Safety Team Update Q1 2024

Welcome to the British Skydiving Safety Team Newsletter! This quarterly newsletter will give you the latest in what’s going on in the world of safety in our sport. Written by the safety team at British Skydiving, we will be looking at the people, the equipment, the culture, incident trends and how we can stay safe as the season progresses.

Plan your season:

If you’re like a lot of jumpers, the chances are you don’t have a plan for the year. Whilst there is nothing wrong with that, have you ever wondered what the leading pros and top competitors do? There is a good chance that they have goals set through the year and a plan for achieving those goals. That’s pretty much the same for any pro athlete from any sport. OK – so, we’re not all pro athletes, but maybe there is something we can learn from this approach:

  • Goal Setting: Where do you want to be in one year from now? What new skills and knowledge would you like to have? Pick a goal or some goals to achieve for the year.
  • Budget – How much money and time can you pour into this? Once you’ve established this, you can start putting together a realistic plan of action.
  • Plan – a season is like a journey. We are starting here, and we want to get to there. How can we do this? Like any journey there is a start, middle and end. To start with, where are you already at? Be honest! How current are you after the winter? Write out the months of the year, or take a year planner and start filling it in:

Why not start the year with a review of safety procedures? When was the last time you practiced your emergency procedures? What about in a suspended harness for realism? If you’re an experienced skydiver, I bet that was a long time ago. Why not find out if your PTO is putting on a Safety Day for the club members? If they are not, can you find one that is? Or even speak with the Chief Instructor and arrange one?

How’s your equipment? If your rig has been in a bag packed for months over winter, it’s a good idea to unpack it and inspect it. Change the bungees and the closing loop. Have an Advanced Packer or Rigger assist you with cleaning the cut-away cables and flexing the three-ring system. Hang the main canopy up and check it for wear and tear. What about making sure your batteries are good in your Audible Altimeter or Digital Altimeter? What about your documents? Is your medical up to date? Did you know the Self-Declaration of Fitness is only valid for three years?

How’s your packing? Do you have a packing certificate? Without a doubt, one of the most useful things you can learn to do is to pack well and understand how your equipment works. If this is an issue for you, then arrange some packing training + brush up on some equipment knowledge by watching the Expo seminars on packing (The Lost Art of Packing Part 1 and 2 and Perfect You’re Packing with PD).

Depending on your experience level, you’ll probably want to start the year with some easy, fun jumps, either on your own or with small groups of familiar jumpers. It doesn’t take long to get back current, and there is no need to rush. So why not plan easy, familiar stuff at first to build a base so you can start challenging yourself later?


It’s a great idea to look for events to attend when the season kicks off and get them written on your plan. As fun, as day-to-day jumping can be at your local PTO, attending an organised event can be a great way to apply your skills to something more, as well as one hell of an adventure where you will meet like-minded skydivers from all over. By registering for an event (or some events), you will give yourself a goal, something to work towards. For example, a Big-way FS skills camp in summer gives you springtime to work on your FS skills. Why not supplement that with some tunnel training or hire a coach?

Of course, you can apply this sort of planning to whatever discipline you want. A great shortcut to getting to where you want to be is to ask the people at the top of their game. Questions like: ‘if you were at my level and had 100, or 200 jumps to apply to something through the season, how would you do it and why’? Most of the top competitors in our sport are more than happy to offer advice to the up-and-coming jumpers and may even suggest places, people and events that you would not have thought of yourself.

What about getting involved in competitions? Either join a team or start one. There are many events through the year to train for, from scrambles comps to the UKSL and UK Nationals to get started with.

Have you ever considered becoming a Coach or an Instructor? Once you’ve been in the sport for a couple of years and developed some skills, wouldn’t it be great to guide others along the same incredible journey you’ve been on?

Coaches and Instructors

If you’re a coach or an instructor, what could you plan through the year to keep your skills sharp? As a Tandem Instructor, once a month, you will practice through the various emergencies that can occur with tandem. However, as an AFF Instructor, it’s up to the individual to stay sharp on their personal flying. Why not learn a new discipline to keep things fresh? It’s good to be a student again. Striving to do something that you currently can’t and feeling what it’s like to progress at something. Some of us have forgotten what that’s like, and here we are, helping others who are going through that process.

There is a new coaching system for coaches to check out. Rather than getting a coach rating and then not really receiving any further training other than direct feedback from the act of coaching, this new system develops you through many hours of continuous personal development per year and also gives you a recognised coaching qualification with ‘1st For Sport’.

Think of other things you can schedule onto this year’s plan that can make you more useful to your fellow jumpers. What about getting trained as a first aider? We are taking part in a dangerous sport and unfortunately, from time to time, accidents do happen. Whilst all PTOs will have first aid trained staff, it is quite likely that you will be at the scene of an injury at some point, especially if you’re spending more time at DZ. By being first aid trained and staying current, you could be of great help one day when it’s really needed.

What else can you be doing?

What about other sports that complement your jumping? Anything that will keep you fit, strong, flexible and focused is going to be of great benefit (think Yoga, Triathlon, Skiing, Surfing….). Also, other air sports such as Paragliding, Speedflying, flying Airplanes or Gliders. Depending on your budget, who knows what these sports will bring to your skydiving with a broader knowledge and feel for the air.

We have an incredible scene in the UK. With so many disciplines to get involved with, skills to master, and PTOs to visit, you can spend a lifetime pursuing this sport and always learn something new. Whatever you choose to fill your year with, know there is a system with Instructors, manuals, coaches and fellow skydivers who are here to assist you in achieving your goals. By following good practices in safety and progression, never rushing and being in this for the ‘long haul’, who knows where you can end up?  Have a great 2024.