United States Parachute Association > Experienced Skydivers > SIM > Section 6-12

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?