10 Commandments of Skydiving (a.k.a. The Golden Rules)
Skydiving is considered an extreme sport and with that comes a reputation of thrill seeking danger. The truth is if you obey the ten commandments of skydiving and some basic common sense, this sport is no more dangerous than swimming. In fact, it may actually be safer since statistics put skydiving deaths at around 30 per year and swimming deaths for 2007 totals over 3,000. If you want to stay in the majority, here are a few rules you should always follow.
1. Descend and Land Safely
This may sound like a simple rule, however getting your descent and landing right is absolutely crucial to skydiving. You must know and understand the safest ways to descend because skydiving is much more than simply jumping from a plane and deploying your chute at the right time. Every position you take in the air will affect the speed of your descent. The landing is similar to hopping off a trolley, land on your feet running slightly.
2. Land Safe Regardless of Location
In a perfect world you will always hit your landing target, however the world is not perfect and you must be prepared to land safely even off target. The key to this type of landing is choosing the safest area possible and executing your landing correctly.
Be Prepared for Anything
When you jump from an airplane, you are entering a windy, cold and noisy situation where you are freefalling at 120 miles per hour toward the earth. This is not the time to wish you were better prepared for eventualities. Ask questions during instruction, talk to other skydivers and study everything you can about the sport.
4. Know what Happens Next
Understanding the sequence of events during skydiving will help you to obey rule number three. When you know what is supposed to happen next, you are instantly aware when something has gone wrong or off script so to speak.
5. Plan Ahead
What do you do if your main parachute fails? Do you know how and what to do if you should need to cut away your main chute so your reserve can open? To the best of your ability, you need to plan ahead for these issues and many others.
6. Never Give Up
The moment you exit the aircraft you are 100% commited to the skydive at hand. This is where all the time training on the ground comes into play. No matter what happens execute your skydive to the best of your ability and never give up on the skydive until you are once again safely back on the ground.
7. Know your Altitude
Knowing your altitude is one of the most important commandments in skydiving. There are specific altitude minimums and maximums for everything, jumping, chute deployment and fun tricks. Know these limits and then know your altitude at all times when jumping.
8. Only Jump when you and Situation are Right
Jumping can become quite addictive, pushing divers to seek more and more experiences. Sometimes you or the situation is simply not right for jumping and you will need to reign in your desire. Wind, weather, your health and more can all affect jumping conditions.
9. Don’t Make Low or Sharp Turns
Sharp turns can result in rapid altitude loss and can kill, which means you should never complete a low sharp turn. To do so leaves you at risk for a very hard landing!
10. Know your gear, and check it
Get familiar with your gear, how it looks and feels. This is the equipment you are depending on to save your life and if it fails, you could be in serious trouble. Rules and regulations state your backup chute must be inspected and repacked by certified individuals; in addition, you should know how to check every aspect of your gear every time before you go up for another jump.
Gerald Weber did his first tandem skydive in Sept of 2000 and received skydiving license A-40092 that same year. He can often be found at his home Dropzone, Skydive Spaceland.
16111 FM 521 Rd, Rosharon, Texas 77583