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Reputable manufacturers will require that you either have a minimum of 200 skydives, or some communication with your FJC instructor or BASE mentor establishing that there is BASE training in your near future. If you’re in the early stages of your skydive career (say less than 100 jumps) and you are super focused on BASE jumping, my first advice would be to take it easy – you have your entire life to kill yourself BASE jumping so don’t be in a hurry. But that often falls on deaf ears, so if your eyes glazed over just now and you started skimming, here’s what you should know…
you have your entire life to kill yourself BASE jumping so don’t be in a hurry.
Becoming familiar with your BASE gear is a big step in your BASE progression, the importance of which is commonly underestimated by new BASE jumpers. If you are the type of person who can’t handle owning a gun because the temptation to point it at yourself is too great, then you’re probably not the type of person who should own BASE gear before you get some training. But generally speaking, it’s a good idea to get your gear ahead of your BASE course and learn how to assemble, pack, and configure it for different applications.
Because most BASE courses take place only in the BASE environment, and because many BASE jumpers don’t skydive their BASE canopies, there is a minor epidemic of bad canopy piloting in the BASE world. Believe it or not, some BASE instructors are below-average canopy pilots. There are even quite a few jumpers who are competent canopy pilots in the skydive environment, who perform poorly in BASE because they are not familiar with the full control range of their BASE canopy. You cannot learn as much about your canopy from a 500’ bridge as you can from a 4,000’ hop-and-pop. Canopy skills can and will save your life and limbs, in BASE.
Canopy skills can and will save your life and limbs, in BASE
When we take into consideration all of the points above, it leads to this conclusion: Get to know your BASE canopy in the skydive environment before you BASE jump it. You will reduce the chances of injuring yourself and you will get more out of your first BASE jumps if you are able to land your BASE canopy accurately, use its full control range with confidence, and execute heading corrections quickly and effectively.
Get to know your BASE canopy in the skydive environment before you BASE jump it
A 7-cell low aspect ratio BASE canopy typically has a control range that is longer, and a stall speed that is slower, than the skydiving main you will begin with. Also, there are many control techniques which you need to learn for BASE jumping that are not commonly practiced in skydiving. While skydiving your BASE canopy, you can:
Rent or borrow a skydiving container that has a main compartment large enough for your BASE canopy. If you choose a lightweight BASE parachute, then you will have a better chance of it fitting into the container you’re using already (a lightweight 250 will fit into many main compartments designed for a 9-cell ZP design). If it doesn’t fit into your own container, negotiate a good container rental rate from your local shop or rigger.
Get assistance with rigging your BASE canopy to your skydive container system. It’s not complicated, but you must:
Get some advice from instructors who are experienced with BASE and Skydiving, so you: