by Jan Meyer
Welcome to the first issue of SPORT PARACHUTIST'S SAFETY JOURNAL. SPSJ is dedicated to enhancing sport parachuting safety by disseminating information about equipment, environments and human factors. Safety is the most important aspect of intentional jumping. Parachuting can only survive by maintaining an excellent safety record. Growth depends upon improving our safety standards.
Historically, skydiving has been perceived as a "daredevil act" or "deathwish" sport by the general public. Jumpers can attest to the fact that the opposite is true. Most jumpers have excellent survival skills. However, skydiving is risk-taking. Risk taking consists of three stages: (1) a learning process, (2) a skill acquisition stage and (3) a challenge stage. During the learning process, a person accumulates information and "know how" about specific tasks, such as a skydive. The knowledge is used to mentally and physically rehearse the planned dive sequence. Additional knowledge is required to react to unplanned events that may occur. Skills are acquired and mastered by applying the "know how" to simulated or actual dives. A simulated scenario is created when a person is in a hanging harness, but actual skills are learned which should be used again if an actual dive presents a similar situation. Jumpers also simulate body movements for freefall maneuvers during dirt dives and then perform similar motions on a real jump. Challenge must always be present on a jump. Jumpers may press their ability to swoop faster, turn backshots faster or crank more and more points per dive. New jumpers may be challenged by simple maneuvers, for example, docking on a 3-way. Experienced jumpers may challenge themselves by instructing, team sequential work, large formations, competitions, organizing or developing new equipment. The list is endless. Challenges should let you personally experience something new and different. New and different experiences make skydiving challenging and a risk sport. Learning about risks and preparing for them is the purpose behind SPSJ. SPSJ is part of the first stage of risk taking in skydiving: Learning about the "know how".
SPSJ explains the how and why things work the way they do. Tips show how to see and avoid potentially dangerous scenarios. SPSJ shows you how to be a safe jumper. SPSJ illustrates how to learn and press your abilities without imposing additional danger on yourself or others. SPSJ informs readers of the hows and whys of the way things work.
Know thy gear. SPSJ adds Know thy gear when it works, when it doesn't work and how to fix the problem. The same type of rules apply to freefall skills. Know how to do a backshot. SPSJ adds Know when your backshot is too far away, too high, too low or is loading the formation and know how to fix the problem.
SPSJ publishes information about equipment, environments and human factors. Equipment articles explain how systems work and how they differ from each other. Tips are given on the care and maintenance of gear. Typical pitfalls are described so that readers may avoid making similar mistakes. Historical perspectives on equipment provide insight into the progress of parachute jumping. Environmental articles describe situations and plans for night, water, high altitude jumps and special weather conditions. Jumpers know there are many different attitudes towards fun, instructional, mega-mania, solo, RW, CRW and competition jumps. These different environments have varying influences on people. Human factor articles describe attitudes, jumper responsibility, mental preparation techniques and effects of drugs and alcohol on reaction ability.
SPSJ will compliment existing publications not compete with them. SPSJ believes that jumpers are not careless. We just bump into problems we may not see in advance. SPSJ gives people advanced notice. SPSJ is dedicated to enhancing sport parachuting safety by disseminating information about equipment, environments and human factors.
Originally published in Sport Parachutist's Safety Journal V1, #1 May/June 1988.
Dedicated to enhancing sport parachuting safety by disseminating information about equipment, environments and human factors.