      3. modifications requiring additional in-flight procedures, for example, removable pilot chutes, deployment bags, and sliders

    F. Practice area

    1. To avoid danger to other jumpers, all practice of high-performance activities must take place in a landing area where other jumpers are not on approach.
      1. Separate by exit altitude.
        1. Canopy pilots exiting and opening high must consider other high-opening jumpers (students, tandems, and others) to avoid descending into their airspace during approach.
        2. Canopy pilots exiting on a lower pass must fly clear of the opening and canopy descent area before other jumpers exit higher.
        3. All jumpers should be aware of other canopies in their airspace, but it is especially critical that jumpers who choose to jump a high-performance parachute be aware of all canopy traffic that may be a factor during their descent and landing.
      2. Separate by landing area.
        1. Landing areas must be separated according to wind direction so that no jumper is over the practice approach and landing area below 1,000 feet.
        2. Canopy pilots descending into the practice landing area must be alert for errant jumpers.
    2. Advanced maneuvers, turns over 90 degrees, in a common landing area must never be attempted.
      1. It is a violation of the USPA Group Member pledge to allow high-performance landings to take place into common canopy traffic landing areas.
      2. High-performance canopy landings with turns greater than 90-degrees must be separated by space by using a separate landing area, or by time, by providing a separate pass.
      3. Whichever method is used to separate the canopy traffic, the high-performance landings must be separated from those who are flying a standard landing approach in such a way that the chances of a canopy collision are eliminated.
    3. Canopy pilots should be completely familiar with all advanced landing characteristics and techniques in a variety of weather conditions and using a variety of approaches before—
      1. attempting flight into a competition-style course.
      2. landing in the vicinity of any hazard, including water.

    6-11: Advanced Canopy Piloting Topics


    A. Introduction

    1. USPA recognizes that effective advanced canopy pilot training beyond the required training for the first certificate of proficiency (skydiving license) can improve jumper skills and confidence and reduce the risk of canopy flight accidents.
    2. USPA encourages the development of effective canopy piloting training courses.
    3. The Advanced Canopy Piloting Topics outline provides canopy piloting instructors with a list of topics in a logical presentation order to advance the canopy flight knowledge and skills of licensed jumpers.

    B. Background

    1. Canopy design and flying techniques have advanced beyond what is expected of a USPA Instructor when preparing a skydiving student for the USPA A license.
    2. Skydiving culture encourages skydivers to purchase and jump equipment that requires additional training to be jumped safely.
    3. Analysis of accident reports indicates that jumpers are at risk without advanced canopy training beyond the A license.
      1. Jumpers who have progressed without advanced training to average designs at average wing loadings are largely unprepared for how their canopy will handle in difficult landing situations.
      2. Jumpers who pursue induced-speed landing techniques without training put themselves and other jumpers at extreme risk.
    4. Rather than limit jumper flying style and equipment choice, USPA has pursued an “education, not regulation” strategy in coordination with expert canopy pilots, advanced canopy training schools, and canopy manufacturers.
      1. basic but comprehensive canopy flight training and discovery in the USPA Integrated Student Program, leading to the A license
      2. articles on basic and advanced canopy topics in Parachutist
      3. SIM Section 6-10, “Advanced Canopy Flight”
      4. this course outline for use preferably by USPA Instructors with additional qualifications as listed

    C. Scope

    1. To get the most from the topics presented in this outline, a jumper should have completed all the exercises listed under “Canopy” in SIM Section 4, Categories A-H of the ISP, and hold a USPA A license.
    2. Jumpers who complete a course of instruction covering the topics listed here, including evaluations jumps and continued practice, should be better prepared to make choices regarding advanced equipment and maneuvers, as discussed in SIM Section 6-10.
    3. USPA encourages all jumpers to engage in a course of instruction with a qualified course director including these topics, particularly when preparing to jump advanced equipment or perform advanced maneuvers.
    4. The course conductor should organize the course to accommodate attendees according to their goals and objectives.
      1. sufficient staff to assign to subgroups, according to performance or equipment objectives
      2. separate courses on different dates and tailored for jumpers with like goals

    D. Instructor qualifications

    1. USPA does not issue instructional ratings specifically for canopy coaching.
    2. It is essential that the information contained in this course be presented correctly.
    3. Those who intend to teach an advanced canopy piloting course should hold a USPA Instructor rating and have extensive knowledge of canopy flight.
      1. Instructors who intend to teach this material must realistically assess their level of knowledge regarding canopy flight and instruction.
      2. Before teaching this course, instructors must work through the outlined canopy skills using a variety of canopy designs and wing loadings.
      3. Attending any one of several commercially available factory-sponsored canopy schools as a student is highly recommended before teaching this course.
      4. For USPA B-license requirements, a Safety & Training Advisor must approve the course director and sign the Canopy Piloting Proficiency Card once the course is completed.

    E. USPA B License Requirements

    1. Every USPA B license must also include a completed and signed copy of the Canopy Piloting Proficiency Card.
    2. The completed Canopy Piloting Proficiency Card must be signed by a current USPA Safety & Training Advisor, Instructional Examiner, or USPA Board member.
      1. The supervising official must ensure that a qualified course director conducts the training in this section.
      2. In some situations, the best candidate to teach this material may not hold any USPA ratings, but may have extensive knowledge about canopy control and landings.
      3. These training jumps may be completed in a structured course with all five jumps completed in succession or the jumps may be completed individually.
      4. The term course director applies to the person teaching this material, but is not an actual rating issued by USPA.
      5. Each of the five training jumps listed on the USPA Canopy Piloting Proficiency card must be signed by a Verifying Official, who is responsible for supervision and training for the jump.
      6. The final signature of the supervising official on the proficiency card is to verify that the training has been satisfactorily completed by the candidate.

    F. Evaluation

    1. There is no “pass” or “fail” for a course of this nature, but attendees should be better able to self-assess their canopy aptitude and proficiency based on their own experience with the control maneuvers and an accurate evaluation of each approach and landing from a course director.
    2. The course director should sign and date the entries on the Canopy Piloting Proficiency Card as jumpers complete the items listed.
      1. control maneuvers
      2. loss of altitude in turns
      3. landing pattern
      4. varied approaches
      5. approach and landing accuracy objectives
      6. aborted approach
      7. carving landings
    3. The Canopy Piloting Proficiency Card can assist drop zone management in assessing a jumper’s canopy skills.
    4. Each jumper should begin a new Canopy Piloting Proficiency Card for every new model and size canopy.

    G. Risk assumption

    1. USPA warns all jumpers that skydiving comes with inherent and sometimes unforeseen hazards and risks that may or may not be preventable.
    2. While the goal of any skydiving training is to reduce risk, neither USPA nor the course director can predict the outcome or success of the training.
    3. USPA warns all jumpers that some of the maneuvers described to develop understanding of canopy flight involve a greater risk of injury, even serious injury or death, than a routine parachute landing using a straight-in approach flown at the canopy’s natural speed until flaring.
    4. A canopy pilot should receive as much coaching as possible to reduce the risks under canopy; however, USPA warns all jumpers that any pilot who manipulates the canopy controls to induce additional speed prior to landings presents a greater hazard to himself or herself and others.
    5. Before jumping begins, USPA advises the course director to require each participant to complete an assumption-of-risk agreement in conjunction with a comprehensive liability risk-management program applied in accordance with applicable local and state laws.
    6. USPA accepts no liability for the use of this outline and does not authorize its use in any course of instruction; ideas presented here come with no implied or expressed suitability for any purpose or application.

    Ground School Topics

    Part 1: equipment
    A. Equipment choice considerations
    1. Because of certain advantages smaller canopies offer, a misconception pervades the sport that all jumpers are better off overall using a smaller canopy.
      1. Smaller canopies make for more compact and comfortable parachute systems.
      2. Smaller canopies, especially the newer designs, can be easier to land than larger wings in ideal conditions.
      3. Properly flown, smaller canopies provide greater versatility in higher winds.
    2. Studies of USPA serious injury and fatality summaries reveal a trend where jumpers under canopies popularly considered “average sized” or “conservatively loaded” frequently mishandle them in non-routine landing situations.
    3. Jumpers should seek out reliable information before changing to smaller canopies.
    4. The sport of skydiving includes a series of specialized activities that require exclusive equipment, for example:
      1. classic accuracy
      2. canopy formation
      3. competition freefall formation skydiving
      4. large freefall formations
      5. wingsuits
      6. camera flying
      7. high-performance landings
      8. competition swooping
    5. All jumpers should
      1. set goals in the sport
      2. choose the best equipment to meet their needs
      3. learn how to use that equipment
      4. skydive within the limits of their equipment and capabilities
    B. Wing loading
    1. Size v. wing loading
      1. The shorter lines of a smaller canopy will cause it to respond differently than a larger one of the same design with an equal wing loading.
      2. Compared to a canopy with longer lines, a shorter-lined canopy will have—
        1. quicker turns
        2. quicker flare response
        3. quicker pendulum action (quicker to dive after an early flare)
      3. A canopy with a shorter chord (front-to-back measurement) responds more quickly to flare input.
      4. A canopy with a shorter span (wingtip-to-wingtip measurement) will respond more quickly to turn input.
    2. In theory, glide angle doesn’t change with wing loading.
    3. Most jumpers can get a lot more performance from their canopies without needing to downsize.
    C. Performance enhancing designs
    1. Tapered shape (planform)
      1. more dimensional stability (less distortion)
      2. faster forward speed from lower and cleaner drag
      3. faster turns and less flight stability
    2. High-aspect ratio
      1. flat glide
      2. easier flare
        1. lighter toggle pressure
        2. shorter toggle stroke (some models)
        3. quicker flare response
    3. Higher rib frequency to reduce billowing between ribs
      1. seven-cell v. nine-cell
      2. cross bracing
    4. Thickness (after inflation)
      1. thicker: slow speed, more predictable and gentle stall
      2. thinner: faster speed, more abrupt stalls at a higher speed
    D. Drag reduction
    1. Zero-P fabric
    2. Small-diameter lines
    3. Collapsible pilot chute
    4. Collapsible slider:
      1. cloth or metal links with covers
      2. larger v. smaller slider grommets
    5. Risers
    6. Outerwear
    7. Removable Deployment Systems
    8. Body Position
    E. Controls: toggles and beyond
    1. Brakes
      1. toggle types for ease of handling
      2. steering line length to allow front riser maneuvers (toggles in hand)
    2. Front risers and control enhancement discussion (loops, blocks, etc.)
    3. Back risers and how they work
    4. Front risers and how they work
    5. Harness turns
    F. Accessories
    1. Jumpsuit (reinforced butt and knees)
    2. Hard helmet
    3. Gloves, pros and cons
    4. Altimeter
      1. altimeter use under canopy
      2. digital v. analog
    5. Weights
    G. Speed
    1. The pilot perceives the forward speed more than the downward speed, so a faster canopy can seem a lot scarier to fly.
    2. The faster the canopy goes, the more effect adding drag (by using a control) will have on the flight path.
    H. Glide
    1. Skydiving canopies: approximately 2.5:1 in natural flight
    2. Changing the glide
      1. using brakes or rear risers
      2. using induced speed to temporarily add lift
    Part 2: maintenance
    A. Environment
    1. Dirt degrades of the fabric, lines, and slider
    2. Ultraviolet degrades nylon.
      1. sunlight
      2. fluorescent lighting (50% of the strength of sunlight)
    3. Water distorts reinforcement tapes
    B. Collapsible pilot chute and slider
    1. Wear results from friction as the line moves through its channel.
    2. Pilot chute centerlines shrink with use.
    C. Suspension lines
    1. Spectra can’t stretch and shrinks a lot with use.
    2. Vectran is stable in both directions but abrades.
    3. HMA is stable but breaks when it still looks new.
    4. Dacron stretches on opening, is stable and durable, but fat.
    D. Brake lines
    1. wear
    2. shrinkage
    3. the results of a broken line
      1. upon flaring
      2. landing a smaller canopy using risers
    E. Packing for an on-heading opening:
    1. Even risers
    2. Symmetrical bag
    3. Line-stow placement and tension
    4. 24 inches of unstowed line
    F. Equipment inspection
    1. Pre-jump
    2. During packing (various times throughout the course)
    Part 3: break-off, opening, separation, and canopy traffic
    A. Breakoff
    1. Breakoff altitude should allow enough time to open clear of others and handle both routine and abnormal circumstances.
    2. Tracking review
      1. conserving altitude during turning and tracking
      2. body position and flat-track technique
      3. opening when clear at the optimum altitude
    3. Flying through the opening
      1. shoulders level (use this time to look again at the spot)
      2. flying the canopy through inflation
        1. back risers
        2. hips and legs stay even through the deployment (feet together)
    4. Dealing with the standard problems becomes more difficult as canopy performance increases.
      1. Discuss the following from the perspective of higher-performance canopies:
        1. line twist
        2. premature brake release
        3. locked brake(s)
        4. slider-brake system fouling
      2. Spinning with a smaller canopy results in rapid altitude loss.
    5. Cut away defensively: Look below and behind to make sure you are clear of others.
    B. Traffic
    1. As canopies fly faster, jumpers must pay better attention to other canopy traffic on descent.
    2. Altitude management
      1. use of brakes to stay aloft
      2. relative wing loading
        1. self-assessment
        2. knowing the wing loading of others
      3. placement in the aircraft
      4. a dive plan, such as stacked approaches, to promote vertical separation under canopy
    3. Awareness of others
      1. Know or judge others’ canopies, wing loading, and habits.
      2. Fly the landing pattern or land elsewhere.
      3. Fly a straight final approach avoiding S-turns.
      4. Dealing with other’s errors:
        1. In the event of a traffic issue, discuss the problem with the canopy pilots who were involved
        2. canopy wake turbulence, (yours and others’)
        3. only need to miss by a little—no low turns necessary
    4. Off-wind landings (technique)
      1. crosswind
      2. downwind
    5. Landing away from the crowd
      1. less pressure; room to practice
      2. familiarity and consistency with using the same landing area every time
    6. Situations that pop up:
      1. Crowded landing area: Follow someone you trust closely and let them know you’re there.
      2. Cutaways disrupt the plan for a normal canopy descent and landing planned for the main canopy.
      3. Landing accidents on the ground can lead to confusion and chaos.
      4. Off-field landing
        1. Plan and follow a sensible pattern.
        2. Keep your eyes open.
        3. Perform a PLF.

    Advanced Exercises

    A. Flight plan
    1. The course director should assist the class with an aircraft, canopy flight, and landing plan prior to each jump included in the course.
    2. The plan should include an individualized progression plan for each student, according to experience and goals.
    3. The plan should consider:
      1. winds
      2. DZ layout and target areas
      3. traffic management to keep clear of other jumpers not participating
      4. landing separation between canopy students
    4. Landings should be videotaped for debriefing by the course director.
    B. Under canopy


    jump 1—evaluation jump
    1. The first jump in the course follows the presentation and discussion of the ground school topics.
    2. The course director evaluates each student’s accuracy and landing skills.
      1. Demonstration of a straight-in approach and natural-speed landing provides the course director with a baseline evaluation of flaring and landing skills.
      2. Each student should try for a target, with the first priority being a good landing from a straight-in approach, to provide the course director a starting point for accuracy improvement.
    3. Each course candidate should inspect the canopy’s steering lines while in full flight, with the brakes released.
      1. The steering lines on most canopies should bow slightly behind the back of the canopy and its suspension lines, while in full flight
      2. Check with the manufacturer to see what is recommended for steering line adjustments
      3. For jumpers who use front risers, the steering lines should have enough slack that the riser can be pulled with the toggle in hand and still not deflect the tail of the canopy.
      4. A parachute rigger should adjust the length of the steering lines if necessary, before the next jump.


    jump 2—basic aerodynamics, effective flaring and riser turns
    1. Lift
      1. Air passing over an airfoil creates a force called lift.
      2. Lift is always perpendicular to the velocity.
      3. The ram-air is trimmed nose down, by cutting the A lines shorter and each group behind them a little longer.
    2. Drag
      1. The resistance created by air as an object moves is called drag.
      2. Drag is always parallel to the velocity.
      3. The lines, pilot chute, slider, jumper’s body, and even the surface of the canopy itself produce drag (parasitic drag).
    3. Gravity
      1. Gravity is a constant in the equation of forces acting on the jumper and canopy.
      2. Using the force created by gravity, the airfoil deflects the air to make the canopy glide.
    4. Momentum (force)
      1. Mass: Doubling the mass of a moving object gives it twice as much energy.
      2. Speed
        1. The term “speed” refers to the magnitude of velocity.
        2. Energy increases as the square of the speed.
          1. Doubling the speed produces four times the energy.
          2. Tripling the speed produces nine times the energy.
        3. Inertia: The term “inertia,” means that an object in motion will stay in motion until resisted.
    5. Flaring
      1. While turning or landing your parachute, the location of your body in relation to the canopy changes.
      2. In a turn, momentum swings your body out from under the canopy.
      3. During the recovery arc, your body begins to swing back under the canopy.
      4. On final approach in natural flight your body is below the center of the canopy.
      5. During initial flare, using toggles or rear risers, the canopy rocks slightly behind the jumper, raising the nose in relation to the tail and temporarily increasing lift (higher angle of attack).
      6. Pulling the toggles gradually further adds drag on the tail, keeping the canopy at the correct angle and providing the most lift for the remainder of the flare.
      7. Effective flare techniques with emphasis on finishing the flare.
        1. Enter the flare with the ideal stroke rate and depth that causes the canopy to fly as flat as possible, and remain flying flat as long as possible.
        2. Follow through by gradually pulling more toggle, timing the rate of the stroke to finish landing just prior to the stall.
        3. Focus on flying your canopy as long as possible before allowing your feet to touch the ground, and finish the flare completely even after your feet first touch the ground.
        4. Avoid a common bad habit: Many jumpers stop flying their parachute just as their feet reach the ground, raising the toggles and running out the remaining forward speed.
    6. Riser turns
      1. During this jump you will make a series of riser turns above the traffic pattern altitude.
      2. Most jumpers should have already been trained and practiced riser maneuvers as a requirement for the USPA A License.
      3. Jumpers who are completely unfamiliar with riser turns should make a separate training jump to focus solely on riser turns.
    7. Under canopy
      1. Flare the canopy five times while observing the wing throughout the flare.
      2. Pay particular attention to your relative position under the canopy during the various stages of the flare.
      3. Check airspace frequently to maintain separation during the practice exercises.
      4. Repeat the five practice flares with eyes closed, paying close attention to the physical sensation during each phase of the practice flare.
      5. Check altitude, position and traffic, and initiate two alternating 90-degree turns using rear risers.
      6. Check altitude, position and traffic, and initiate two alternating 180-degree turns using rear risers.
      7. Check altitude, position and traffic, and initiate two alternating 360-degree turns using rear risers.
      8. Jumpers must stop any riser maneuver at 1,000 feet or higher above the ground.
      9. Due to the energy required for flaring and riser maneuvers, it may be necessary for jumpers to complete these maneuvers over a series of jumps
      10. On landing
        1. Make a straight-in approach facing into the wind, with minimal input for the last ten seconds before the landing flare.
        2. Practice an effective flaring technique, focusing on a smooth finish.


    jump 3—stalls
    1. Dynamic stall
      1. Occurs after a dynamic pitch maneuver and is followed by the jumper swinging back under the canopy
      2. Can cause an abrupt dive once the jumper has reached the end of toggle effectiveness in a flare
      3. Sometimes occurs less noticeably at the end of the recovery arc following a diving maneuver, such as a turn
    2. Aerodynamic stall
      1. Point that loss of lift occurs as the pilot gradually applies brakes or back risers
        1. decreased glide
        2. higher rate of descent
        3. stable mode of flight for a ram-air parachute, because of the extremely low center of gravity
      2. Also called “sink” or “steady state stall”
      3. Used in classic accuracy with low-aspect ratio seven-cell canopies
    3. Full ram-air stall (reverse flight)
      1. Radical stall reached when the tail is held below the level of the nose for an extended period
      2. Can be entered following a dynamic or steady-state stall using toggles or rear risers
      3. Requires a smooth, gentle recovery to prevent entanglement or line twist
      4. Reverse flight using toggles not recommended for some canopies
    4. High-speed stall
      1. Occurs at any speed when the canopy reaches too high of an angle of attack
      2. Easily induced as a result of distorting the wing too far during a rear-riser flare
    5. Common stall characteristics
      1. Separation of air from the upper surface of the wing
      2. Wing loading and stalls (helpful knowledge for landings):
        1. Higher wing loadings stall at faster forward speeds.
        2. Decreasing the wing loading by putting your feet on the ground allows the canopy to fly slower before it stalls.
    6. Stall practice
      1. Full ram-air stalls using toggles
        1. Gently apply brakes to a point where forward flight diminishes and the canopy begins to sink.
        2. Continue to depress the brakes fully down until the canopy “bow ties.”
        3. Slowly raise the toggles until resuming forward flight.
        4. High-performance canopies:
          1. Full stalls may induce a line-twist malfunction with cross-braced or highly elliptical canopies and are not recommended.
          2. Cross-braced and fully elliptical parachutes may be flown to very slow flight and a dynamic or aerodynamic stall without entering reverse flight or “bow tying” the canopy.
      2. Stalls using rear risers
        1. Slowly pull down the rear risers until forward flight ceases.
        2. Adding more riser input, the canopy will eventually sink and begin to descend in a backward direction.
        3. Risers should be slowly raised to recover to forward flight.
        4. Rear riser stalls are not as violent but occur more abruptly than toggle-induced stalls.
    7. Under canopy
      1. Practice riser flares and stalls
        1. Rear riser flare without stalling the canopy
        2. Full ram-air stalls using rear risers
        3. Full ram-air stalls using toggles
      2. Plan and execute an appropriate downwind, base leg and final approach landing into the wind.


    jump 4—flat turns and cross-wind landings
    1. Reasons for flying in brakes
      1. Vertical separation from canopy traffic
      2. Slow forward speed and descent rate
      3. Returning from a long spot
      4. Flat turns as a defense tool at low altitudes
    2. Techniques for initiating a braked turn
      1. Bring both toggles to mid-stall position to start.
      2. Raise one toggle slightly to turn in the opposite direction.
      3. Pull one toggle down slightly to initiate a turn in the same direction.
      4. Most effective method for flat turns: Raise one toggle slightly and pull the opposite toggle down slightly to initiate a turn in the direction which the toggle is pulled down
      5. Avoid stalling the canopy.
    3. Effect of brakes on glide
      1. Slower forward speed
      2. Lower descent rate
      3. Change in glide:
        1. The pilot needs to experiment to determine the change in glide path at different degrees of flying in brakes.
        2. Most modern nine-cell canopies fly flatter when a slight amount of brakes are applied.
        3. Some lower-aspect canopies are designed to sink for a classic accuracy approach, which is less effective when performed under a higher-aspect ratio canopy in low-wind conditions.
    4. Flaring from a braked position
      1. Expect a different glide on a braked final approach.
      2. Expect a shorter and quicker stroke needed to flare.
      3. Prepare for a harder landing.
    5. Under canopy
      1. Practice flaring several times from the quarter-, half-, and three-quarter-braked positions, and focus on making an effective flare from each position.
      2. Practice braked turns using all the methods discussed.
      3. Fly a landing pattern that allows for a crosswind final approach and landing.
        1. For purposes of training and familiarization, the crosswind landing should only be performed in winds up to five miles per hour.
        2. All jumpers on the same pass must use the same landing pattern to promote a smooth flow of traffic.
      4. On final approach, focus on crosswind correction necessary to prevent crabbing.
      5. A cross­wind landing may require pulling the upwind toggle deeper than the downwind toggle to keep the jumper going in the same direction and reduce the ground speed upon landing. Performing an uneven flare in this manner increases the stall speed of the canopy. A parachute landing fall is recommended for any unusual landing


    jump 5—long spot
    1. Projected landing point
      1. Discovery of how to locate the point on the ground the parachute will reach while flying at natural speed
      2. Altering the glide using brakes and rear risers
        1. Minimize the drag.
          1. Collapse the slider.
          2. Pull legs up, arms in, and arch to reduce air resistance
          3. Loosen the chest strap to improve glide.
        2. If holding brakes, reducing fatigue by hooking your thumbs in the harness. (Be careful not to hook onto your cutaway or reserve ripcord handles.)
        3. Decide by 1,500 feet about a new landing area.
          1. Allow enough altitude for the final turn.
          2. Expect the winds to weaken as you get lower.
      3. Choose an alternate landing area if necessary, and follow off-field landing recommendations.
    2. Under canopy
      1. Exit the aircraft at 5,000 feet AGL at least 1.5 miles upwind of the main landing area.
      2. Determine the glide path of the canopy and the landing point using the projected landing point to determine the point on the ground which is neither rising or sinking.
      3. Alter the glide
        1. using brakes
        2. using rear risers
        3. comparison of effectiveness
      4. If the intended landing area cannot be reached by an altitude which allows for a safe landing, a reasonable alternative should be used.
      5. On landing, follow the flight plan and continue to work on effective flaring
    1. The aircraft should fly multiple passes as necessary.
    2. Jumpers should arrange their exit order and opening altitudes according to wing loading.
    3. Maintain vertical and horizontal separation; higher canopies should use brakes to slow descent if needed.
    4. Each jumper needs to allow enough separation for the course director to video each final approach and landing individually.

    6-12: Movement Jumps copy link

    A Introduction

    1. These recommendations provide guidance for a skydive that entails one or more skydivers who are intentionally moving away from the point at which they were dropped, generally in a horizontal orientation that changes pitch and speed throughout the jump.
    2. The term "movement" in this context includes but is not limited to tracking jumps and angle flying.
    3. Wingsuit jumps are movement jumps but are covered separately in section 6-9 due to several unique considerations.

    B. Qualifications

    1. Before engaging in movement jumps outside of the USPA Integrated Student Program, a participating skydiver (not a leader) should:
      1. Hold a USPA A license.
      2. Demonstrate proficiency at tracking while maintaining situational awareness.
    2. Before engaging in movement jumps as the leader, the skydiver should have:
      1. At a minimum, qualified for the USPA C-license.
      2. The ability to maintain consistent awareness of altitude and location
      3. Proficiency and experience in the discipline
      4. Received formal instruction on:
        1. DZ terrain (changing ground levels, bodies of water or any other ground obstacles) and alternate landing areas (outs).
        2. exit order
        3. navigation (move in the correct direction and ability to deploy where planned)
        4. communication with drop zone authorities, other jumpers and the pilot (to determine jump run and spot)
        5. understanding weather (including reading a winds-aloft forecast, and maintaining awareness of clouds prior to jumping)
        6. Making a flight plan (including exit order, breakoff and designated deployment area) and adjusting that flight plan as necessary to accommodate changing conditions to avoid other groups.
    3. Jumpers can use the graph below to determine their skill levels:

    C. Equipment

    1. Gear must be properly secured to prevent premature deployment of either canopy.
      1. A premature opening at the speeds involved in this type of skydiving could result in severe injury to the body or stressing the equipment beyond limits set by the manufacturers.
      2. Deployment systems and operation handles should remain secure during inverted and stand-up flight; therefore, equipment for movement jumps should include:
        1. bottom-of-container mounted throw-out pilot chute pouch, pull-out pilot chute, or ripcord main deployment system
          1. Exposed leg-strap-mounted pilot chutes present an extreme hazard.
          2. Any exposed pilot-chute bridle presents a hazard.
          3. Use of a tuck-tab is recommended to provide additional security of the pilot chute during high freefall speeds encountered while movement flying.
        2. Closing loops, pin-protection flaps, and riser covers well maintained and properly sized
    2. Harness straps
      1. Leg straps should be connected with a seat strap to keep the leg straps from moving toward the knees.
      2. Excess leg and chest straps should be tightly stowed.
    3. Automatic activation devices are recommended because of the high potential for collisions and loss of altitude awareness associated with movement jumps.
    4. Personal accessories for movement jumps should include:
      1. audible altimeter (two are recommended)
      2. visual altimeter
      3. hard helmet
      4. clothing or jumpsuit that will remain in place during movement flights and will not obscure or obstruct deployment, emergency handles or altimeters
      5. GPS

    D. Training

    1. Movement flying has many things in common with face-to-earth formation skydiving.
      1. A beginner will progress faster and safer with a coach.
      2. Novices should not jump with each other until they have—
        1. received specific training in movement jumps
        2. demonstrated the ability to control navigation, pitch and speed
    2. Prior to jumping with larger groups, progress should follow the same model as for the freefall and canopy formation disciplines: Novices should begin with coached 2-way formations to develop exit, body position, pitch and speed control and breakoff skills, and progress gradually to larger and more complex movement jumps

    E. Hazards Associated with Movement Jumps

    1. Understanding navigation is of utmost importance. Jumpers must plan accordingly to:
      1. Move off the aircraft's line of flight
      2. Consider other movement groups on the load
      3. Avoid other groups in freefall and under canopy
      4. Open where they've pre-determined
      5. Account for the DZ terrain
      6. Have a backup plan if landing out
    2. Weather is important in the planning phase to determine:
      1. Navigation
      2. Exit Order
      3. Coordination with other movement groups
      4. The current and changing cloud conditions during freefall and canopy flight
    3. Communication
      1. Prior to boarding, it is of the utmost importance to communicate your intentions with the drop zone authorities (such as manifest, an S&TA or a load master) and the entire load in order to:
        1. Understand local drop zone restrictions and requirements for movement jumps
        2. Share your flight plan
        3. Determine exit order
      2. It is also important that everyone in the group understand the DZ terrain, hazards, and alternate landing areas (outs)
    4. Movement groups per load. Several factors (e.g., local DZ rules and terrain, weather and leader experience) influence how many movement groups may be safely accommodated per load; however, the general recommendation is to limit movement groups to two per load.
    5. Exit order
      1. The exit order will depend on weather (freefall drift), DZ terrain, deployment altitudes, other groups and DZ rules and considerations
      2. Group leader must communicate with the S&TA, DZ, pilot and others on the load
    6. Varied skill levels considerations
      1. Every jump should meet the skill level of the lowest experienced jumper in order to execute the flight plan and open in the determined spot
      2. Opening in the correct, predetermined spot is crucial for safety, so jumpers must be able to demonstrate proficiency on beginner-level movement jumps before progressing to intermediate or advanced jumps. Jumpers who are unable to follow intermediate or advanced movement jumps may cause their groups to conflict with others on the load.
      3. Adding speed and pitch changes and transitions greatly increases the difficulty of the jump, requiring an expert leader to consider all the variables of the jump so as to avoid collisions, maintain the flight plan and open in the predetermined spot.
    7. Relativity
      1. Maintain visual contact with the leader to adapt if you are far behind, above, to the side of or low relative to the group. To avoid collisions, continue moving in the same direction as the group, even if you are far away.
      2. Maintain the same heading (direction) as the rest of the group. Off-heading collisions are more dangerous than collisions between jumpers heading in the same direction.
      3. Never turn 180 degrees from the group's heading, even if you think there is nobody behind you.
      4. If you've passed the group, slow down and let it catch up. If you are flying to the side of the group and the group starts turning toward you, turn toward the same heading, even if you are far away.
    8. Breakoff. It is crucial to understand the elements of breakoff to avoid congestion and collisions.
      1. Choose a clear path (line) and fan out from the other jumpers while flattening the pitch to a track
      2. Maintain awareness by looking in all directions
      3. If you are on your back at breakoff, avoid flipping to a belly-to-earth orientation until you are on a clear trajectory with no one above you. Once on your belly, continue to track off until it's time to clear airspace and pull

    F. Pre-Flight Checklist

    This pre-flight checklist can help you determine the specifics of your jump. Draw the flight plan on the map of your DZ and share it with the drop zone, load and pilot to confirm you can perform your skydive safely:

    What is jump run for your load?
    What are the forecasted winds aloft at these points during your jump?
         Exit altitude
         Landing Pattern
    How many groups and other jumpers on your load?
    What is your exit order?
         Are there any other movement jumps on your load?
    What are the DZ terrain factors to consider in navigation?
    What is the intended landing pattern and holding area for the jump?
    Have you ensured that your flight path does not interfere with jump run?
    Does your flight plan take into consideration freefall, DZ terrain, canopy flight path and weather?
    Is your flight plan appropriate for the skill level of jumpers on your movement jump?

    6-13: Speed Skydiving copy link

    A. Introduction

    1. These recommendations guide skydivers who are intentionally attempting to reach their highest terminal velocity in freefall.
    2. Though speed skydives incorporate elements of both free-flying and angle flying, the high vertical speeds reached present several unique considerations covered in this section. Speeds a speed skydiver achieves will dramatically vary based on skill and experience. Only a tiny minority of top competitors are surpassing the 300mph range. Most beginners, especially those without extensive angles and tunnel experience, will likely be closer to a low 200's top speed.
    3. Jumpers can find the competition rules in Chapter 15 of the USPA's Skydivers Competition Manual (SCM).

    B. Qualifications

    1. Before engaging in speed skydives, a participating skydiver should:
      1. Hold a C license or higher.
      2. Have made a minimum of 200 jumps.
      3. Maintain consistent awareness of altitude and location over the ground.
      4. Jumpers must have their gear inspected by a qualified person.
      5. Consult a local S&TA or DZO on:
        1. the terrain and alternate landing areas around the DZ.
        2. exit order
        3. navigation (move in the correct direction and ability to deploy at the planned altitude and location).
        4. communication with drop zone authorities, other jumpers and aircraft pilot (to determine jump run and spot)
        5. understanding weather (including reading a winds-aloft forecast and maintaining awareness of clouds before jumping)
        6. Jumpers must make a flight plan that includes exit orders, flight plans during freefall, breakoff, and canopy flight path, to avoid other groups.

    C. Equipment

    1. Jumpers must adequately secure their gear to prevent premature deployment of either the main or reserve parachutes.
      1. Because the speeds in these skydives can surpass the gear's TSO deployments speeds, a premature opening could result in severe injury or death.
      2. Deployment systems and operation handles should remain secure during inverted flights. Therefore, equipment for speed skydives should include the following:
        1. A well-maintained bottom-of-container mounted throw-out pilot chute pouch, pull-out pilot chute, or ripcord main deployment system.
          1. Exposed leg-strap-mounted pilot chutes present a hazard.
          2. Any exposed pilot-chute bridle presents a danger.
          3. Jumpers should use a tuck tab to provide additional security for the pilot chute during high freefall speeds.
        2. Closing loops, pin-protection flaps, and riser covers well maintained and adequately sized
    2. Harness straps: Jumpers must tightly stow excess legs and chest straps.
    3. Jumpers should use an automatic activation device because of the high potential of losing altitude awareness associated with speed skydives.
    4. Personal accessories for speed skydiving should include the following:
      1. Two audible altimeters (additional flashing color visuals inside the helmet are highly encouraged). Two audibles are required because the wind noise on a speed skydive may drown out the audible beeps. Jumpers must increase the volume of all audible altimeters to a maximum volume.
      2. Visual altimeter
      3. Hard helmet – if a jumper uses a full-face helmet, they must ensure that the visor stays shut during the jump (either through its design or using additional constraints, e.g., tape). Fogging can occur, and the jumper must have a plan in case vision becomes limited. If a jumper uses an open-face helmet, they must ensure that eye protection is secure and cannot come off.
      4. Most speed skydivers choose to fly with extremely tight clothing or jumpsuit that helps cut down on drag. Because of this, it requires more remarkable body-flight skills to maintain control. A jumper's chosen attire should not obscure or obstruct deployment, emergency handles or altimeters.
      5. Speed measuring device (SMD): A device used to record the real-time, three-dimensional position of the jumper mounted on the skydiver's body or equipment.
    5. Experimentation - While jumpers may in the future begin to modify equipment as the sport progresses, there are a few safety considerations when experimenting with faster speeds:
      1. Competition only allows standard skydiving equipment. Jumpers can use aero shaping for implementation during training or experimentation. Jumpers should use caution when making modifications to helmets, as a shape or weight change may result in severe torques created on the neck and spine that could result in severe injury.
      2. A propulsion system or added weight (belt or vest) is not allowed in competition. However, for training and experimental purposes, such items should be reviewed by an experienced speed skydiver or S&TA before being used.
      3. Using a Tandem rig for speed skydiving is not permitted in competition nor recommended in training.
      4. New speed skydivers should consider increasing their skill level in a suit with some drag before seeking to minimize their drag by wearing a skintight suit that they may not have the skill set to fly at 200+ mph airspeeds. Jumpers should use a conservative approach when decreasing drag in the speed discipline, relatable to upsizing a wingsuit or downsizing a canopy.

    D. Training

    1. Speed skydiving is a solo discipline, and participants primarily evaluate their performance by analyzing data from SMD to analyze performance. Speed skydivers can also employ a coach to help analyze data and to film their routines to get further insight through an outside video perspective. The analysis of body-flight performance is just as vital as the recorded data from a speed-measuring device. During a jump with a speed skydiver and coach, jumpers must actively mitigate the risk of collisions at high speeds by closely matching speed and direction.
    2. Speed skydiving has similar skill sets and elements from free-flying and movement jumps.
      1. A beginner will progress faster and safer with a coach.
      2. Novices should not attempt speed skydiving until they have—
        1. Received training in some combination of tracking, angle flying, tunnel flying, and free- flying.
        2. If possible, demonstrate the ability to control navigation, body pitch and speed.
      3. Angle flying includes many essential skills for novice speed flyers, such as body positions, freefall awareness and flight planning for freefall and canopy. Once proficient with those skills, jumpers can begin their speed career with solo runs, prioritizing control rather than speed to develop exit, body position, heading control, pitch and speed control and breakoff skills, then progress gradually to faster terminal velocities. As mentioned above, using a coach will maximize the progression and understanding of this new discipline.
      4. Jumpers should breakoff altitude at 5,600 ft. (1,707 meters) AGL. Competition rules do not include any measurements below the breakoff altitude. Higher breakoffs also ensure the performer has adequate time to slow down before deploying a parachute. The performance window is the scoring part of the speed jump, which starts at the exit. The end of the performance window is either 7,400 ft. (2,256 meters) below the exit or at breakoff altitude – whichever comes first.
      5. No one should attempt a speed run on a low-altitude pass, for example, a hop and pop.

    E. Hazards Associated with Speed Skydives

    Before boarding, it is of the utmost importance to communicate your intentions with the drop zone authorities (such as manifest, an S&TA or a loadmaster) and the entire load.

    1. Exit and freefall
      1. Exit order primarily depends on the speed consistently attained. Once a speed skydiving can demonstrate that they are consistently exceeding normal max free-fly speeds (in excess of approximately 250 mph), speed skydivers who are training should be allowed to exit first and instructed to turn away from jump run. Trained speed skydivers exiting after other jumps is an extreme safety risk. A speed skydiver traveling 300 mph that collides with a solo belly jumper in a baggy suit will have a 200-mph closure rate. With multiple speed skydivers, exit order should be fastest out first, with consideration given to deployment altitudes and parachute type/size if necessary.
      2. Speed skydivers should be classified as a movement jump and not followed by another movement group when integrating with other disciplines.
      3. Move off the aircraft's line of flight
      4. Navigation: remaining on course
      5. Maintaining stability in freefall – what to do in case of disorientation
      6. Breaking off / pulling out of the dive at or above 5,600 ft. (1,707 meters) AGL. At 310 mph, a jumper travels at 450ft per second. Consider the resulting horizontal speed.
      7. Slowing down to a safe deployment speed is critical. Can be accomplished by transitioning to either the belly or back-flying flight orientations.
    2. Deployment and Canopy-flight
      1. A speed skydiver must slow their terminal velocity to "deployment speeds."
      2. A parachute deployment, intentional or unintentional, while performing a speed skydive can result in severe injury or death.
      3. Deployment should occur at or above 2,500 ft. AGL, per the USPA's BSR 2-1.I
      4. A speed skydiver must take great care to avoid other groups that might still be in freefall once under the canopy. Groups to avoid can include jumpers that exit before or after the speed skydiver. Jumpers must control their heading during deployment to continue a perpendicular course from the aircraft's jump run.