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An early Safety Day story by Kate Cooper-Jensen

Author Kate Cooper-Jensen and her eagle eyes at Power Play, Skydive Perris
Image by George Katsoulis

“I received a message via Facebook in my “other” folder…

The message simply read: “15-ish years ago you caught my chest strap undone on the way up. Thx.”

Why am I posting this?

Because over the years I have caught dozens of mis-routed chest straps, 3-ring set-ups, RSLs and a few opened (or partially opened) main and reserve containers.. Usually (not always!) the person was thankful and the situation was quickly remedied.

Trying to do up a chest strap in free fall

One of the scariest jumps of my life

On one terrifying skydive a team-mate exited the plane with a mis-routed chest strap which was one of the scariest jumps of my life – watching while they threaded their chest strap in freefall before an uneventful deployment. This story was written up in Parachutist and I had many jumpers, some VERY experienced, tell me after reading the story that they had seen the same or had it happen to themselves.

I’m not a better gear inspector than you. Obviously I’ve missed gear problems I should have caught. But I’ve caught some, and that’s what counts.

Look at everyone’s gear on the ride to altitude, you could save a life
Image from Power Play by Terry Weatherford

ALWAYS look out

You can do this as well. ALWAYS look out for others, and more importantly – look out for YOURSELF! Each of these many instances could have been self-caught by gear checks before putting on gear, before getting on the airplane, and before exiting.

Be YOUR keeper and keep an eye out for your sisters and brothers and let’s keep skydiving SAFELY!

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Meet: Kate Cooper-Jensen

Kate Cooper-Jensen started skydiving in 1978 and quickly became a prominent figure in the sport. Kate founded P3 Skydiving, together with Tony Domenico, the first big-way skydiving school, and has helped countless people achieve their big-way and record dreams.
Kate has been a participant and many times an organiser in over 30 World and National Records.

Organizer of numerous women's world records including 118-way (1999), 132-way (2002), 151-way (2005), 181-way (2009). Sequential women's world and open world record 117-way (2014), Sequential women's European and World Records 2-and 3-point 46-way, (2016); 2- and 3-point 56-way, 2016 and 3 x 60-way (2018).

Raised 1.9 million for breast cancer charities. Recipient of the USPA gold medal for meritorious achievement (2015). Inducted into Skydiving Hall of Fame (2019).

Kate is sponsored by Skydive Perris, Aerodyne, Kiss, L&B altimeters and Vigil.

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