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Cameras, cameras and more cameras. They are everywhere we look; inside the aircraft, in freefall, they surround us, and the future is more and more use of what seem like harmless devices.
In reality, they are trying to kill us…
The sky is a vast amount of space but when you put a camera on your head it suddenly becomes very small and tunnel visioned
Simple safety steps are being overlooked; incidents of skydivers losing height awareness, collisions and forgetting basic gear checks are increasing at an alarming rate. Two recent skydiving fatalities are attributable partly or wholly to the added factor of wearing a camera. An alarming number of entanglements of PCs, bridles or risers with camera equipment, large and small, have been reported. My own recent example is here.
200 jumps seems to be the universal number where we are allowed to slap a camera on our helmet and join the social media exhibition – but you have to ask yourself: 'Am I truly ready for the risks at 200 jumps?' Everyone is made different, some people adapt quickly and others take a little more time.
Nowadays we have access to vast amounts of knowledge. Our local drop zones are staffed with excellent instructors who lived through the era of test and error. Our generation is blessed in safety and we now need to take action to educate ourselves in the best possible way.
Experienced cameraflyers, I am asking for all of you to step up the game. The lack of appropriate camera briefings is frightening.
I have constructed a Camera Manual to help as a training aid (link to download it: Camera Manual). The USPA also has a camera manual, on page 140 of USPA's Skydiver Information Manual (SIM). I encourage more flyers to share their knowledge about safety to give our industry a better fighting chance.
Is an AAD-activated reserve under 1,000 feet really worth the shot?
I have designed 5 safety posters (two in this article), which you can download for your dropzone here:
The second part of this article looks at what to cover in a Camera Briefing – here.