Welcome back to skydiving!

Parachute Training Organisations (PTOs) are preparing to resume operations in July with safety measures in place to minimise the risk of transmission of Covid-19. For full members who have already renewed, their renewal for the next subscription year, 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022, will include a discount for the three-month period this year, April to June inclusive, when our sport was grounded.

Full members who have not yet renewed for the current membership year, 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021, will instead benefit from a pro-rata reduction in this year’s subscription for the three month period April to June inclusive [subscription rates 2020/21]. This means that members renewing from 1 July will pay only for the nine months from July 2020 to March 2021.

DfT and CAA guidance updated

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is updating its guidance for General Aviation in line with the latest advice from the Department for Transport (DfT). This is a fast-moving situation as lockdown continues to ease, and means there is now no longer a need for British Skydiving to apply to DfT through CAA for derogations (exemptions) from previous CAA requirements.

Covid-19 has not gone away

Covid-19 continues to remain a threat to health both in the UK and internationally. It is a novel virus, and scientific understanding regarding transmission, infectivity and damage to health continues to evolve.

There is much uncertainty surrounding Covid-19, both medically and politically. There is also conflict between what is best to prevent transmission and infection with the virus, and what is best for businesses and the economy.

What is not contentious however is that the virus spreads much more readily when people spend time in close proximity with each other. The more time and the closer you are, the greater the risk. It is also clear that a large percentage of the population have yet to be exposed to the virus.

How the virus affects an individual is extremely variable. Some may show no symptoms at all, for others it can sadly be fatal. Advancing age, male gender, other co-existing illnesses, certain ethnicities all generate an increased risk, but younger people with no other medical conditions have still become very unwell and full recovery can take some time.

British Skydiving has worked hard with our Affiliated PTOs to produce guidelines to try to reduce the risk of Covid-19 transmission during skydiving activity. Unfortunately, there is no way to remove this risk completely – people with the virus may still get onto skydiving aircraft whatever countermeasures are put in place.

We are not aware of any scientific studies that have been conducted into transmission of the virus inside the enclosed space of an aircraft being used to drop skydivers. Nor are we aware of any studies conducted into the effect that altitude may have on the exhalation of viral particles in someone who has the virus. However, there is some scientific evidence to support the suggestion that transmission occurs more frequently in environments where people are excited, exercising and/or breathing rapidly. Skydiving equipment has not been assessed in terms of its ability to reduce viral transmission, and we do not know what effect the environment of a skydiving aircraft may have on transmission.

Every skydiver should make an informed decision regarding when they wish to return to skydiving. This decision needs to be made weighing up their own perception of their risk. Factors they should consider when making this decision could include (but are not limited to) their age, gender, health, employment, and home situation.

Tandem instructors – who spend longer periods of time in very close confines with multiple students per day – should consider this in their own personal risk assessment.

Read the guidance document here:

Return to Skydiving

 

Photo: Matthew Jonathan Penny over Bridlington by Dave Ruston