Skydive Designer

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New user-friendly App to design perfect skydive formations…

Drag and Drop individuals or 4-way groups onto the dive

When I first started using Skydive Designer, I felt like a fairy godmother had waved her magic wand!  At last my long-held wish was granted – an easy-to-use program to design professional formations.

As a big-way record organiser, I’ve used all sorts of methods to create formations, from the makeshift to the sophisticated. They all sucked.

Hurrah for Fairy Godfather Rob Jonson, long time big-way skydiver, who’s spent many a nerdy night coding to launch this masterpiece for his company, Hobbyist Software. Rob is also the Developer of the amazing Project 19 App, and he finished the SDC Rhythm 101 and 401 Apps.

  • App:  Skydive Designer
  • Suitable for:  Load organisers, coaches, record organisers, formation skydivers, geeks
  • Systems:  Apple Mac, iPad, iPhone
  • Available:  From the App store here
  • Cost: About $50 USD per year (App store varies by country)
  • In a nutshell:  Genius!

Getting started

Skydive Designer App is very friendly and intuitive so you can do what I did, just open it and start playing, it’s a fun voyage of discovery! A smarter approach is to watch the tutorials first as there are an abundance of super-handy features and some very powerful tricks.

Skydive Designer Whistlestop Tour


Create a skydive of any size to start. You can then drag and drop to add people, individually or in 4-way groups – star, diamond, donut, zipper, etc. Then move, rotate, colour the skydivers individually or as a group or subgroup to create your dive. It’s easy to add points, each new formation will begin with the existing formation, move them around as desired. You might have a second point in mind but if you don’t, this is a fun tool to play around and see what will work. Biomechanics are pretty accurate, so for example, you can tell if a 4-way line will close your desired gap or if you need more. You can change individual arm lengths to make the formations close and look tidy. A history section keeps track and gives endless Undos, and a Snap-to-angles feature keeps everything regular.

A feature I love is the animation between points, so once you have your multi-point skydive, you can play it on video, and watch the transitions. I found this especially brilliant to show my big-way camp the desired way for tracking teams to form and leave together.

Drag and drop numbers from your chosen planes to the skydivers for exit order


Exit order, with names or numbers is so easy – choose your aircraft from the menu and drag and drop numbers on your formation. You can add names and make manifests, the beauty of this is it’s so easy to swap people from plane to plane during the event for example, without that stress of making a new manifest.

It’s easy to slot people and make the aircraft manifests


Of course, you can export your dives, either as pdf single pages, or export the App file and send to someone else with the App, which could be useful in team scenarios, for the coach to send out the dives. The animation between points could be a useful learning tool, especially for 8-way.

The online publishing tool allows anyone to view the dives, manifest, slotting and animation

Publish Online

Skydive Designer has an integrated online publishing service that allows jumps to be uploaded to the web. This provides a web-based version of the jump which can be seen by anyone who has a phone or laptop with an internet connection. It can include slots and roster.

Again – jumpers can see animated transitions between points and can see the whole plan on their mobile or laptop. This means that while Windows and Android users can’t create jumps, they can easily view them. This should be a great way for bigway organisers to share jump designs with their teams. As an example, you can see the complete break 2-point 130-way (Skydive Perris), world record jump here. If you click the ‘Slots’ checkbox you’ll see the planes and slotting.

Milko joked (was it a joke??) that he plans to forget the dirtdive, just send people the next jump on WhatsApp, and get on the planes!

As a load organiser, this is one of the best things that has happened to formation skydiving in my entire career. I love it!”

Milko Hodgkinson
The new xRW angle in progress


The App works for formation skydiving, freefly and wingsuit. I can’t comment on FF and WS as I haven’t used these areas but we have people checking them out. 

Responding to reviewers’ suggestions, Rob has just added support for CRW and wingsuit stacks. This allows you to build your plan from the point of view of a camera following behind the formation. The updated version with this feature will be live imminently. Sweet!

The tunnel and skydivers are perfectly proportioned for fit


You can select to create your dive in a tunnel of various size options, and this encloses your guys within a circular ‘wall’ so you can see if your formation will fit.  It seemed bang on for 8-way in a 16-ft tunnel. I love it that Rob included the 32-ft tunnel as an option!

The symmetry feature copies your changes to the other quadrants


The most powerful feature of this program is the symmetry feature, which allows you to build one quadrant or area that is then automatically copied into the other quadrants/areas. You can select to mirror your input by 2, 3, etc, all the way up to 10. So if you have a 5-way base you select 5-way symmetry. This is a HUGE timesaver for building very large formations (100way plus), which takes literally hours to create everything from scratch. The finished diagram is neater, more professional and more accurate (it’s easy to make a mistake when repeating sections by hand). Simply brilliant!

Just look at how easily the (existing) total break world record was created to see what I mean….

Total break world record, designed and colour-coded in 4 minutes


A downside is that Skydive Designer is only available for Apple. Formations cannot be designed on Android or PC, so this sector (and it’s the majority of he population) cannot create, they can only view dives.

That said, Dieter liked it so much he bought an iPad! 

First point 130-way World Record, Skydive Perris, October 2019, the dive shown above and in other examples on this page – Photo by Gary Wainwright

Rob is a genius. This software is outstanding. I bought an iPad just to use Skydive Designer. It took me a very short time to design a 100-way Total Break 3-point sequential.  All my next dive plans will be done with it.”

Dieter Kirsch

For Love

Like most skydiving Apps, this was developed for love not profit; Rob primarily wrote the App for Milko. Which is one of the reasons it’s so perfect for the job, because Milko outlined his exact wishes for Rob to make them come true.

Who’s it for?

Who would find this App useful? I think this will become an indispensable tool for any large formation dive organiser (who has an iPad). The App takes hours of work off formation design, slotting, aircraft manifests etc, and makes it very easy to input changes. Boogie organisers, dive designers, DZ staff, weekend organisers and recreational jumpers will all find this useful.

Most anyone who likes planning skydives will enjoy playing with the program – because it is intuitive, ingenious and sparks up the imagination. Most of all, it’s fun! Genius sparks up genius. I am interested to see what the world’s dive planners will come up with now – this is much more than a tool to record a formation, it is a vehicle that will help organisers invent new creations.

Rob, you are a genius!!!  I would have liked so much to have this App 30 years ago. I started to play with it and it seems nothing is missing. You thought about all!!!”

Patrick Passe
128-way Sparkling Jewel, one of Patrick’s creations (would’ve been easier on Rob’s App!)
Image by Andrey Veselov

Symmetry Tutorial

How to harvest the power of the symmetry feature to its full potential…

Symmetry tutorial

Further Info

Skydive Designer App website

Skydive Designer at the App store here

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Meet: Lesley Gale

Lesley has been in love with skydiving for 35 years. She is a multiple world and national record holder and a coach on 20 successful record events worldwide. She has over 100 competition medals spanning more than 25 years and has been on the British 8-way National team at World events. She started Skydive Mag to spread knowledge, information and passion about our amazing sport.
Lesley is delighted to be sponsored by Performance Designs, Sun Path, Cypres, Cookie, Symbiosis suits and Larsen & Brusgaard

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