Ask a Rigger | Masks, Lenses and Fogging
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Saturday, July 13, 2024
Ask a Rigger | Masks, Lenses and Fogging

Ask a Rigger | Masks, Lenses and Fogging

By Shauna Finley

Ask A Rigger
Thursday, October 1, 2020

Now that many drop zones have re-opened, most with face-mask requirements in place to help control the spread of the coronavirus, lens fogging has become a common issue. The strategy to prevent lens fogging is similar whether you use an open-face helmet with goggles or a full-face helmet: Wear a cloth mask or other face covering over your nose or mouth in the plane and lower it just as you exit.

Many full-face helmet users have tried keeping their face shields down during loading and the flight to altitude instead of wearing a mask, but this almost always causes the face shield to fog up quickly. It’s best to leave the shield open and wear your face covering while loading the plane and on the ride to altitude. Once the red light comes on or the door opens, drop your face covering to your chin and lower your shield just as you’d do when jumping in cold weather.

Those who use an open-face helmet and goggles should also drop their masks to their chins just as they exit. Do it too soon, and what’s the point of wearing a mask to begin with? Do it too late, and it’s unlikely to stay in place in freefall and may even obscure your vision. Once in freefall, there’s really no need for a mask anyway.

Whether you use goggles or a full-face helmet, it’s wise to purchase an anti-fog spray or anti-fog wipes and treat the inside of the lens at least daily. (Hint: These also work well on camera lenses.) Previously found mostly in scuba stores, they’re widely available now and also relatively inexpensive.

Since each state has different rules and it’s up to each DZ to interpret them, it’s a good idea to consult with the DZ to see if your procedures are acceptable to them. Take the time to understand the DZ’s rules and what guidance they’re giving their jumpers. DZs are doing their best to keep our community healthy while staying in business. Help where you can, don’t give the staff grief if they ask you to wear or adjust your face covering (mouth and nose covered) and practice basic hygiene. Also, remember to smile under your mask, because people can tell, and it goes a long way!

Shauna Finley | D-34907 and FAA Master Rigger
USPA Eastern Regional Director

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