After initially losing track of your altitude during a belly-to-earth solo skydive, you check your altimeter and see that you are passing through 1,600 feet. Your rig is equipped with a modern, electronic automatic activation device. You decide to:

Immediately deploy the main canopy.
Immediately pull the cutaway handle, then the reserve ripcord.
Immediately pull the reserve ripcord.


*Incorrect* It takes you two seconds to reach and throw your pilot chute, so your main deployment is now really just starting at 1,250 feet. As soon as the main canopy begins to inflate, your body transitions to a vertical position, and the pressure changes across your container. This causes the AAD to activate and cut your reserve loop as you pass through 1,000 feet. You are now at 700 feet as the main fully inflates, and your reserve inflates just afterward. Your main and reserve settle into a biplane configuration, with the main canopy in front. You release the brakes of the main canopy and gently steer to a clear area. Lucky for you, the two canopies did not entangle. This was not the correct response to the initial issue of passing through 1,600 feet in freefall.
*Correct* It takes you two seconds to pull the cutaway handle and another two seconds to locate and pull the reserve ripcord handle. Your reserve deployment is now starting at 900 feet. Your AAD activates and fires the cutter, but the reserve is already beginning to deploy. You are now under a fully inflated reserve at approximately 500 feet above the ground. Because you didn't initiate the main deployment, the main container remains closed after the cutaway and reserve deployment. Luckily you are over a clear area, and you are able to land the reserve canopy uneventfully. The Skydiver's Information Manual lists pulling the cutaway handle followed by the reserve ripcord as one of the two acceptable responses to a total malfunction.
*Correct* It takes you two seconds to locate and pull the reserve ripcord, which begins your reserve deployment at 1,250 feet. You are under a fully inflated reserve at 900 feet. Because you practiced emergency procedures and were prepared to go straight to the reserve in the case of a total malfunction, it saved you precious seconds and allowed for a higher reserve deployment than those who chose to cutaway first. However, any delay in a decision of whether or not to go straight to the reserve can lead to a lower deployment altitude. You land uneventfully in a clear area. The Skydiver's Information Manual lists pulling the reserve ripcord without first cutting away as one of the two acceptable responses to a total malfunction.

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After an uneventful 4-way freefly skydive, you deploy your main canopy, which fully inflates by 3,000 feet. The main landing area is far away in the downwind direction. As you descend through 2,000 feet, you are confident you can make it to the near edge of the drop zone landing area. Between you and the airport lies nothing but 60-foot trees, and there is one large field to your left, located half the distance between you and the drop zone landing area. You decide to:

Continue flying toward the drop zone.
Turn left and head toward the alternate field.


*Incorrect* It initially appears as though you will make it to the edge of the drop zone landing area. But as you descend below 2,000 feet, the winds begin to drop off, and your ground speed slows. You come up short of the landing area and descend into the trees. Your canopy snags on a few tall branches, and you end up stuck in a tree 40 feet off the ground. Luckily you receive only minor cuts and bruises from the tree landing, but for the rest of your skydiving days, you are stuck with the nickname *tree.*
*Correct* Because the alternate area is much closer, you easily make it to the alternate landing area, even though you’re flying crosswind. You have enough altitude to scan the area for obstacles and fly a landing pattern to face into the wind for your final approach and landing. You land safely and catch a ride back to the DZ.

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You initiate a 90-degree left toggle turn onto your final approach into a clear area. As you do so, you realize you began the turn too low and the ground is coming up quickly. You are already halfway through the 90-degree left turn with your left toggle pulled down to chest level. You decide to:

Add more left toggle to finish the turn sooner.
Let the left toggle up to full flight, allowing the canopy to return to level flight before starting to pull both toggles down to full arm extension to flare for landing.
Pull the right toggle down to match the left side and then continue to pull both toggles to flare harder.
Let the left toggle up to full flight, then pull the right toggle down to chest level, then flare with both toggles to the belly.


*Incorrect* The more aggressive input causes you to rapidly lose altitude and increases your forward speed. You strike the ground while still in the diving turn. The end result is a broken femur and pelvis and internal injuries. Whether you survive the accident largely depends on your location. If you make it to a hospital in time, you have a good chance of surviving. If you are too far from a critical care facility, your internal injuries may prove fatal.
*Incorrect* Although you’ve stopped the turn, you strike the ground before the flare can provide any lift to slow the descent rate. The hard landing results in a left broken ankle and tibia-fibula. Your injuries are not life-threatening, and you will recover enough to continue skydiving in the future.
*Correct* Matching the left toggle with right-side input immediately stops the turn and begins to generate lift, saving precious altitude as you then flare both toggles farther to generate even more lift. By immediately flaring and leveling the canopy at the same time, you manage to pull off an injury-free landing. Hopefully you learn from your misjudged turn and seek out some professional canopy coaching to help you improve your canopy skills.
*Incorrect* The opposing right input creates a large, swinging sashay movement that simply causes you to lose altitude more rapidly and increases your forward speed. Just as you flare the canopy, you strike the ground in a steep, diving descent. The hard landing results in two broken femurs and crushed vertebrae in your lower back. You are lucky to survive the landing. After a year of recovery, you are able to walk again, but your skydiving days ended with this landing.

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Following a 4-way skydive, you deploy your main canopy, which opens perfectly and fully inflates by 3,000 feet. Immediately after full inflation, another jumper under canopy comes out of nowhere. His body passes through your suspension lines, wrapping you up in his canopy and lines, as he now hangs below you. Your altimeter reads 2,800 feet, and you can communicate with the other jumper. The two of you are orbiting slightly, but your own main canopy is still fully inflated. You decide to:

Pull your cutaway handle before the other jumper.
Tell the other jumper to cut away his canopy while you stay attached to your main canopy.
Count together and both pull your cutaway handles at the same time.


*Incorrect* Your main canopy was the only inflated canopy. By pulling your own cutaway handle, you have now dropped away from your inflated main, and you are completely cocooned in the other jumper’s canopy. As you struggle to clear the canopy and lines off your body, the other jumper pulls his cutaway handle at 1,800 feet and deploys his reserve. You continue to try to clear the main canopy and lines off of your body, but remain hopelessly wrapped up until impact. You do not survive the landing.
*Correct* The other jumper pulls his cutaway handle and releases his main canopy. He falls to a lower altitude, deploys his reserve canopy and lands uneventfully. The tension is now off the canopy and suspension lines that are wrapped around your head and neck. You are able to free yourself from the main canopy and land uneventfully under your own main canopy.
*Incorrect*The other jumper falls away from his canopy and deploys his own reserve at a lower altitude. You fall away from your own main canopy, which was inflated and flying stable. You are now tightly wrapped in the other jumper’s main canopy and suspension lines. You are unable to clear the canopy and lines from your body before you impact the ground without an inflated canopy.

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After deploying your main canopy at 2,500 feet, your reserve is accidentally deployed when your hand accidentally snags your reserve ripcord handle. The reserve inflates, and the main and reserve canopies are now flying in a biplane configuration with the main in front. You choose to:

Pull the cutaway handle and release the main canopy.
Attempt to land while descending under both parachutes.


*Incorrect* Because the main canopy is in front of the reserve, the main risers snag the reserve slider after you pull the cutaway handle. The main canopy slowly pulls the reserve slider higher and higher, eventually choking off the reserve canopy until it’s barely inflated. The main canopy is also not fully inflated. You land hard under the mostly deflated canopies and do not survive the impact.
*Correct* Biplane configurations are generally stable, and the main and reserve canopies tend to remain together in a biplane. You steer the canopies using the main canopy steering lines with gentle input and land the two canopies uneventfully.

In early spring, the skydiving season for much of the country is just crawling out of hibernation. Most skydivers don’t jump through the cold months as often as they do in the summer, and their skills are a bit rusty. That’s when Safety Day comes. Established in 1997 from an idea by Patti Chernis, Safety Day provides a worldwide forum at local drop zones to prepare jumpers for the year ahead. Safety Day promotes safety programs and helps inform jumpers of new developments and review important information and procedures. Activities typically include hands-on review and practice of safety procedures, seminars from skydiving operation professionals and experts, equipment evaluations and more. Most days end with a social get together. USPA encourages all jumpers of all experience levels to attend.

AerOhio Skydiving Center
Alimarche Fano, Italy (03/26)
Alliance Sport Parachute Club / Skydive Rick's (03/20)
Asociación de Paracaidismo de Guatemala (ASOPARAC) (02/13)
Canton Air Sports
Chicagoland Skydiving Center
Cleveland Skydiving Center (03/05)
Connecticut Parachutists, Inc
Crete Skydiving Center
Des Moines Skydivers
Florida Skydiving Center
Fly Free Skydiving
Freefall Adventures, Inc
Green Mountain Skydiving
Illinois Skydiving Center
Jerry's Skydiving Circus
Jump TN
Jumptown
Kapowsin Air Sports
Lincoln Sport Parachute Club
Lone Star Parachute Center, LLC
Madera Parachute Center
Mile-Hi Skydiving (04/16)
Naval Postgraduate School Foundation Skydiving Club (at Skydive Monterey Bay)
North Florida Skydiving
Ohio Skydiving Center
Oklahoma Skydiving Center
Olimpic Skydive, Poland (03/05)
Padobranski Sportski Klub Slobodan Pad, Croatia
Pepperell Skydiving Center
Red Rock Skydiving (03/05)
Rochester Skydivers (03/20)
Saratoga Skydiving (04/16)
Seven Hills Skydivers
Sky Company Clube e Escola de Paraquedismo, Brazil (03/26)
Sky Down Skydiving
Skydive Airtight
Skydive Alabama
Skydive Arizona
Skydive Awesome!
Skydive California
Skydive Carolina (03/05)
Skydive Central North Carolina
Skydive Chicago (03/18)
Skydive Costa Rica
Skydive Cuautla, Mexico (03/05)
Skydive East Tennessee
Skydive Elsinore
Skydive Fargo (03/05)
Skydive Gananoque, Canada (03/20)
Skydive Georgia
Skydive Idaho (04/16)
Skydive Kansas (03/05)
Skydive Lucca, Italy (03/19)
Skydive Midwest (04/01)
Skydive Milwaukee
Skydive New England (04/09)
Skydive New Mexico
Skydive Orange
Skydive Oregon
Skydive Palatka
Skydive Paraclete XP
Skydive Pennsylvania
Skydive San Diego
Skydive Sardegna (03/05)
Skydive Skyranch (03/19)
Skydive Snohomish
Skydive Sofia, Bulgaria (03/19)
Skydive Spa, Belgium (02/27)
Skydive Spaceland-Atlanta
Skydive Spaceland-Clewiston
Skydive Spaceland-Houston
Skydive Suffolk
Skydive Taft
Skydive Temple
Skydive The Ranch (03/26)
Skydive The Wasatch (04/16)
Skydive Transilvania, Romania
Skydive Utah (02/27)
Skydive Windy City Chicago (04/10)
Skydive Wissota
Sky's the Limit Skydiving Center (03/19)
Start Skydiving (03/05)
SW Florida Skydive Club (03/13)
Swakopmund Skydiving Club (04/02)
The Jumping Place
Timisoara Parachute Club (03/27)
TNT Brothers, Romania (03/27)
Virginia Skydiving Center
West Plains Skydiving
West Virginia Skydivers (04/02)
WNYSkydiving
Wisconsin Skydiving Center
World Skydiving Center (03/11)

Safety Day is typically held on the second Saturday in March; however, some drop zones hold it on alternate dates. USPA designated Saturday, March 12, 2016, as the 2016 Safety Day.
Every drop zone should host Safety Day. The below DZs have notified USPA that they will be hosting Safety Day. If you don’t see your drop zone listed, contact the DZO or S&TA to express your interest and see what they have planned.
  1. Announce to your jumpers that your DZ is hosting a Safety Day.
    You may want to offer incentives to boost attendance. Many DZs offer free or discounted jump tickets, free food, discounted reserve pack jobs, door prizes, or any combination. And plan a party for afterward.

  2. Select a suitable location.
    Think comfort. If the hangar won't be warm or large enough, consider a restaurant, school gym, motel, or veteran's lodge. Anticipate a good turnout and be sure you have room for lectures, training-harness drills, and rig inspections.

  3. Put a training syllabus and staff together.
    Feel free to use the training ideas included here, which involve the four modules or stations below, with just some ideas on content.
    Gear Check and Review— Have jumpers inspect their rigs with a rigger. Check closing loops and flaps, pilot chute snugness and condition, velcro, three-ring condition, RSL routing, AAD compliance with battery and factory check, etc.
    Skydiving Emergency Review and Drills— Review all types of problems, reinforce altitude awareness, discuss disorientation, practice in a suspended harness.
    Canopy Flight and Landing Patterns—Use aerial photos to show acceptable and unacceptable outs, review hazards, establish or review landing patterns, and discuss canopy handling toward preventing low-turn accidents.
    Aircraft Procedures and Emergencies—Review exit order and loading procedures, seat belt and weight and balance concerns, spotting procedures, visibility minimums and cloud clearances, air traffic control requirements, and aircraft emergency scenarios.

  4. Don't forget the PR.
    Give recognition to those who turn out and those who teach. Remember that many local news organizations may want to provide news coverage. And consider that the skydivers who don't participate may need more of your staff's attention when the season kicks in.

  5. The Ches Judy Award | Selections Due by February 20.
    Do you know a jumper who always looks out for others or whose efforts make your drop zone a safer place? Safety Day is the perfect time to give that deserving someone recognition for a job well done. Remind your S&TA or drop zone owner to select a recipient for the Chesley H. Judy Safety Award. The award should be presented to someone who, in the previous year through example, deed, training or innovation, has promoted safe skydiving in a substantive way. To receive a free, frameable certificate to present to your DZ’s Ches Judy Award winner, Safety & Training Advisors or drop zone operators should send the full name of the recipient, the drop zone location and the presenter’s mailing address to safety@uspa.org no later than February 20.

  6. Reporting on Safety Day
    A list of all participating drop zones, photos of the various Ches Judy award recipients, a report on any new or innovative ideas and a selection of the day’s best snapshots will appear in the May issue of Parachutist. Drop zones must submit reports and photos by March 21 to be considered for print publication. Submissions should be made via the form that will be available on this page after March 1. The Ches Judy recipient photo should be a headshot or a crop-able photo in which the recipient is prominent.

Like skydiving, Safety Day is also about fun. It certainly won't be hard to encourage jumpers to get together at the end of the day's activities for some mid-winter socializing. Make sure to include that in your Safety Day plan, too!


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Reports must be received by Monday, March 21 to guarantee inclusion in Parachutist.
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Chesley H. Judy Award

Copyright 2017 by United States Parachute Association