Safe skydiving?

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Skydiving fatalities are rare due to safety measures such as a reserve parachute and altitude-sensitive automatic activation device. Injuries are usually caused by inattention or improper action. Parachutes are carefully packed and reserve parachutes have a better ratio of failure. With proper care and attention, skydiving can be safe. Commercial films exaggerate the danger and many countries require skydivers to be of legal age.

Despite the apparent danger of jumping out of an airplane or glider, fatalities from skydiving are rare. In the United States and most of the Western world parachutists are required to carry a second reserve parachute that has been inspected and packed by an FAA certified parachutist; many skydivers also use an altitude-sensitive automatic activation device (AAD) which activates the reserve parachute at a safe altitude if the skydiver somehow fails to activate the parachute himself. They also regularly carry both visual and audible altimeters to help maintain awareness of their altitude.

It should be emphasized that many of today’s active skydivers have jumped for decades without significant injury. Injuries, when they occur, are usually caused by inattention or improper action on the part of the skydiver. Some expect the parachute to snag and therefore not provide full deceleration. These are very rare. Others result from changes in the wind forcing hard landings, again very rare. In recent years, one of the most common sources of injury is the inexperienced or overconfident (wrong) use of perfectly good, high-performance parachutes to make crowd-pleasing landings. High-speed maneuvers performed very close to the ground can be exhilarating to perform and exciting to watch, but they usually increase the risk.

A parachute is carefully folded or packed to ensure it deploys reliably. In the United States and many developed countries, reserve parachutes are packed by “riggers” who must be trained and certified to exacting standards. Skydivers and sport skydivers are always trained to pack their own primary parachutes.

When a parachute fails to deploy, it is usually a “streamer”. In most streamers, the lines are twisted and the canopy doesn’t open wide enough to fill with air. Skydivers usually try to open a streamer by shaking lines. If this fails, they can rely on their reserve parachute also known as a “reserve chute”.

About one in every hundred primary parachute openings is a streamer. Reserve parachutes have a better ratio, at one in three hundred. Most skydivers believe they can pack their primary parachutes as carefully as a professional rigger. Thus, a typical jumper can expect both chutes to fail between once every 30,000 and once every 250,000 dives, depending on the care taken in packing the chutes. Most lifelong skydivers retire before reaching 10,000 jumps.

Obviously skydivers should never pack their parachutes or jump when in a hurry, sleepy, drunk or on drugs. With proper care, skydiving safety can be increased dramatically.
Some believe that the fundamental nature of skydiving indicates that it is inherently dangerous. On the other hand, statistics suggest that with proper care and attention (not to mention good training and a good attitude) the most likely outcome is hundreds of thousands of people doing millions of jumps and doing it again. new.
It’s worth noting that what is portrayed in commercial films, especially Hollywood action films, usually exaggerates the dangerous aspects of the sport. Often, the characters in these films are depicted performing physically impossible feats without the assistance of special effects. In other cases, their practices would force them to be grounded or shunned at any safety conscious drop zone or club.

In many countries, local regulations or the conscious prudence of the responsibility of drop zone owners require that skydivers must have reached the age of majority before engaging in the sport.

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