United States Parachute Association > Experienced Skydivers > SIM > Section 7-1

7-1 Exhibition Jumping

Note: Requirements for obtaining demonstration jump insurance may differ from the recommendations listed in this section.

A. Definition

An exhibition jump, also called a demonstration or display jump, is a jump at a location other than an existing drop zone done for the purpose of reward, remuneration, or promotion and principally for the benefit of spectators.

B. How to approach a demo jump

  1. As with all jumps, safety must be the first consideration.
  2. Next, the most important aspect of a demonstration jump is landing in the target area.
    1. Good aerial work is not impressive if the jumpers land out.
    2. A stand-up landing in the target area is usually the most visible and impressive portion of a demonstration jump.
  3. Demo jumps have many variables which must be considered, including wind speed and direction, approach types, equipment type, jumper experience, target areas, and alternate landing areas.
  4. Each proposed demo needs to be evaluated on an individual basis.

C. Experience and ability

  1. Open Field and Level 1, as defined by USPA and accepted by the FAA (all of the following):
    1. USPA C license or higher
    2. minimum 200 jumps
    3. 50 jumps within the past 12 months
    4. five jumps within the previous 60 days using the same model and size canopy to be used on the demonstration jump
    5. For tandem jumps, the above requirements do not apply to the tandem student
  2. Level 2 and Stadium, as defined by USPA and accepted by the FAA (all of the following):
    1. hold the USPA PRO rating (required by the BSRs)
    2. 50 jumps within the past 12 months
    3. five jumps within the previous 60 days using the same model and size canopy to be used on the demonstration jump

D. Attitude

  1. While a good demonstration jump provides great public relations for the sport, a poorly performed one may severely damage skydiving’s image.
    1. Therefore, it is important to recognize and understand that sometimes it may be in the best interest of the individual jumper and skydiving in general not to make the jump at all.
    2. A mature attitude should be exhibited at all times.
  2. Promise no more than you can produce and thenperform with expertise and efficiency.
  3. Take no unnecessary chances.
  4. Know what you are getting into before getting there.
  5. Recognize and deal with the air of excitement that surrounds a demo jump.
  6. Make mature and professional judgments in dealing with unforeseen circumstances.
  7. Delay or cancel the demo when conditions are not right for a safe jump.
  8. Jumpers and support staff should have a sharp, clean appearance to make a better impression and present a professional image.

E. Landing areas

  1. All FAA-authorized demonstration jumps are classified as either Open Field, Level 1, Level 2, or Stadium.
  2. USPA with the FAA’s concurrence defines these areas as described in Table 7.A, Size and Definition of Landing Areas (inset on previous page).
  3. Minimum landing areas for PRO Rating holders:
    1. For PRO Rating holders, there should be no less than 5,000 square feet of landing area per four jumpers.
    2. An additional 800 square feet per jumper is required for any jumper landing within 30 seconds of the last of any four jumpers.
  4. Alternate landing areas (run-offs or escape areas) must be considered when evaluating a demonstration jump.
  5. Open bodies of water may be considered for measuring landing area requirements for open-field, level 1 and level 2 landing areas. However, the vertical and horizontal distance limits from any spectator outlined in Table 7.A still apply.

F. Turbulence and target placement

  1. Recommended minimum distances from major obstacles should never be disregarded, especially in windy conditions.
    1. Major obstacles affect air currents and can cause turbulence.
    2. Major obstacles include large buildings and trees.
    3. A single tree, pole, fence, etc., is not considered as a major obstacle.
    4. Stadium jumps usually involve turbulence that should be considered.
  2. Jumpers should be thoroughly familiar with the turbulent-air flight characteristics of their canopies.

G. Maximum winds

  1. When considering wind limits, include wind turbulence and the capabilities of the reserve canopy.
  2. USPA recommends that all demonstration jumps be conducted with a maximum 15-mph ground wind limitation.
  3. For stadium jumps, the wind should be measured at the top of the stadium, and turbulence should always be anticipated.

H. Equipment

  1. Main canopy:
    1. Open Field, Level 1, Level 2 and Stadium: ram-air type recommended by USPA
    2. Level 2 and Stadium: ram-air required by FAA
  2. Reserve canopy:
    1. Open Field: should be steerable
    2. Level 1, Level 2, and Stadium: ram-air reserve required by FAA
  3. Smoke should be hand-carried or attached to an easily ejectable boot bracket.
    Warning: military type (M-18) smoke grenades are extremely hot and should not be hand held.
  4. Depending on the type of demonstration jump; it is recommended to use an AAD and an RSL.

I. Aerial maneuvers

  1. Aerial maneuvers should be rehearsed, just as any professional would give a show a dry run.
    1. Participants should be aware of their exit point, freefall drift, and opening point.
    2. Landing on target takes priority over air work.
    3. One should be prepared to break off, track, or pull high if necessary.
  2. Some suggested freefall maneuvers:
    1. barber pole:
      1. Two or more jumpers with two or more colors of smoke exit and hook up.
      2. The jumpers then spin the formation creating a giant barber pole.
    2. starburst: Three or more jumpers exit and form a star, then break, make a 180° turn, and track apart.
    3. cutaway:
      1. One jumper opens, cuts away, and deploys a second main canopy.
      2. The jumper is required to wear three parachutes, one of which must be a TSO’ed reserve, and the reserve must be attached to a TSO’ed harness.
  3. Some suggested canopy maneuvers:
    1. smoke
      1. After opening, ignite smoke and drop on a ten-foot line.
      2. Make a series of turns in one direction.
      3. The line should be releaseable from the upper end if it becomes necessary.
      4. Be careful in crossing over obstacles on approach.
      5. Make sure the smoke container won’t burn through the line.
    2. flag
      1. A flag may be attached to the rear lines or dropped below the jumper on a weighted line attached to the leading edge.
      2. A ground crew should catch the flag so that it won’t touch the ground.
      3. Larger flags must be folded into a bag or pouch designed to contain the flag and the weight that is attached to the lower leading edge of the flag.
      4. The flag should be deployed over an uncongested area to protect people and property in the event the weight detaches from the flag.
      5. Before jumping with a unfamiliar flag system, seek out training and advice from a PRO Rated jumper who is familiar with the rigging of the flag and associated components.
    3. canopy formation
      1. Canopy maneuvers should be performed by only experienced CRW jumpers.
      2. Efforts to build canopy formations should stop no lower than 2,500 feet AGL.
      3. It is much more difficult and dangerous to land a canopy stack on target than it is to land canopies separately.
    4. Radical canopy maneuvers should not be performed below 500 feet.

J. Crowd control

  1. Collisions with spectators present a great danger to the spectator, the jumper, and the well-being of the sport.
    1. Reasonable precautions should be taken to keep the spectators out of the landing area.
    2. People not sitting may move toward the target, but they will not always move out of the way of the landing jumper.
  2. Jumpers should pick up their equipment immediately after landing.
    1. Some spectators may decide that skydiving equipment makes good souvenirs.
    2. Jumpers who plan on packing in the crowd should protect against equipment damage by spectators’ drinks and cigarettes.

K. Ground signals

  1. Ground-to-air communication must be maintained (BSRs).
    1. This may be accomplished by a radio, smoke, or a panel.
    2. It is best if a backup to the primary signal exists in case the primary signal fails.
  2. If a Certificate of Authorization (FAA Form 7711-1) is issued, it may require ground-to-air radio communication.

L. Announcer

  1. An experienced skydiver on the public address system contributes to a quality demonstration jump.
  2. The announcer can point out the aircraft, explain each phase of the jump, give general information, and explain any unusual occurrences, such as a reserve activation or a jumper missing the target.
  3. The announcer can contribute to crowd control by asking spectators not to enter the target area.

M. Other activities

  1. Activities after the jump add to the entertainment of the spectators.
  2. Packing demonstration:
    1. Team members pack their parachutes in view of the spectators.
    2. Jumpers should pack slowly, explaining each step and answering questions.
    3. Often, this facet of the demonstration is more effective if one person packs while another does the talking.
  3. Answering questions:
    1. Respond to spectator questions politely and factually.
    2. Direct persons interested in jumping to USPA or distribute brochures advertising a drop zone.

N. Advice and approval

  1. Approval may need to be secured from federal, state, or local officials before a demonstration jump can be performed.
  2. Local approval
    1. It may be necessary to contact local authorities prior to a jump.
    2. The FARs require airport management approval prior to a jump onto the airport (FAR 105.23).
    3. A call to the local police is recommended.
      1. They may offer to help in crowd control.
      2. With prior knowledge of the jump, they are less likely to respond to a call, such as, “There has been a mishap, and people are falling out of the sky.”
  3. State approval
    1. It may be necessary to contact the state department of aviation.
    2. The local S&TA or Examiner notified of the demonstration jump should be able to assist the organizers in meeting all state requirements.
  4. FAA approval: Almost every jump requires either that the FAA be notified or an air traffic control authorization be received (FAR 105.25).
    1. For any jump, the air traffic control facility having jurisdiction over the airspace at the first intended exit altitude must be notified at least one hour before the jump.
    2. Congested areas and open air assembly of persons:
      1. FAR 105.21.a. states that no jump be made over or into a congested area or an open air assembly of persons until a certificate of authorization has been issued (FAA Form 7711-1).
      2. Application for authorization, if required, must be filed with the local Flight Standards District Office.
      3. The FAA’s instructions on how to fill out the application, FAA Form 7711-2, are included in SIM Section 7-3.
      4. The local S&TA or Examiner notified of the demo should be able to assist the organizers in meeting all federal requirements.
      5. An aerial photo and aviation sectional chart marking the location of the jump may be required by the local FSDO.
  5. Notification and advice:
    1. The jumper is required by the BSRs to contact the local S&TA or an Examiner for demonstration jump advice.
    2. The information should be provided as outlined in FAR 105.15.a.
    3. The S&TA or an Examiner providing advice for a demonstration jump should use this section as a guideline.
    4. The Examiner whose advice was sought should contact the S&TA for the area or the drop zone at which the flight will originate.
    5. The S&TA should assist the jumpers in meeting all applicable state and federal requirements and check that the requirements have been met.
    6. All authorizations and permits should be carried on the jump by the organizer or team captain.
    7. The S&TA should investigate both the proposed area and the participants.
      1. The S&TA or Examiner may recommend the use of specific jumpers or advise the organizer to use only individuals meeting certain experience requirements.
      2. General advice allows the organizer greater flexibility in making last-minute substitutions of aircraft and participants.
    8. When consulted for a demonstration jump, the S&TA may recommend certain additional limitations such as wind speed and direction, altitude, etc.
    9. The S&TA should consider the information in this section when making recommendations and should ask the question, “All things considered, are the chances of performing a safe and professional demonstration jump reasonably good?”

O. Insurance

  1. USPA individual membership liability skydiving insurance (property damage and bodily injury), which is included as a benefit of USPA membership, is not valid for demonstration jumps.
  2. Contact USPA Headquarters for information on demonstration jump insurance.

P. Related readings

  1. FAA Part 105, Parachute Operations
  2. FAA AC 105-2, Sport Parachute Jumping
  3. FAA AC 91-45, Waivers: Aviation Events

Table 7.A— Size and Definition of Landing Areas

Open Field

  1. A minimum-sized area that will accommodate a landing area no less than 500,000 square feet.
  2. Allows a jumper to drift over the spectators with sufficient altitude (250 feet) so as not to create a hazard to persons or property on the ground
  3. Will accommodate landing no closer than 100 feet from the spectators

Level 1

  1. An area that will accommodate a landing area no smaller than at least 250,000 square feet up to 500,000 square feet
  2. Or an area with the sum total that equals 250,000 square feet, up to 500,000 square feet) with a one-sided linear crowd line
  3. Allows jumpers to drift over the spectators with sufficient altitude (250 feet) so as not to create a hazard to persons or property on the ground
  4. Will accommodate landing no closer than 50 feet from the spectators
  5. Many Open-Field athletic areas constitute a Level 1 area.

Level 2

  1. An area that will not accommodate a 250,000 square-foot landing area but will allow an area no smaller than 5,000 square feet per four jumpers
  2. Allows jumpers to fly under canopy no lower than 50 feet above the crowd and land no closer than 15 feet from the crowd line
  3. Parachutists who certify that they will use both ram-air main and ram-air reserve parachutes will be permitted to exit over or into a congested area but not exit over an open-air assembly of people.
  4. This area would require an FAA Form 7711-2 to conduct an approved demo.


  1. A Level 2 landing area smaller than 450 feet in length by 240 feet in width and bounded on two or more sides by bleachers, walls, or buildings in excess of 50 feet high
  2. This area would also require an FAA Form 7711-2 to conduct an approved demonstration jump.