United States Parachute Association > Experienced Skydivers > SIM > Section 5-6

5-6 Aircraft

  1. Skydivers play a more integral role in aircraft operations than ordinary passengers, because their procedures can dramatically affect the controllability of the aircraft, particularly during exit.
    1. Parasitic drag reduces airspeed necessary for flight and reduces the effectiveness of control surfaces.
    2. Excess weight in the rear of the aircraft can cause the pilot to lose control of the aircraft and cause it to stall.
  2. All jumpers should be briefed by a jump pilot on the topics outlined in Aircraft Briefing from Category E of the USPA Integrated Student Program (SIM Section 4).
  3. The smallest aircraft to be used for student jumping should be able to carry the pilot and at least three jumpers.
  4. High openings
    1. The pilot and all jumpers on board the aircraft should be informed in advance whenever an opening is planned to be above the normal opening altitude (generally 5,000 feet AGL and lower).
    2. When more than one aircraft is being used, the pilots of each aircraft in flight at the time of the jump should be notified.
  5. Aircraft fueling
    1. Aircraft fueling operations should occur away from skydiver landing and loading areas, and no person, except the pilot and necessary fueling crew, should be aboard the aircraft during fueling.
    2. USPA accepts the practice of rapid refueling (fueling an aircraft while an engine is running) for certain turbine-powered aircraft when performed in accordance with the guidelines of Parachute Industry Association Technical Standard, TS-122.
  6. Entering the aircraft
    1. Students should never approach an aircraft, whether the engine is running or not, unless they are under the direct supervision of a USPA instructional rating holder.
    2. Everyone should always approach a fixed-wing aircraft from behind the wing and always approach a helicopter from the front or the side, only after making eye contact with the pilot.
    3. Everyone should always protect his or her ripcord handles while entering the aircraft and follow procedures to avoid the accidental activation of any equipment.
  7. Everyone on board the aircraft is subject to the seating requirements found in FAR 91.107 and the parachute requirements found in FAR 91.307.
  8. Ride to altitude
    1. Everyone should have a thorough understanding and be prepared to take the appropriate actions in the event of an accidental activation of parachute equipment in the aircraft.
    2. Seat belts should remain fastened and all hard helmets and other potential projectiles secured until the pilot notifies the jumpers that they may unfasten them.
    3. Students should sit still and move only when specifically directed to do so by their instructor(s) or coach.
    4. Seating arrangements should be determined in advance and will vary according to the particular aircraft and the size and type of the load.
    5. It is important for the load to be properly distributed in the aircraft to maintain the balance in relation to the center of gravity, which is necessary for the aircraft to fly safely.
    6. The jumpers must cooperate fully with the pilot to keep the aircraft within its safe performance envelope throughout the entire flight.
    7. The aircraft must not be loaded with more weight than the maximum allowed in the manufacturer’s operating manual.
    8. Failure to maintain proper weight and balance throughout the flight may result in loss of control of the aircraft.
  9. When not in use, seat belts should be stowed out of the way but never fastened together unless being worn.
  10. All pilots and other occupants of a jump aircraft must wear parachutes when required by the FAA.