Dan BC explains his process to avoid colliding with another canopy…
Let’s talk Canopy COLLISIONS …
…As in how not to have one.
I was trying to count how many jumps I’ve made with a hundred or more skydivers. My rough estimate is 500. That’s a lot of “big-ways”. Only once did I have a canopy collision. But that wasn’t on a large formation. It was when I was jumping as an AFF evaluator out of a Cessna with one solo jumper I forgot was on the plane with us. Four canopies total in the entire sky and the solo jumper and I ran head on into each other at 1,500 feet. Didn’t even see him coming. The only reason we both walked away was pure luck.
At that time, I had several thousand jumps, was a Nationals Medalist, DZO, STA, AFFI, TI and fancied myself a pretty squared away skydiver who was always safety conscious and heads up. Head up my ass apparently. How many other close calls had I escaped and not even seen happen? It was at that moment I had a very important realization.
Despite what I previously thought, in reality I had regularly underestimated the potential risk of any given situation and overestimated my skill and readiness to deal with that risk. I figured if I was going to live skydiving, I’d better get it together and not make a mistake like that again.
When I break off from a skydive now, whether it’s a 2-way or a 200-way, I do the same thing every time:
- No matter how small a group I’m with, or how hard and fast I’m tracking, I expect other skydivers to be close to me on break-off and deployment and I’m looking everywhere for them.
- When I’m getting ready to deploy, I recognize who is the closest person to me.
- I expect that closest canopy and my canopy to turn right at each other after opening. Because that’s exactly what they do way too often.
- I’m on my back risers before the slider is even all the way down turning away from that closest canopy.
- Before looking down to see where I am I check all the airspace around me for other canopies.
- I set myself up in the pattern to minimize traffic and try to create both vertical and horizontal separation with others in the pattern. While still on my downwind leg I choose the lane I expect to be the least crowded where I plan to fly my final.
- The closer I get to the ground the more I’m watching for traffic, we are all converging into the same area. When I’m on downwind I look for people I’m converging with on a long base. When I’m on base I look for people I’m converging with who may be on a long final and people I may be converging with on the opposite base leg.
Just sharing. Thought it might be useful.
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- Let’s talk Canopy COLLISIONS - 18th May 2021
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