If you find exciting the new idea you and your friends shared late one afternoon of getting together over the following weekend to try parachuting, the hobby of jumping off a moving training airplane while wearing a parachute, you better read the following tips, as your and your friends’ safety literally depend on pulling the right type of cord at the right time.
Begin by researching the facilities at your area that offer these kind of extreme sports adventures and then speak -in person- with the trainer who has to be an experienced and professional skydiver.
You should be able to tour the facilities, ask for other people’s reviews, request their authorization and certification documents, and generally learn through observation before putting your money, your time and your life at the hands of someone not adequately trained to lead you back to safety once you jump off a moving airplane.
Second, you have to inspect the gear you will be wearing and using. By gear here we mean the garment you should be dressed with, and most importantly, the parachute your life will depend on. In order for a parachute to be of good quality and ready-to-use, it had to be carefully folded, or “packed” to ensure that it will open reliably.
In the U.S. and many developed countries, emergency and reserve parachutes are packed by “riggers” who must be trained and certified according to legal standards. Paratroops and sport skydivers are always trained to pack their own primary “main” parachutes.
Thus, inspect the company’s parachutes and make sure you check their materials for any problems or malfunctions. In fact, parachutes can malfunction in several ways. Malfunctions can range from minor problems that can be corrected in-flight and still land safely, to catastrophic malfunctions that will require the unlucky fellow to cut away the main parachute using a modern 3-ring release system and the reserve parachute to be deployed.
Most skydivers are also equipped with small barometric computers known as an Automatic Activation Device (AAD) that will automatically deploy the reserve parachute in case of emergency. Specifically, if a skydiver does not deploy the main parachute to reduce his rate of descent by a preset altitude, the AAD device “reads” the malfunction and automatically releases the reserve parachute.
If you are concerned whether or not this will happen when you are going to be out there, statistical reports estimate that approximately one in a thousand main parachutes experience some kind of opening malfunction and must be cut away; although some skydivers have on their records many thousands of jumps and never had to cut away their parachute.
But, most accidents and fatalities in skydiving occur under a fully functional main parachute and are due to turbulence or inexperience. Thus, ask, listen, and essentially learn as much as you can from your skydiving trainer before taking off and ultimately jumping off the plane.