GoPro: Realization of a Snag Hazard

When it comes to skydivers wanting to slap a small format camera (GoPro) onto their body there are two statements that I hear far too often, either of which could have resulted in this incident being an injury or fatality.

But it will just break off
I’ll just forget it’s there

Do you jump a GoPro? Have you ever said one of these lines? I invite you to pause for a moment and watch this video.

This is an excellent learning aid on many fronts. I want to highlight and reinforce what this video can teach us about two very important realities of small format cameras in skydiving. (these are not the only lessons to learn from this video, just two that I want to point out)

1) The GoPro mount did not break.

Let that sink in for a minute.

Gear Check: Slider Grommet Damage

If you have an Aerodyne canopy I urge you to be on the look out for this possible slider grommet damage.

This was discovered on my slider by inspection after I noticed a new small hole had developed in my slider after a jump. Looking closely at how the hole lined up nicely with a grommet at first I shook it off as material just getting stuck during deployment. Upon asking my rigger to take a closer look for good measure he looked at the plastic ring under the grommet and found it was not only cracked but easily pulled away from the grommet leaving a nice channel for a line or lines to get caught.

Needless to say I took my canopy out of service until getting the slider replaced.

Grommet Damage 01
Grommet Damage 02
Grommet Damage 03
New Slider

The first picture shows what the cracks look like. With no pressure at all I was able to lift the plastic away from the grommet. The third picture with the line placed in the space shows how much room there is for potential bad juju. This did not happen, but easily could. The final image is the new slider and how that plastic ring should look, no gaps all the way around.

Please inspect your slider grommets for damage regularly, if you notice this damage consider it not airworthy and get it replaced!

Canopy Courses, Sign up!

It’s on everybody’s mind, or it should be…. canopy canopy canopy. With all the talk that has been happening around canopy collisions now is the perfect time to seek out a canopy course at your local dropzone and sign up!

Equip yourself with as much knowledge as you can to make your entire skydive and everyone else’s skydive a successful, safe, fun skydive. Dropzones are offering Canopy Courses and I highly recommend attending them. They aren’t just for new jumpers fresh off AFF. You can learn a lot about that wing over your head. You might be able to overcome some of your fears about canopy flight. You may be able to finally dial in your accuracy and land exactly where you want to (invaluable for off field landings).

Here is a list of some canopy courses in the northeast, I encourage everyone to take advantage of these great resources!

USPA Action Call

Please take the time to read and process this information, it could save a life or two one day.

Source: USPA Action Call


Since late February, there have been five fatalities (and one critical injury) that were canopy-collision related. Every skydiver is asking the same questions: “How is this happening, and why?” It appears that skill level and proficiency are not indicators. One accident involved two jumpers with about 23 jumps each who were the only two jumpers under canopy at the time. Another accident involved a jumper with 17,000 jumps and another with 8,000 jumps, both very proficient and with very little other traffic around them.

It is time that we all accept the responsibility of ending the canopy-collision threat.

We are asking all skydivers to join in this CALL TO ACTION. Individual jumpers must follow the guidelines in the Skydiver’s Information Manual that have proven to keep our skies safer when they are applied correctly. Additionally, we are asking that all S&TAs observe and correct poor habits at their DZs. We are asking that DZOs become more involved in canopy safety by establishing canopy flight rules, and safe landing patterns and landing areas. This type of accident MUST STOP, and we all can be a part of making that happen.

Jay Stokes, USPA President

2011 Safety Day

In the northeast the snow is melting, the birds are chirping, the skies are clearing, that must mean skydiving season is around the corner! What better way to kick it off than to attend Safety Day. The majority of cold climate skydivers hibernate for the winter and have not stepping into those legs straps and threaded their chest strap in a few months.

Have you seen the changes in this years SIM & IRM? For that matter when was the last time you peeled the cover back and really read the SIM, not just thumb through it 😉

Seriously though, this is a great time for some review to help get back into the swing of things. There is a wealth of information available on the USPA site regarding Safety Day.

The SIM is available online, and a document highlighting all the new changes.

UPDATE: PD has make a great post on canopy inspection, well worth the time to watch the video!

Let’s try and make this year even safer than last year!