How do Skydivers Know When to Open the Parachute?

Skydiving—it’s a real rush! Picture it: the clouds are zipping by as jumpers descend down the background of a bright blue sky, the wind rushing up against them as they fall. Some of them coming down in groups, students with instructors, tandem skydivers, and some solo jumpers. Each person flying their body, maintaining stability, taking in everything around them—the world below stretching on expansive and full. With all of this going on and so many things to focus on, you may wonder how do skydivers know when to open the parachute? How could they possibly keep track of it all? Here at Skydive California, we like to provide inside information for inquiring minds. If you would like some exclusive information on how skydivers know when to open the parachute, just keep reading.

Specialized Equipment

Many sports have specialized equipment: baseball uses a bat and glove, soccer uses cleats and shin guards, rock climbing uses ropes, harnesses, and belay devices. Skydiving is no different. In order to know when to open the parachute, skydivers must be altitude aware, or in simpler terms, skydivers must be aware of how high up they are/ how far away they are from the ground. If you have watched any skydiving videos or seen skydiving on the television or in a movie, you may have noticed skydivers sporting something that looks a lot like a fancy watch. In skydiving, this ‘fancy watch’ is the piece of gear that is used to determine altitude, and it is called an altimeter. Altimeters function by using atmospheric/barometric pressure to determine altitude.

There are two primary types of altimeters used by skydivers: digital and analog.

Analog Visual Skydiving Altimeter

The analog visual altimeter looks very similar to a clock face and is marked from 0-12,000ft. The arrow on the altimeter points to the current altitude. Often, the face of the altimeter will be marked with yellow and red sections which mark the recommended deployment altitude and the emergency procedure decision altitude respectively.

how do skydivers know when to open the parachute alti 2 skydiving altimeter

Digital Visual Skydiving Altimeter

These neat little pieces of electronic innovation also operate using changes in barometric pressure. However, they indicate the current altitude with a digital number on a screen rather than with an arrow on a face. These tiny computers are often able to keep up with other things and may contain features that are able to record the speed reached on a skydive.

digital skydiving altimeter when do skydivers know how to open the parachute

Audible Altimeters: Another Piece of Important Equipment for Skydivers

In addition to the visual altimeters, a skydiver may also utilize an audible altimeter to help them know when to open the parachute. The audible altimeter, also known as a Dytter, is a small computer that jumpers can slide into their helmets. Before a skydive, a jumper will program the Dytter to emit a warning tone at preset altitudes. In this way, even if the jumper has gotten a little carried away with the fun of it all, there’s a back-up to remind them that it is time to open the parachute.

Read Post  Skydiver struggles to untangle parachute in harrowing plunge video

When Do Skydivers Open Their Parachute?

It depends on what type of skydiver and license holder they are. Drop zones that are members of the United States Parachute Association adhere to certain basic safety recommendations. The United States Parachute Association provides minimum opening altitudes within the Skydiver Information Manual. These are the minimum altitudes above the ground that different levels of skydivers must open their parachutes. Keep in mind that these are minimums, and most drop zones set the altitudes that parachutes be deployed a bit higher.

  • Tandem Skydivers must open parachutes by 4,500AGL (Though, most open around 5,000-5,500 to allow you to enjoy the view)
  • Students and A License holders must open their parachutes by 3,000 feet AGL.
  • B-License jumpers must open their parachutes by 2,500 feet AGL.
  • C and D licensed skydivers must open parachutes by 2,500ft AGL (this is waiverable to 2,000ft AGL but no lower)

Skydiving is a sport that requires jumpers to be aware. After all, there is quite a lot going on. Thankfully, the jumpers at Skydive California are safety-focused and altitude aware. Now that you’ve learned how skydivers know when to open the parachute, why not come don a ‘fancy watch’ and give it a try yourself! You can leave it to the experts and let your tandem instructor open the parachute for you and go along for the ride! Live in Northern California? Then check out Skydive California for your first tandem skydive!

The 3 Phases of Skydiving: Freefall, Parachute Opening & Landing

The 3 Phases of Skydiving: Freefall, Parachute Opening & Landing

Skydiving isn’t just about falling out of planes. It’s an adventure.

When you sign up to jump with us at Skydive Long Island, you’ll be taken for quite a ride. Every skydive has three distinct phases: freefall, parachute opening and landing. Each stage will be unique, ranging from the adrenaline-pumping freefall to the peaceful canopy ride.

Some people tend to favor the action packed beginning of the jump, while others revel in the second half when they’re under a working parachute and gliding through the sky.

We’ll explain each stage a little more in detail below. After you experience them personally, we’d love to know which of the three you prefer!

1. Freefall

The plane ride can be an experience in and of itself. From our aircraft, you’ll see dozens of miles in each direction, from Montauk to the vast expanse of the Atlantic Ocean. But the skydive officially begins once your feet leave the plane. We call this your “exit.”

Read Post  Is Indoor Skydiving Safe? Your Ultimate Safety Guide

This begins stage one: the adrenaline-pumping free fall. You may experience a brief feeling of falling for a few seconds after you depart the plane. This is when your body is speeding up to reach terminal velocity, which is roughly 120 miles per hour.

Once you reach terminal velocity after a few seconds, however, the experience changes. The best way to describe it is it feels like you’re in a wind tunnel, as though someone has a massive fan underneath you, shooting up air toward the underside of your belly.

Some people find it difficult to breathe because of the wind. But please don’t be alarmed. You can breathe, even though the experience may leave you breathless!

2. Parachute opening

After approximately 45 seconds of freefall, your tandem instructor will signal to you that it’s time to pull the parachute. The sequence of the parachute opening happens at a slow enough pace that you don’t have to worry about experiencing any kind of whiplash.

As the parachute begins to unfurl above your head, your body will naturally transition from being in a belly-down freefall position to a vertical position where your legs are dangling from the underside of your harness.

Once the parachute is out, you’ll begin a four-minute-or-so canopy ride back down to the ground, where you’ll soar around the sky like a bird and be able to take in the incredible views of the ocean and Long Island.

Things will feel much more peaceful at this stage of the skydive. Instead of falling and hearing the loud whoosh of wind rushing past you, you’ll be floating quietly.

3. Landing

First-time tandem skydivers tend to fret about the final stage of the skydive: landing. This stage marks the final moments of the jump, when your instructor and you are making the necessary arrangements to make contact with the ground.

To slow your speed in the final five seconds of the jump, your tandem instructor will pull down on the steering toggles, which will cause the parachute to flare, sort of like the wing of a plane.

Your instructor will most likely ask you to stretch your legs out in front of you to prepare for a butt-first sliding landing.

There’s only one way to find out which of these three you like best — book a jump with us today.

The 3 Phases of Skydiving: Freefall, Parachute Opening & Landing

The 3 Phases of Skydiving: Freefall, Parachute Opening & Landing

Skydiving isn’t just about falling out of planes. It’s an adventure.

When you sign up to jump with us at Skydive Long Island, you’ll be taken for quite a ride. Every skydive has three distinct phases: freefall, parachute opening and landing. Each stage will be unique, ranging from the adrenaline-pumping freefall to the peaceful canopy ride.

Some people tend to favor the action packed beginning of the jump, while others revel in the second half when they’re under a working parachute and gliding through the sky.

We’ll explain each stage a little more in detail below. After you experience them personally, we’d love to know which of the three you prefer!

Read Post  The Type of Person That Skydives

1. Freefall

The plane ride can be an experience in and of itself. From our aircraft, you’ll see dozens of miles in each direction, from Montauk to the vast expanse of the Atlantic Ocean. But the skydive officially begins once your feet leave the plane. We call this your “exit.”

This begins stage one: the adrenaline-pumping free fall. You may experience a brief feeling of falling for a few seconds after you depart the plane. This is when your body is speeding up to reach terminal velocity, which is roughly 120 miles per hour.

Once you reach terminal velocity after a few seconds, however, the experience changes. The best way to describe it is it feels like you’re in a wind tunnel, as though someone has a massive fan underneath you, shooting up air toward the underside of your belly.

Some people find it difficult to breathe because of the wind. But please don’t be alarmed. You can breathe, even though the experience may leave you breathless!

2. Parachute opening

After approximately 45 seconds of freefall, your tandem instructor will signal to you that it’s time to pull the parachute. The sequence of the parachute opening happens at a slow enough pace that you don’t have to worry about experiencing any kind of whiplash.

As the parachute begins to unfurl above your head, your body will naturally transition from being in a belly-down freefall position to a vertical position where your legs are dangling from the underside of your harness.

Once the parachute is out, you’ll begin a four-minute-or-so canopy ride back down to the ground, where you’ll soar around the sky like a bird and be able to take in the incredible views of the ocean and Long Island.

Things will feel much more peaceful at this stage of the skydive. Instead of falling and hearing the loud whoosh of wind rushing past you, you’ll be floating quietly.

3. Landing

First-time tandem skydivers tend to fret about the final stage of the skydive: landing. This stage marks the final moments of the jump, when your instructor and you are making the necessary arrangements to make contact with the ground.

To slow your speed in the final five seconds of the jump, your tandem instructor will pull down on the steering toggles, which will cause the parachute to flare, sort of like the wing of a plane.

Your instructor will most likely ask you to stretch your legs out in front of you to prepare for a butt-first sliding landing.

There’s only one way to find out which of these three you like best — book a jump with us today.

Source https://skydivecalifornia.com/blog/how-do-skydivers-know-when-to-open-the-parachute/

Source https://www.skydivelongisland.com/about/articles/the-3-phases-of-skydiving-freefall-parachute-opening-landing/

Source https://www.skydivelongisland.com/about/articles/the-3-phases-of-skydiving-freefall-parachute-opening-landing/

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *