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The Dark and Dangerous Side of Skydiving

What Goes Up, Must Come Down

As children, we may have dreamed of what it would be like to fly. As adults, we fulfill those curiosities with perhaps flying an airplane, base jumping or even skydiving.

“Odds in favor of an event compares the number of successes to the number of failures.” – Thought Company

Most of us are not Statisticians that scrutinize the potential risks of skydiving. When you defy gravity, there are inherent risks. In challenging the natural state of gravity, there will always be the chance that something could happen, but that occurs in everyday life as well.

Researchers noted that of 3.2 million jumps made within one year, only 2.3 injuries were reported per 10,000 jumps.

Risks of Skydiving

There are risks in skydiving, however, to have a successful jump, it is essential to know the safety guidelines in place and follow them. 92% of fatalities in skydiving were a result of poor judgment and overestimating one’s capabilities.

  • Equipment: There are rare occasions when equipment fails to operate. Parachutes may not open, but a seasoned skydiver will have a reserve to rely on.
  • Weather: A sudden shift in wind can whisk a skydiver away causing a sudden downfall and crashing. Always be aware of the surrounding climate.
  • Health Issues: Those with medical conditions (heart, lungs, ears, bones, mental) should not skydive without permission from their physician.  The high altitude and impact of landing forces additional stress upon the body.
  • Landing: This may perhaps be the most common point of a skydive where injury may occur due to not following instructions.  The wind also forces a high impact landing.
  • Bravado: Some skydivers have an embellished image of themselves as being experienced, when in fact they are not. Attempts to do tricky maneuvers end up in either injury or death.

Riskiest Aspect of Skydiving

Landing is the most dangerous part of skydiving. 83.8% of injuries have been caused at this stage of skydiving while 9.3% were due to parachute issues. Inexperience and ignorance have lent to the noncompliance of safety guidelines.

Most Dangerous Form of Skydiving

HALO (High Altitude Low Opening) skydiving is the most dangerous form of skydiving. Originally developed for military operations, HALO provided the ability to jump in zones undetected by the enemy. This extreme sport has caught on to civilians, and while it poses more risks than traditional skydiving, the cost to do a HALO jump is costly.

  • 28,000-30,000 Feet Tandem Jump costs $3,700
  • 28,000-$30,000 Feet Solo Jump costs $560

Jumpers freefall for up to 2 minutes at a speed of 126 mpg. Oxygen is required to be worn due to the high altitude. The risks of hypoxia (lack of oxygen in the blood) and decompression sickness (the “bends”) can happen on any HALO jump.

Safety Above All Else

You want to have a fun and successful jump. Do your homework before you go!

  • Dropzone should be a U.S. Parachute Association Member.
  • Read up on reviews of the Dropzone.
  • Be wary of low prices – you get what you pay for!
  • Ask questions! Reputable Dropzones and Instructors welcome inquiries.
  • Trust your gut! Ultimately, your safety is your responsibility.

Got a question?

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“I Jump for a Living!”

A Daily Adventure

Does a distinct profession choose the person rather than the person choosing the job?

Being intensely passionate about an activity or skill contributes to the path we decidedly take with a career choice. Having the aptitude for parachuting is an extraordinary strength to have. Not everyone can make a career out of something that is potentially dangerous on a daily basis.

 

Why yes…My Office IS in the Sky!

Believe it or not; some people actually get paid to jump out of an airplane! It takes a rare breed to be able to make the jump up to ten or twelve times a day. Something my buddy Tony was considering back in the day in our early twenties, but he decided to go ahead and start his own company www.plumbersofpalmbeach.com

 

The average pay of a skydiver is between $20,000 – $40,000. There are various classifications of “skydiving” careers and with that come specific requirements and training to become licensed.

 

The different professions in parachuting / skydiving:

  • Military Paratrooper (Average Salary is $25,000 – $36,419)
  • Skydiving Instructor (Average Salary is $20,000)
  • Rigger (Average Salary is $24,000 – $49,000)

Military Paratrooper

Being one of the “elite” Airborne takes a great deal of self-discipline to pass successfully. There is a process which one goes through to enter, train and graduate.

 

  • Entrance – You must join the Army and pass Basic Training.
  • Combat Training – Upon completion of Basic Training, you are required to complete Combat Training. This is a requirement for all Army personnel.
  • Individualized Training – Upon completion of Combat Training, you advance to Individualized Training where you will learn paratrooping skills and undergo physical training.
  • Physical – You must pass another physical and have no mobility, vision or hearing impairments. You must be under 36 years old to qualify for paratrooper school.
  • Paratrooper Training – Now the “rubber hits the road!” You will undergo rigorous training beginning on the ground and ending in the air with jumps. If you successfully pass, you will graduate and receive your wings.

Advance to Assigned Installation – You will receive orders and go to your first military installation to report for duty.

Skydiving Instructor

As a Skydiving Instructor, your job will require a tight focus while being safety-oriented. You have the lives of others resting in your hands. As an instructor, you must be trained and licensed under the U.S. Parachute Association (USPA.)

 

Your duties will include helping beginning jumpers to have a firm understanding of what the safety procedures are and to ensure they have a successful jump. More experienced jumpers trying to earn their license will also require your testing them.

 

Training to become a Skydiving Instructor requires training and a certain number of jumps.

  • Obtain your skydiving license. Having this license allows you to be able to make solo jumps with others.
  • Must make 25 jumps – use these jumps to hone your skills and build upon them.
  • Must make 100 jumps – once completed you can proceed to the Coach Certification Class.
  • Must make 200 jumps – once completed, you qualify to skydive with a camera.
  • Must make 500 jumps – once completed, you can get your AFF rating (Instructor Proficiency Card.)
  • USPA AFF Instructor Course – this course lasts about a week; once passed you are ready to teach skydiving

Rigger

Parachute Riggers are the ones that employ strict safety measures and ensuring that parachutes are maintained, inspected, packed and repacked. A Rigger must go through training and may be required to be certified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA.)

 

There are four types of parachutes:

  1. Seat
  2. Back
  3. Chest
  4. Lap

There are two certifications for Riggers:

Senior Parachute Rigger

  • To Obtain: Rigger must pack at least 20 parachutes (of each type; seat, back, chest, lap) while a credentialed Rigger supervises
  • Must pass oral and written test

Master Parachute Rigger

  • To Obtain: Rigger must have at least three years experience and packed at least 100 parachutes of two types parachutes.
  • Must pass a written test if they do not have a Senior Parachute Rigger certificate. Both oral and practical tests are also required.

How many people can say they dance on the air for a living? Pursue your passion, and your dreams will follow.

Got a question?

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Filed under Extreme sports, Follow your dreams, jobs in skydiving, risk taking, Sky diving, thrill seeking