What the Skydivers are Saying

For those who have dropped from the sky with a parachute on their back out of perfectly good airplane are the ones for which this blog is intended. Because when you understand why people skydive – the excitement, the rush, the thrill, the complete feeling of reckless freedom – only then can you begin to understand the words that are coming out of their mouth, profanity not withstanding. Here is a brief list of terminology, or skydiving vernacular, that those “in the know” should know.

  • Accuracy – Known to jumpers as precision landing. When a skydiver has a precise location, or target, at which they are intending to land. Accuracy landings are extremely difficult, requiring skydivers to land between 20 and 2 meters from the specified point.
  • Airspeed – The speed of a flying object, specifically a skydiver, through the air. It is crucial to know your airspeed when referring to the aircraft and canopies. It is also relative to knowing when to deploy one’s parachute.
  • BASE jump – A jump made from a permanent or fixed object rather than by plane. BASE is an acronym for building, antennae, spans (bridges) and earth (cliff). These jumps are often more dangerous because of their shorter distance to the ground.
  • Coach – A skydiver with experience or formal training, particularly in the field of free falling and its various techniques.
  • Cut away – To let the main parachute go, thereby deploying the emergency reserve. This is also referred to as a breakaway, which involves using a simple release system triggered by pulling a handle.
  • Deployment system – The components of the parachute that control deployment of the canopy. Includes pilot chute, bridle and bag.
  • Dirt dive – Ground practice for skydivers.

There are literally hundreds of other terms that skydivers use, many of which can be viewed in the complete skydiver’s dictionary at www.dropzone.com

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