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## Skydivers and Commercial Airliners: A Collision Risk Assessment

### Introduction

The sky is a vast and seemingly endless expanse, but it is not without its risks. One potential hazard is the collision of skydivers with commercial airliners. While such events are rare, they can have catastrophic consequences. This article will examine the risk of skydiver-airliner collisions, the factors that contribute to it, and the measures that are in place to mitigate it.

### The Risk of Collision

The risk of a skydiver colliding with a commercial airliner is extremely low. In the United States, there have been only two fatal skydiver-airliner collisions in the past 50 years. However, even a single collision can have devastating consequences, as was the case in 1996 when a skydiver collided with a Learjet over Long Island, New York, killing all 11 people on board.

The risk of collision is highest at low altitudes, where skydivers are most likely to be descending. Airliners typically fly at much higher altitudes, but they can descend to low altitudes during takeoff and landing. Additionally, skydivers may inadvertently drift into an airliner’s flight path due to wind or other factors.

### Contributing Factors

Several factors can contribute to the risk of skydiver-airliner collisions, including:

Weather conditions: Poor visibility, strong winds, and turbulence can make it difficult for skydivers and pilots to see each other.
Altitude: The risk of collision is highest at low altitudes, where skydivers are most likely to be descending and airliners are most likely to be taking off or landing.
Traffic density: The more air traffic in an area, the higher the risk of collision.
Human error: Both skydivers and pilots are human, and they can make mistakes that could lead to a collision.

### Mitigating the Risk

Several measures are in place to mitigate the risk of skydiver-airliner collisions, including:

Communication: Skydivers and pilots are required to communicate with each other via radio to avoid conflicts.
Visual cues: Skydivers wear brightly colored jumpsuits and use pyrotechnics to make themselves visible to pilots. Airliners are also equipped with lighting systems to make them more visible to other aircraft.
Separation: Air traffic controllers are responsible for separating aircraft in flight to avoid conflicts. They use radar and other technology to ensure that aircraft maintain a safe distance from each other.
Training: Skydivers and pilots are required to receive training on how to avoid collisions. This training includes instruction on how to communicate with each other, how to identify potential hazards, and how to respond to emergencies.

### Conclusion

The risk of skydiver-airliner collisions is extremely low, but it is not zero. Several factors can contribute to the risk, including weather conditions, altitude, traffic density, and human error. However, several measures are in place to mitigate the risk, including communication, visual cues, separation, and training. These measures help to ensure that skydivers and commercial airliners can safely share the airspace.

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