Skydiving is a sport where a person or a group of people jump out of a perfectly good airplane. We only have a backpack on our backs and the hope that a parachute comes out of it at the right moment. That parachute reduces our vertical speed, allowing us to reach the ground safely and then do it again. Avoiding any mistakes during this process is crucial.
Skydiving is a hazardous sport, and any mistake can be fatal (share your mistakes with the #skydivefail), and that is the reason why we all must avoid complacency. This is the first thing to do to prevent a “skydiving fail.”
“I have a friend who says: – Skydiving would be the most stupid sport in the world if it weren’t so fun.” – Dan BC (Skydive Perris)
Today’s post is about one of the biggest mistakes I’ve made during my skydive career and how much it could have changed my life if I wasn’t so lucky. I really went through this with no injuries. I’m blessed! Thanks, Skydiver God!
The Skydive Error
You are probably thinking, ok, but what did happen to you??? The answer is:
I forgot to open my slider and put it back to its original shape. This error creates a hard opening. It could have broken my neck.
As a skydiver, I created a routine. I used to arrive at the drop zone, turn on my AAD, check up my gear, set up a group to jump, manifest and go skydive. Once I got back in the ground, I set up my brakes and go back to the hangar. I watch the video with the people I’m jumping with and repack my parachute.
I did that for many jumps (around 300-400 jumps). One day, I got back to the hangar and began repacking my main parachute to get ready for my next jump. While I was packing it, I started talking with a friend at the drop zone. I wasn’t paying attention because I thought I knew what I was doing. I thought: – I’ve done this so many times. No problem!
Houston, Do We Have Video? Yes, We Do!
When you jump with a collapsed slider, you will have a (very, very, very) hard opening.
Videos are much better than words, so check it out.
Luckily I had no injuries in this skydiving fail, and I landed safe and ready to jump again.
How Do I Prevent this Mistake?
It was a hard opening, and I got terrified at the point. It was aggressive and excruciating. As soon as I landed and got myself together, I talked with one of the instructors I trusted and told him what happened. Immediately, I asked what could I do to avoid this mistake again.
He told me that I need to pay more attention to all the processes. Also, put my slider back in place as soon as I land and remember that straight lines and slider in place are the most essential things in a packing job.
Nowadays, I changed my routine a little bit. I arrive at the drop zone, turn on my AAD, check up my gear, set up a group to jump, manifest and go skydive. Once I got back in the ground, I uncollapse my slider, set up my brakes and go back to the hangar to repack my parachute.
What did I learn?
First things first. It’s not necessary to collapse the slider to land safely but doing it provides some benefits: increase the visual field, reduce drag and no flapping sound on landing. However, if you do collapse it for landing. Put it back on its original shape before leaving the landing area!
The second thing I learned is that it is essential to warm up before skydive. I always warm up my neck and shoulders before any skydive jump, and I believe it made all the difference that day, and probably it helped not to have any injury besides muscle pain.
The third point I learned from this experience is that wrong stuff happen to ourselves. Some people, including me, think bad things only happen with other people. It’s just a matter of time before we fuck up at some point. We need to pay attention and never be complacent.
No one knows everything and admitting it is sometimes the best chance we have for avoiding an accident.
Thank you all for reading. I appreciate your time and I hope I could help you avoid a skydiving fail of your own a little bit. Have fun in your skydiving path. Be safe, skydive a lot and always ask questions!
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Find out more about Canopies: How Does a Parachute Works?
Where should I go to jump? 10 Best Places to Skydive!
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