Safety Team Update Q2 2024

From the Safety Team

At the June meeting of STC, it was noted that incidents had appeared to be significantly higher than the same period last year.

In discussions with the Chief Instructors present, it was felt that currency was likely to have been a significant contributing factor to this trend.  It has been a strange start to the year, with long periods of unjumpable weather punctuated by brief periods of glorious sunshine.  Jumpers have clearly taken the opportunity to experience the best of the weather conditions available, but this has resulted in a noticeable spike in incidents around these brief respites in the weather.

The Safety Team would like to remind all skydivers of some of the messages from the last newsletter:

  1. If you’re not current, take it easy with your first few jumps back. Leave the radical 540 front riser turn or the 9-way head up tracing jumps until you are more current.
  2. If jumping new or unfamiliar equipment, ensure that you’ve been fully briefed by an instructor and make sure that the equipment fits you properly. Do some practice pulls on the ground and, for at least the first jump, build in some time for some practice pulls in freefall.

The start of the year also sadly saw the first fatality in three years.  The Safety Team wish to offer our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Sam Cornwell, who lost his life filming a Tandem Skydive at SkyHigh Skydiving. A Board of Inquiry was immediately formed, comprising the HOSTC and the two STOs, with the Chair of the Riggers Committee and Dr Carter as co-opted members.  The Board is currently conducting a thorough investigation of the incident and hopes to publish its report as soon as its investigations have been completed.

The Board has produced its interim report, which has been distributed to all Chief Instructors and discussed at the June meeting of STC.  The minutes will be available in the member’s area when agreed at the next STC meeting in August.  The interim report made the following recommendations to skydivers:

Emergency Procedures:

  1. Skydivers should be reminded not to delay the cutaway procedure for too long when attempting to kick out of diving line twists.
  2. Skydivers are also reminded to practice their emergency procedures regularly, with particular emphasis on ‘peeling’ the cutaway pad off the retaining Velcro before punching it down. If using camera wings, these drills should be conducted whilst wearing your camera jacket/suit. This may be more practical inside a suspended harness.
  3. Skydivers may need to consider using two hands during the cutaway process if they experience high pull forces while attempting to cut away.


  1.  All packers are reminded of the importance of ensuring the steering toggles are stowed correctly. Depending on the riser design, the eyelet in the steering line must be pulled below the guide ring, inserting the toggle tab all the way through the eyelet. Depending on the riser design, the toggle tab should end up secured in the toggle keeper at the top of the guide ring.


  1. Attention should be paid to the condition of the equipment, as toggle keepers may sustain wear and tear over time, allowing sufficiently stowed toggles to release prematurely. Attention should also be paid to the excess line keepers, often situated on the reverse side of the rear riser, to ensure the excess remains secured during deployment, and not trailing prior to taking control of the canopy.
  2. Should they not have these fitted, jumpers may wish to consider installing hard housings within the cutaway cable channels of their risers. Jumpers should contact their PTO Rigger and the manufacturer of their container for details of any hard housing design and installing instructions.

The start of the year had also seen two serious back injuries caused when jumpers dropped a toggle when transitioning from rear risers to toggles following a High-Performance Landing.

Jumpers conducting high-performance landings are reminded to have a firm grasp of the steering toggles. Habitually holding the toggles with two fingers or with the palm open increases the chances of them being dropped at a critical point.

Have Fun. Stay Safe!