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STOP Turning!

no left turn

The last three months has regrettably seen at least two fatal canopy collisions. These deaths were preventable.

In January 2014, two skydivers who had been doing a 3-way together tracked away and opened safely, yet collided under their main canopies between 1200 and 1500 feet. One was killed (probably by the collision), the other cut away and survived, his RSL opening the reserve.
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In December 2013, two jumpers who were on opposite sides of a 200-way tracked away from each other, yet still had a fatal collision on their approach to landing.
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Turns that are not needed to steer to the landing area and avoid traffic are all risk and no benefit

Minimize turns

There is one very important lesson to take away from this, one that I have been preaching for years without much success. The most dangerous thing you can do in skydiving is turn your canopy. Never assume you see all the traffic. Minimize your turns to the absolute fewest and smallest you can. Persuade everyone you jump with to do the same. If you want to really work your canopy, get out on a solo or pull high (when appropriate) to be sure you are all alone.

Fly the pattern&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;by <a href='https://skydivemag.smallteaser.com/user/georgekat' class='captionLink'>George Katsoulis</a>
Fly the pattern — by George Katsoulis
Head on a swivel does not work – we are not owls, our shoulders are locked in place by the rig and we have huge blind spots

Blind Spots

Head on a swivel does not work. We are not owls, our shoulders are locked in place by the rig and we have huge blind spots below and behind us. Any turn over 90 will put you into your blind spot, going fast. We also have huge blind spots above and behind us, where the danger may be coming from.

The only way to minimize collision risks is to minimize turns. The standard of excellence in skydiving should be how little control input you use from deployment to landing. In the big picture, our culture of making unnecessary turns is even more of a problem than aggressive downsizing.

Discussion for Safety Day?

Please give some thought to having a discussion about the issue of unnecessary turns under canopy at your DZ. It might be a good Safety Day topic. Turns that are not needed to steer to the landing area and avoid traffic are all risk and no benefit. If you want to do them for fun, you can enjoy them on a solo jump safely.

If there are others in the sky… stop turning!

by Willy Boeykens
by Willy Boeykens

Comments (3)

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Dave

Not enough characters sry It would mean more work for someone writing itup and the same for drop zones & flyers alike sticking to it and making sure it happens, but it would stop a blanket ban on flying yr canopy for fun and just as a means to get to the ground I would also like to add I have massive admiration for any body that has to deal with the aftermath of any accident wether serious injury or fatality was the outcome, these things jeopardise businesses, lively hoods not to mention the effects of the family and friends of those involved, I hope I don't get jumped on by all the Nahsayers but I do have personal experience in H&S and the aftermath of serious accidents Im just saying there must be another way to be as safe as possible

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Dave

Surely the answer here is communication between skydivers, we all should know who is doing what when we exit the aircraft so the JM can sort out an exit order, why not add on to this who is doing what under canopy? I know this has limits to the size of the loads before I get jumped on by the nah sayers, 200 people in the sky under canopy is high risk enough, so understand the point of minimal input to get to the ground safely, But what if you are 1 of 5 in a Cessna, and 2 are a tandem 1 camera man and 2 fun jumpers? Should I really not be aloud to have fun flying my wing and do the minimal input thing? Put it in the SOP's that when a load gets to a certain size an account of what everyone is doing under canopy is verbally taken.

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Dan Brodsky-Chenfeld

This is a must read for every skydiver from 1 to 50,000 jumps. It's simple, it's easy and it very well may save your life and the lives of our friends. Thanks Brian. Keep up the good work!

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