Why Can’t I Bring My GoPro Skydiving?
One of the most frequently asked questions we get from first time skydivers is: Why can’t I bring my personal GoPro skydiving? Let us ask you a question back, real quick: How many skydives have you done? If the number you give is less than 200, the answer will be no. That sounds crazy, doesn’t it? I mean: two hundred skydives? Why ?!
There are several really good reasons why, but the most foundational is that it’s an operational rule for any responsible skydiving dropzone. The United States Parachute Association , which has overseen our sport for the past 70 years, puts it in black-and-white: No skydiver with fewer than 200 skydives should jump with a camera . (Since you’re a skydiving tandem student, make no mistake: you’re a skydiver, too.) We all follow these rules, and if you’re frustrated by the 200-jump camera thing, think about the jumper who’s already done a hundred jumps and can’t yet bring a personal GoPro on a skydive.
Check out these masters of the art at WNY Skydiving – and what it looks like when you CAN take your GoPro skydiving after your 200 jumps!
Until then though, and in order to get the glorious footage of your tandem jump, you’re going to have to leave the cinematography in the capable hands of one of our professional GoPro skydiving videographers. And before you start stomping your feet, lean in and listen to the why .
GoPros are a bigger threat than their tiny size might imply
Your GoPro might seem totally innocent – and, in most situations on the ground, it certainly is. In the sky, however, it’s a liability-and-a-half. Cameras have been wreaking havoc in the sky since the birth of the sport, because they’ve been around in some form or another since the very beginning. They used to be bigger than the runty little sports cameras of today, but there’s much more to the story than solely the camera’s size and weight. Tiny things, after all, can make a very big difference.
Our GoPro skydiving videographers will be sure to capture every blissed-out smile of yours.
We want you to get hooked on free fall, not on your camera
You know that parachute fabric is suspended on what looks like a whole bunch of tiny ropes. We call these parachute lines. You can imagine what happens when, during the delicate and dynamic process of a parachute opening, someone gets a small device tangled in those lines. Suffice it to say, it is not pretty. Line snags caused by misplaced cameras are unnervingly common when the skydiver holding the camera doesn’t have sufficient skydiving experience to know precisely where the camera should and shouldn’t be. Sport skydivers use an arsenal of skydiving-specific camera mounts (and aaaall their training) to keep complicated parachuting equipment and cameras well separated.
Even the smallest GoPro camera can cause a huge malfunction if it snags up in the spaghetti mess that emerges from a skydiving container on opening. Even one snagged line can stop the parachute from being able to properly fly, which puts both you and your tandem instructor at severe risk.
Prioritize your experience right now !
You know what though? Even if you could bring a camera on a tandem skydive, you shouldn’t. Cameras are very distracting. Live in the moment – and relive it in your instructor’s video footage later!
According to all the data and experience we’ve collected as a sport, we’re absolutely certain that it’s safer, more satisfying and more fun to make a skydive when your focus is placed entirely on having the time of your life jumping out of a plane. The footage will be there for you when you land, because our talented videographers will make sure it is – and that they’ve captured your every excited, blissed-out smile.
Curious what a WNY Skydiving sample video looks like? Check out this gem, chronicling Gracie’s first tandem skydive:
Bonus: Your GoPro can be right there to greet you on the ground, in the capable hands of a friend or family member who’s ready to capture your triumphant landing. We can’t wait to “like” that video when it goes up!
Ready to book your first tandem jump and get that insane video? Check out our Things-To-Know-Guide for your first jump and GoPro skydiving video and image packages!
GoPro for Skydiving: Can I Bring my Own?
If you’re reading this, you may be squinting sideways at the fact that tandem students can’t bring their own GoPro skydiving. Your tiny little camera would be fine , you’re probably thinking. That not allowing them along is a rule we made up in order to net a little extra moolah from every tandem skydive.
Let’s stop there for a second.
It might interest you to know that the reason you’re not allowed to bring your own camera on a tandem skydive comes down to a rule. It’s set by the self-governing body for the sport of skydiving – the United States Parachute Association (USPA) – and says that the minimum number of jumps you’ll need in order to bring Mr. GoPro skydiving is a whopping (and probably surprising) two hundred .
The 200-jump limit, explained
On a tandem skydive, you’re not a passenger. You’re a student – with a responsible role. Because that’s the case, you’re required to follow the same rules all skydivers must observe.
The USPA uses exhaustively collected stats to develop their rules. Those stats speak loudly: malfunctions due to cameras are more common when the person holding the camera doesn’t have sufficient experience to know precisely where the camera should and shouldn’t be. Skydiving videographers — along with tandem instructors, when they’re the ones wielding the GoPro — use skydiving-specific mounts (and considerable knowledge) to keep all of it well clear of the equipment on which a safe skydive depends.
On a side note: If you’re frustrated by the 200-jump limit, consider the experienced skydiver who’s already jumped a hundred times and has to wait another hundred.
Tiny sports cameras can cause big problems
In many situations where sports cameras like GoPros are used, they’re an unobtrusive part of the furniture. On a skydive, however, even a small camera presents a surprisingly significant liability.
The most common malfunction cameras cause is the dreaded “line snag”. That’s when a foreign object gets in the way of a normal parachute deployment and causes a great big snafu. If you have to cut away a main parachute that’s stuck to you while the reserve parachute is deploying, you have a bad situation on your hands. Can you picture that? (Okay, you can stop.)
Cameras distract from safe skydiving
Something else to note: Cameras are very distracting . It’s not at all uncommon for a camera to get in the way of proper response to emergency situations. And that’s statistically a lot more likely when the jumper has performed fewer than 200 skydives.
In brief: A new jumper can’t safely handle both a camera and a tandem skydive at the same time. (Unconvinced? Just wait until you make that jump. The skydiving experience is a lot more everything than you imagine it will be.)
Leave your GoPro – keep the fun
All the data and experience we’ve collected as a sport points to the fact that it’s safer, more satisfying, and more enjoyable to do a tandem skydive when you’re 100% focused on having the time of your life.
So leave that GoPro at home – and d on’t worry: Your footage will be there for you to enjoy when you land!
Can I Bring A GoPro On My First Skydive?
It may not surprise you, given our proximity to the awesome film program at Syracuse University, that a whole lot of aspiring filmmakers arrive for a tandem at Skydive Finger Lakes with a sports camera strapped to some part of their body. The truth is that–while we’d love to see the footage from that duct-tape elbow-cam–we’re strictly not allowed to let any students jump with their own cameras. We’re not into enforcing the law without giving you the background, so here’s a thorough explanation why.
1. Cameras Have A (Well-earned) Checkered Past In Our Sport.
Enterprising artists have wanted to capture their jumps on film since the very first time someone deployed a parachute. In fact, the very first cameras used in the context of skydiving were gun cameras from World War II, chopped from the fronts of fighter planes and carried in freefall by the very, very brave (and kinda crazy) jumpers who pioneered the art. These cameras were heavy. They ate film like regular little monsters. They interfered with the jump in pretty much every way possible. They were the original hazard by which the standards of all other hazards are judged.
Luckily, because cameras have gotten so small and so light, the worst of it is over. Today, your normal sport skydiver doesn’t have to worry about his/her camera being heavy enough to snap his/her neck. (That used to be a very much a Thing.) That said: even the teeny, featherweight footage-snatchers of today are demonstrably hazardous. Size definitely matters, but that’s not the only thing that counts against ’em.
2. Our Governance Has Made Careful Rulings About Camera Use By Everyone In The Sky.
Keeping tandem students from recording their own skydive may seem like a sneaky way to net a little extra profit from every jump, but that is not why we enforce the ban. We didn’t make this up! It’s on the books of the United States Parachute Association, who created the rule with a firm eye on your safety. Since the earliest years of the sport, the USPA has made careful note of how cameras affect skydiving–and what they found, they felt the need to make rules about.
3. They Can Get In The Way Of Your Parachute.
Modern, square parachutes are built to fly efficiently. In the old days, if a camera got wrapped up in some lines, it would cause a problem, sure–but the parachute wasn’t flying like an airfoil; it was flying like a bedsheet. Now, we need to worry about what happens when even the smallest camera snags even a single one of the parachute’s lines. A single snagged line can prevent the parachute from being able to properly open and fly. That, very obviously, puts the people under that parachute at severe risk.
Line snags that occur on account of wayward cameras remain quite common in situations where the camera-holder doesn’t have the skydiving experience to know where his or her camera should and shouldn’t be. The cameraperson also needs to have the correct camera mounts (and the knowhow!) to keep the camera clear of the delicate deployment process.
4. They Can Get In The Way Of Your Emergency Procedures.
Another key point that the USPA has taken note of over the many years it has been studying the issue: Cameras are dangerously distracting. They very easily sneak into the path of proper responses to emergency situations. They intrude so much in the way of safety that the USPA has laid down a recommendation: No skydiver with fewer than 200 skydives may wear a camera in the air. Make no mistake: When you’re on a tandem, you’re a skydiver, not a passenger on a roller-coaster ride. As such, you’re bound by skydiver rules.
When all is said and done, the wisdom is simple: a jumper with less experience than that lofty 200-jump number really can’t handle the camera and a skydive at once. (If that sounds ridiculous, just wait until you make that skydive. It’s a lot more everything than you think it’ll be.)
5. They Actually Detract From The Experience. A Lot!
So what’s the straight dope? This. Not only is it the law of the skies, it’s safer, more satisfying and way more fun to make a skydive when your full focus is just on jumping. And no worries! Our awesome videographers will make sure you leave the dropzone with the footage you’re jonesing for.