United States Parachute Association > Experienced Skydivers > SIM > Section 5-4

5-4 Pre-Jump Safety Checks and Briefings

A. Equipment preparation is essential

  1. Preparing all skydiving equipment and procedures prior to each jump is critical to preventing accidents.
  2. This information is intended to provide the instructional staff and other experienced jumpers with a reference to use as guidance in developing a personal checklist appropriate to the procedures and equipment in use.
  3. In some cases, these checks will be the principal responsibility of others—the pilot, instructor, coach, rigger, ground crew chief, etc., however, no one should assume that these responsibilities have been carried out by others.
    1. Initially, the USPA Instructor performs these pre-jump safety checks and briefings for his or her students.
    2. As students progress, they should begin to learn to do them for themselves.
    3. Through leadership and attitude, the instructional staff has the opportunity to foster a respect for safety that will serve the beginning skydiver well when assuming sole responsibility for all of his or her skydiving activities.
  4. Students progressing through the training program and all experienced jumpers should review all of the items on these lists to familiarize themselves with the wide range of details.
  5. This section includes checklists for:
    1. aircraft preflight
    2. ground crew briefing
    3. pilot briefing
    4. skydiver briefing
    5. equipment check
    6. before-takeoff check
    7. takeoff
    8. spotting
    9. jump run
    10. descent and landing in aircraft
    11. post-jump debriefing

B. Briefings

  1. Aircraft preflight (primarily the responsibility of the pilot, but the supervising USPA instructional rating holder should check also):
    1. placards: in place (as required)
    2. seats removed (as required)
    3. door stop (under Cessna wing) removed
    4. sharp objects taped
    5. loose objects secured
    6. steps and handholds secure, clean of oil
    7. aircraft altimeter set
    8. filing and activation of notice to airmen (NOTAM)
    9. aircraft radio serviceable
    10. static-line attachment secure
    11. knife in place and accessible
    12. remote spotting correction and communication signals operational (larger aircraft)
    13. winds-aloft report or wind-drift indicators available
    14. seat belts available and serviceable
    15. passenger hand straps near door removed
  2. Ground crew briefing: A load organizer (a senior jumper or instructional rating holder) should coordinate to ensure that everyone is in agreement:
    1. communications procedures to meet BSR requirements for ground-to-air communication: smoke, panels, radio, etc.
    2. jump order
    3. distance between groups on exit
    4. landing pattern priorities
    5. control of spectators and vehicles
    6. student operations (USPA Instructor)
      1. wind limitations
      2. setting up and maintaining a clear target area
      3. critiques of student landings
      4. maintenance of master log
      5. accident and first-aid procedures
  3. Pilot briefing: The load organizer coordinates with the pilot.
    1. jump run altitudes
    2. jump run direction
    3. communications (ground to air, jumpmaster to pilot, air traffic control)
    4. aircraft attitudes during corrections on jump run
    5. jump run speed and cut
    6. locking wheel brake (if applicable), but the parking brake is not to be used
    7. gross weight and center of gravity requirements and limitations
    8. procedures for aircraft emergencies
    9. procedures for equipment emergencies in the aircraft
  4. Skydiver briefing
    1. conducted by the load organizer
      1. seat belt off altitude: 1,500 feet above ground level (AGL) or designated by DZ policy
      2. movement in the aircraft, especially during jump run
      3. aircraft emergency procedures, including communication procedures
      4. parachute equipment emergency procedures
    2. to be conducted by the USPA Instructor:
      1. review of student log or record
      2. jump plan
        1. exit and freefall, including jump commands
        2. emergency procedure training or review
        3. canopy control and landing pattern
        4. drop zone appearance and hazards (an aerial photo or map is recommended)
      3. protection of operation handles and pins
      4. conduct in aircraft: mental preparation and movement

C. Equipment checklist

  1. Equipment check responsibilities before boarding and before exiting:
    1. The USPA Instructor or Coach checks the student’s equipment.
    2. Each individual skydiver ensures that his or her own equipment is inspected three times prior to each jump.
      1. before putting it on
      2. prior to boarding
      3. prior to exit
  2. Checklist
    1. helmet: proper fit and the chin strap threaded correctly
    2. goggles or glasses secure and clean
    3. canopy releases: properly assembled and periodic maintenance performed
    4. reserve static line (RSL) hooked up and routed correctly (refer to manufacturer’s instructions)
    5. altimeters checked and set and ensure that visual altimeters do not block operation handles
    6. main parachute
      1. main canopy properly sized
      2. container properly closed, pull-up cord removed, and closing loop in good condition
      3. activation device
        1. ripcord: secure in the pocket, housing tacked and secured on both ends, proper movement of the pin or cable in the housing and closing loop, and pilot chute seated correctly
        2. throw-out pilot chute: secure in the pouch, bridle routed correctly and secure, pin secure on the bridle and seated in the closing loop, and slack above the pin (this may apply to some rigs; see manufacturer’s instructions for details)
        3. pull-out pilot chute (not approved for student use) handle secure: pin seated, free movement of the handle through pin extraction (see manufacturer’s instructions)
      4. practice main deployment handle secure (student)
    7. harness:
      1. straps not twisted and routed correctly
        1. chest strap
        2. leg straps
        3. belly band, if applicable
      2. snaps secured and closed and/or friction adapters properly threaded
      3. adjusted for proper fit
      4. running ends turned back and sewn
      5. loose ends tucked into keepers
    8. belly band (if used):
      1. correctly routed
      2. adjusted
      3. friction adapter properly threaded
    9. reserve:
      1. proper size for jumper
      2. pin condition—seated, not bent, and closing loop(s) in good condition
      3. pilot chute seated
      4. packing data card in date and seal in place
      5. ripcord handle pocket condition
      6. pin cover flap closed
      7. overall appearance
    10. risers not twisted and toggles secure
    11. suspension and control lines not exposed
    12. static line (students):
      1. correct length, routing, and slack for operation compatible with that aircraft
      2. assist device (if required) attached properly
      3. static-line secured to prevent premature deployment
      4. closing pin or cable in place
    13. personal:
      1. footwear—proper type and fit, no open hooks or buckles
      2. protective clothing
        1. jumpsuit pockets closed
        2. other outerwear compatible with jumping
        3. gloves as required
      3. no unnecessary accessories, such as cameras
      4. empty pockets
      5. earplugs
    14. automatic activation device (AAD):
      1. serviced according to manufacturer’s schedule
      2. calibrated for jump (if required)
      3. proper routing of cable(s)
      4. control unit secured in proper location
      5. armed or turned on as required
    15. radio (students) properly secured and functional (test with base station)
    16. condition of all touch fastener (Velcro®) and tuck tabs
    17. overall fit and appearance