96 Matches (out of a total of 833 incidents)
  1. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    1/27/1996 Carolina Sky Sports, NC LOWT 42 320 Y/N    
    Description: Individual had made 40 jumps on Stilleto 150 loaded at approximately 1.55lb/ft^2, 12 of those in last 30 days. Bad spot at unfamiliar DZ, led to an off-field landing. Last observed facing into the wind at about 300ft about 1/4mile from the DZ. Pronounced DOA when found, signs of high speed landing were evident - Factory Diver was shattered in two places and ripped off of his head. There were powerlines in the area, so it is likely he over controlled his canopy when avoiding this unseen obstacle.
    Lessons:Flying high performance canopies is not for the faint of heart, or the inexperienced. Situations can develop rapidly which require quick correct reactions to resolve adequately. In this case, the deceased lacked sufficient experience to handle this situation; multiple factors contributed. High wing loading in and of itself is not dangerous, almost anyone can land something at their home DZ in 8MPH breeze. Unfortunately, when coupled with any or all of inexperience, tricky winds, tight landing areas, nearby traffic, unexpected obstacles,and unfamiliar DZ's, the potential for serious injury or death is greatly enhanced. We know you can land it, but can you handle it when the proverbial shit hits the fan -- and can you afford to find out? An AAD was not relevant for this incident. Turning in brakes is frequently the recommended maneuver when a low turn under a fast canopy must be accomplished. Ask your instructor for advice if you don't know how to do this!
  2. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    2/23/1996 DeLand, FL LOWT 27 1000 ?/?    
    Description: Deceased made a low turn on landing, failed to flare his stilleto and broke both legs, possibly pelvis, and also had severe head trama. He was in a coma and died a 3 days later. Current hypothesis is that he failed to flare because he was distracted, perhaps trying to avoid someone on the ground. However, there were no canopies in the air near him, and the ground was largely clear. This was on a 100-way skydive.
    Lessons:A mistake whilst performing a low turn to landing can kill you. Think carefuly before attempting intentionally, and be aware not to do one accidently. Having to avoid someone unexpectedly (along with dropping a riser, losing a toggle, or not seeing an obstacle) are all part of what MUST not happen when performing a hook turn, or else an incident like the above can happen. It's not just avoiding turning too low - you must not make any other mistakes either! A full explantion may never be known. Obviously, it's better to land facing the wrong way, than whilst still in a turn. AAD not relevant - he had a good canopy.
  3. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    3/9/1996 Brownsville, TX EXC,LOWT 22 200 ?/?    
    Description: From Houston Chronicle:A parachutist in a weekend air show died after he lost control of his jump and crash-landed just yards away from spectators. [The jumper] died Sunday after suffering severe head trauma in the fall, said Tom Treu, a spokesman at Columbia Valley Regional Medical Center. The accident occurred minutes after Air Fiesta '96 began Saturday at the Brownsville-South Padre Island International Airport. "It sounded horrible, like a cracking noise," said [observer], who was standing just yards from where Cantu landed. A friend of [deceased] who also made the jump said he did not know what went wrong. He said [the deceased] was an experienced parachutist who learned to jump in the U.S. Marine Corps. From Skydiving: He made a sharp toggle input to his Triathlon 190 50ft. off of the ground.
    Lessons:Low turns kill. Be careful on demos. Sure, you can land that 107 at the DZ but can you bring it in crosswind in a tight spot?
  4. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    3/16/1996 Skydive Arizona, AZ LOWT 29 223 N/?    
    Description: A skydiver from the midwest with about 225 jumps executed a low 180 degree toggle turn and impacted first the gravel parking lot adjacent to the landing area, then a pickup truck a few feet from the initial impact point. Several witnesses, including very experienced jumpers, witnessed the accident and his speed was estimated at 40 to 50 mph, which incidently is consistent with research I am doing using a variometer/airspeed indicator. He weighed about 175 pounds and was jumping a Sabre 135. The gear was in excellent condition because it was brand new. I haven't been able to find out his history yet, so I don't know if he had jumped similar canopies or had any history of hook turns. Witnesses agree that he had ample time and open area to choose some other landing pattern. Why he did what he did can't be known with any certainty, although there are lots of possible reasons. However, speculation won't do any good. [The following information comes from his brother:]He had been in the sport for about 7 years as I recall, the last 4 being the active years. He had jumped Eloy previously and had made 2 jumps that day prior to his death, he had also jumped either the day before or two days prior to his death at Eloy. He was familiar with Eloy although it wasn't his home DZ, living in the Toledo Ohio area he had chosen Parachuting Service, Inc as his primary DZ located in Tecumseh Michigan. The canopy that he was jumping was new although he had prior experience jumping similar canopies, the Stiletto 135 being his first choice, but at any rate he did not have the experience necessary to be jumping this type of canopy with so few jumps. Having watched him jump previously and knowing his character I can only speculate that he did in fact execute a low altitude hook turn which tragically ended his life. He was a responsible person both socially and professionally (police officer) but did have the tendancy to hot dog when under canopy. I can only urge all my other fellow skydivers to jump responsibly, think before acting, and have the altutude and a predetermined plan to overcome a similar situation. Skydiving is a high risk sport but a safe sport if one respects it and only jumps with-in their capacity.
    Lessons:[As Bryan Burke Wrote: Common denominators: both were from places with inclement winter weather so neither one was very current. Both were on slightly unfamiliar equipment - similar to what they were used to, but not the same. In each case there was nothing wrong with the gear, it was just operated incorrectly with fatal results. Each person had documented proof of having met the minimum performance and training standards for what they were doing, yet each clearly was not adequately prepared for what happened. The reaper is out there, and if you don't watch out he might just sneak up on you. Just because you have a piece of paper that says you know how to pull and land safely does not mean you will do it on every jump. Practice, observe, ask questions, learn everything you can, and always expect the unexpected. Better training and/or judgement certainly would have prevented these deaths. It never hurts to build a little backup into the system, either: an AAD and more conservative canopy choice, respectively, would have made a difference.] That's why I'm the D and TA - I have yet to advise someone they are being a little too safe.
  5. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    4/2/1996 Royan, France LOWT 32 ?/?    
    Description: 180 degree turn too close to the ground.
    Lessons:
  6. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    5/4/1996 Woodland Airport, CA EXC,LOWT 49 720 Y/N    
    Description: Second jump of the day, a demo jump into a local airshow 5 Miles N of the DZ (Skydance) Airport. Wide open landing area with a full briefing and map given to the the jumpers. Skydive was from 13500 with breakoff at 4500 and all-open by 2500. Left hand pattern was flown by all, the deceased was about 8th to land. She was at 100ft when she initiated a 180 degree hook-turn from downwind to upwind. As she came out of the turn, she went into a right turn and hit the ground at a 25-30 degree bank angle. There were no obstacles or canopies in her path. Three doctors on site provided immeidate attention, but she failed to regain conciousness. After a helicopter flight to UC Davis Medical Center, she was pronounced dead of severe head trama. She was jumping a Stilleto 120 loaded at about 1.15 lb/ft^2. She was not a hook-turn type person. She had made about 100 jumps on this canopy in the last year an a half. Parachutist indictes the 2nd turn began at 100ft
    Lessons:If you land in a turn under a small canopy, you will very likely die. There is a certain probability here that she dropped the left toggle and thus turned instead of flared. If you drop a toggle after doing a low turn, all you can do is grab the rear risers, flare with them, and prepare to PLF. No information on if she was wearing a helmet.
  7. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    5/15/1996 Pamiers, France LOWT 52 ?/?    
    Description: Demo. Performed a 360 degree turn between 30 and 40 metres above the ground.
    Lessons:
  8. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    7/4/1996 Sacramento, CA EXC,LOWT 54 400 ?/?    
    Description: Jumper died at performing a demo skydive. He was heading toward the stands, did a low turn, and both he and his canopy hit the pavement simultaneously. Reportedly, he set up too high and was going run into the announcers stand . Instead of taking the easy 45 degree turn out into a parking lot, he tried a 180 degree turn, he never let up the toggle, but did try to flare whilst horizontal to the ground. He was not jumping a high performance canopy. He died 3 hours later at a local Hospital.
    Lessons:The usual comments about demos apply. They are high-stress skydives -- be careful! And if you need to use the out, do so! This was Pilot Error. Period.
  9. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    8/6/1996 Quincy, IL CCOL,LOWT 47 387 Y/?    
    Description: There was a canopy collision after a 4 way that the deceased was videoing. The collision was handled well, and Jim had the collapsed canopy of another jumper wrapped on his legs, but under control. Witnesses reported that he initiated a sharp turn into the wind below 20 feet. It is not known why he waited until then to turn (I've never seen him do a hook turn). It may have been a dropped toggle or he may have been avoiding an obstacle that he didn't previously see, we will never know. He did not survive the landing. Weak tracking may have been a factor, though they really haven't laid blame. He was jumping a Triathlon 160, and the canopy he was wrapped in was a Sabre 190. He may have had a Sentinel AAD, though this s not strictly relevant to this accident.
    Lessons:A camera at an unfamiliar DZ, followed by a canopy collision. Frequently more than one thing goes wrong before an accident occurs. It's important for a cameraman to have clear air when openning, typically, dumping a little high and in the middle is a good plan.
  10. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    8/24/1996 Bellefeuille, QuebecCanada LOWT 24 400 ?/?    
    Description: The deceased made a low turn and impacted the ground violently. He passed away at a local hospital shortly thereafter.
    Lessons:There's nothing new under the sun.
  11. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    10/5/1996 Dilingham Airfield, HI LOWT 25 2000 ?/?    
    Description: The deceased died as the result of massive internal injuries after a 180 degree low turn initiated at about 100ft. He was jumping a Stilleto 97, though he also owned a 135 and a 107. The wing loaded has not been reported. Winds were 0-5MPH.
    Lessons:Same old, same old, unfortuntaely.
  12. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    10/9/1996 Shreveport, LA LOWT 31 650 ?/?    
    Description: The deceased was flying a Stilleto loaded at 1.5 lb/ft^2, and got it into line twists at 350ft. which induced a violent spin resulting in canopy and pilot hitting the ground at the same time. The impact was not survivable. Reports indicate that turbulence was not likely to be a factor, but rather just extreme toggle input.
    Lessons:Soon, I'll just be able to cut and paste these things. Let's be careful out there! I classified this as a low turn because (unless turbulence was a major player) performing turns hard enough to get yourself into line twists so low that you can't either get out of 'em or cutaway is in the same class as turning so low you can't finish the turn before you impact.
  13. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    10/20/1996 Roturua, New Zealand LOWT 29 4766 ?/?    
    Description: Jumper had just completed 1st AFF jump for the day. He made a 180 degreee front riser turn at 75-100ft, and impacted with the ground at a very high rate and angle of attack. Jumper apparently died on impact, as there was no pulse 30 seconds later. Weather was clear, with a 5 knot wind. The report on National TV had footage of the operation's Chief Safety Officer saying that the jumper was highly experienced and had pulled off this "high speed, high risk" manouevre a thousand times before. This does not seem to be a case of the jumper being 'caught out' - he made a regular practice of hook turns pushing it to the limit. This time he apparently went past the limit. It has been said that it was not an 'out of control landing', he WAS in control all the way. He was an experienced Tandem Master/AFF Jumpmaster and had represented New Zealand in Canopy Relative Work. He was jumping a PD Stilletto 107, a zerop elliptical loaded at 1.75 lbs/ft^2.
    Lessons:Wether it's an in-control swoop or an out of control swoop, if you misjudge, it's the same result: serious injury or death. An incident worth noting: this person was extremely experienced, and he still paid the price for the error. If you're doing extreme low turns, and think it *can't* happen to you, think again, carefully. You probably don't have as many jumps or as much experience as this individual. He had 642 jumps on high speed elliptical canopies, and 331 jumps on this particular canopy. In all likelyhood, he may have had a thousand or more jumps on zero-P rectangular canopies.
  14. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    2/7/1997 Titusville, FL LOWT 25 410 Y/N    
    Description: The deceased made a low 180 degree toggle turn at about 75ft. above the ground, and was completely horizontal when he hit the tarmac in front of the hanger. He died 5 hours later.
    Lessons:Don't land in a turn! He was wearing a camera helmet, though it is not known if this was a factor. [Thanks to Skydiving Magazine for this info.]
  15. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    3/13/1997 Bouloc, France MAL,LOWT 43 ?/?    
    Description: After a CRW jump from 2,500 metres, at about 5 metres above the ground, some atmospheric turbulence made the canopy go up several metres and partially deflate. Whether by accident or intentionally, the deceased pulled on the right toggle and impacted with the ground. She wasn't wearing a helmet.
    Lessons:
  16. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    4/6/1997 Lake Wales, FL LOWT 41 305 N/N    
    Description: This jumper went over to Lake Wales to check up on his new rig ordered through the gear store there. He was heard to say he was going to make a skydive there because it was too windy at Skydive Tampa. At Lake Wales, he borrowed a demo rig from the gear store which contained a Sabre 150. The conditions at the DZ were described as windy. He was used to jumping a larger F111 7-cell, a Pegasus (220sqft). He approached the ground in a cross-to-downwind configuration, and was doubtless surprised by the speed and decent rate of the canopy. His last words were "oh shit" just before impact.
    Lessons:Exceeding ones limits, at an unfamiliar DZ, in tricky wind conditions using borrowed gear and an unfamiliar canopy: this is a classic recipie for disaster, served cold.
  17. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    6/12/1997 Skydive Chicago, IL LOWT 44 3000 ?/?    
    Description: Witnesses said the deceased appeared to be groping for his right toggle shortly after making a 90 degree turn to final. Review of video footage from his camera shows him searching for the toggle, and slow motion review shows his hand without a toggle in it just prior to landing. After he struck the ground, he was awake and apologizing, saying he lost a toggle. It was obvious to those on the scene that he was injured badly. He passed away a few hours later in the hospital from internal injuries. This jumper was well known for bringing his dog, Pud, along on over 60 skydives. Pud was not on this load, and is being taken care of by friends and will be going home to Texas with family.
    Lessons:If you *do* lose a toggle, grabbing rear risers is perhaps a better choice of action than searching for a toggle, but either way, prepare for a pretty bad landing if you've turned to build up speed!
  18. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    6/15/1997 Aérodrome de Beauvoir - Fromentine, France LOWT 29 ?/?    
    Description: Demo? No helmet. Died one week later.
    Lessons:
  19. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    7/3/1997 Livingston, MT LOWT,EXC 31 500 ?/?    
    Description: During a demo skydive into a Rodeo event, the deceased experienced an unsurvivable landing after executing a radical turn too close to the ground. Two other jumpers had already landed sucessfully.
    Lessons:Demos are higher stress situations, at it's harder to avoid making a mistake during a high speed approach.
  20. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    7/30/1997 Saint-Pierre-d'Oleron, France LOWT 35 ?/?    
    DropZone.com Description:
    Lessons:
  21. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    8/2/1997 Quincy, IL LOWT 58 240 ?/?    
    Description: Low turn into the side of a mobile home. Died later at hospital. From an eye witness: "I was 150 feet away packing my rig when the guy hit the camper. He was facing the wind getting ready to land at the wide open area by the end of the runway on the east side of the airport, near tent city and the RV park. At about 100 feet or a little less, he made a hard turn the other way, for some unknown reason, then tried to make a last second adjustment before slamming into the camper. We'll never understand why he did what he did, he had a huge flat stretch of field to land on ( I landed there a bunch of times), and he hooks it downwind while over the taxiway into the congested camping area." One theory says he was worried about landing on tarmac instead of grass, and this induced the panic turn.
    Lessons:Tight landing area, crowded landing area, unfamiliar landing area. Extra pressures can cause mistakes.
  22. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    8/10/1997 C.E.R.P. Languedoc Méditerranée, France LOWT 31 ?/?    
    DropZone.com Description:
    Lessons:
  23. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    9/14/1997 Belfort-Fontaine, France LOWT 26 ?/?    
    Description: Performed an agressive 180 degree turn 15 metres above the ground.
    Lessons:
  24. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    9/28/1997 Taylorville, IL LOWT?,LAND? 42 4000 ?/?    
    Description: Two reports indicate a lost toggle on landing, though there is conflict as to wether a low turn (intentional or not) was involved. More firm info appreciated - particularly concerning currency, canopy, and windloading.
    Lessons:Constant vigilance. I recommend mentally drilling yourself on lost-toggle-just-before landing procedures. This is a serious, potentially fatal scenario, just as much as a malfunction up high. Perhaps drilling up high as well would be prudent, until you can quickly switch from toggles to risers and not totally stall the canopy. Though even this might be preferable to landing in a dive.
  25. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    10/15/1997 Sydney, Australia EXC,LAND?,LOWT? 35 800 ?/?    
    Description: The winds were up yesterday (Saturday), but were within limits. The demos were from one of the RAAF's herc's from the Richmond Air Base in NSW, Australia, and I think, were being spotted by the military ( It's possible that the spot was long, and that she was trying to get that bit further back - she did not land in the main designated landing area. To the best of my knowledge, we don't know if it was a hook (she was jumping a Stilleto 135 or 150) or if is was turbulence due to the strongish winds that caused her to have the hard landing. Loading was likely 1.15lb/ft^2 to 1.25lb/ft^2, moderate for that canopy. The tandems at our DZ were also having minor problems with the winds First reports were that she had landed very heavily - half an hour later, broken jaw plus many other broken bones, and lots of internal injuries. A short time later, we got a third call saying that she had passed away. She was an active AFF jumpmaster who followed the progress of those students who continued jumping, and will be very very missed by everyone.
    Lessons:Demos are perhaps the highest risk skydive one can easily make. Be aware.
  26. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    11/28/1997 Key West, FL LOWT 37 630 ?/?    
    Description: A non-us jumper was visiting Florida and jumping at the small DZ located on the Keys. This DZ is known to have a small landing area. Apparently, he turned low to avoid power lines and impacted hard. He died a day or two later of the injuries sustained.
    Lessons:Basically, if you don't land a canopy while it is flying straight, you are going to get badly hurt. Jumping at small, unfamiliar DZ's is an additional risk.
  27. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    2/22/1998 Skydive Suffolk, VA LOWT 42 1400 NA/NA    
    Description: The victim executed 120- 180 degree hook turn 30 ft in air and imapacted the ground at the same time as his canopy. The victim is in critcal condition and is expected to be disconnected from the resporator tommorow. He suffered a broken back in 3 places and broken pelvis as well as torn brain stem. The victim had 18 years in sport and 1400 jumps. He was jumping a f-111 canopy and was not a known hook-turner. Size of canopy unknown. He passed away 10 days later in the hospital without ever regaining conciousness or showing signs of brain activity.
    Lessons:Low turns can kill you even on non-ZP canopies. You really need to be flying striaght when you land.
  28. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    3/26/1998 Titusville, FL LOWT 27 3300 NA/NA    
    Description: At a few hundred feet above the ground, he flew across the wind line, downwind of the landing area and did his customary 270 degree diving hook turn, with a planned turf swoop 30 degrees off the wind line. Witnesses would later report that his turn completion was low, but not the lowest they've seen and, survivable - if he perceived the problem right away. His downward sink was too fast, his toggle inputs too little, too late. Turbulance or downdrafts may have been a complicating factor. His hardshell helmet was cracked in two, and suffered significant internal injuries. He was jumping a Jedei loaded at around 1.85. (195lbs w/o gear under a 120). He sucumbed to these injuries about 1 week later. His team was training to compete for the Canadian National Team slot for this year's Nationals. He started jumping in the early '90's and was a Tandem Master, Instructor, and Rigger.
    Lessons:Jumping a highly loaded canopy and chosing do to low turns to final approach add significant risks. Any error, jumper induced (lost toggle, too low) or not (turbulance, thermals), can result in a fatal accident. Be aware of the risks; even extreme currency and experience can be insufficient to ensure survival.
  29. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    5/6/1998 Bartlesville, OK LOWT,EXC ?/?    
    Description: Appears to have been a low turn at a demo due to a misjudgement of altitude.
    Lessons:-
  30. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    6/5/1998 Pujaut, France LOWT 53 ?/?    
    Description: [From a rough french translation.] After a freefall from 3800m, the deceased's first jump of the year, he made a 180 degreee turn at low altitude and struck the corner of the airplane hanger.
    Lessons:
  31. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    7/4/1998 Ellington, CT LOWT 26 670 ?/N    
    Description: [I am assuming this is incident 3, reported in Parachutist 10/98] After a typical 6-way skydive, with normal breakoff and opening, the deceased performed a slow front-riser turn into the landing area. At about 50', his canopy collapsed on one side, and did not reinflate. He died of head trauma. On previous skydives, the deceased had noticed the canopies instability in light turbulence, and (on this jump) chose to land in proximity to tall (40') trees. He was jumping an AeroGlide Griffin 120.
    Lessons:Know thy canopy. There is some additional risk to jumping a canopy, which may not be as thoroughly wrung-out or tested as those produced en masse by a major manufacturer. However, it is not imprudent to stop jumping or to change your flying behaviour, reguardless of canopy type, if you notice unstable behaviour in particular situations. Given the size of the deceased's reserve (170), it would not be surprising if this canopy was loaded at 1.5 or higher, though this is speculation.
  32. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    7/5/1998 Sorocaba, Brazil LOWT 27 ?/?    
    DropZone.com Description:
    Lessons:
  33. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    7/12/1998 Merrit Island, FL LAND?,LOWT? 37 ?/?    
    Description: This jumper apparently collided with a hanger and died later at the hospital from injuries sustained from the collision.
    Lessons:-
  34. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    9/19/1998 Chesapeake, VA LOWT ?/?    
    Description: The deceased made a low turn near to the ground, and did not return to level flight before striking the ground.
    Lessons:Information on the type of canopy, and the jumpers currency would be interesting…
  35. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    9/27/1998 Aerohio, OH LOWT 19 55 Y/?    
    Description: The deceased made a low turn near to the ground, and did not return to level flight before striking the ground. [Deja vu?]. He was a current jumper, having started in May of this year. He was jumping a Triathlon 120, loaded at approximately 1.25. He typically jumped a Tri135, loaded closer to 1.1. This was likely not a low turn intended to build up speed, as he was headed downwind, and turned at about 30 feet to get back into the wind. Additionally, he had not been seen attempting swoop-style landings in the past.
    Lessons:This is a very agressive loading for a jumper of this experience. Personally, I jump (as of 1/6/99) a Triathlon loaded at about 1.35, which can allow a very fast landing. It seems unwise to fly such a high wingloading at such an experience level.
  36. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    11/29/1998 West Tennessee Skydiving, TN LOWT 38 350 Y/?    
    Description: The deceased executed a low turn under a 215 sq. ft. F-111 nine cell (a Falcon), and impacted with one toggle still buried. The extent of his injuries was such that he could not have survived had he landed in a trauma center, though efforts at resuscitation continued for over half an hour. From eyewitness accounts and the video that was recovered it seemed he was too high on final, turned around and realized he would be doing a very fast downwind, and used an aggressive toggle turn to go back into the wind. He didn't even begin to recover before impact.
    Lessons:Landing downwind is preferable to landing in a turn.
  37. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    12/11/1998 Tahiti LOWT 47 3500 ?/?    
    DropZone.com Description:
    Lessons:
  38. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    12/23/1998 Thomaston, GA LAND,LOWT 54 186 ?/?    
    Description: On 17/12/98, this jumper ended up low and heading down wind while attempting to land in strong winds. He tried to turn back into the wind, but was too low for complete parachute recovery before landing. Life Flight medivaced him to a hospital in Macon which classified his condition as critical. The family disconnected life support, as per his wishes, Tuesday evening, December 22. He passed away Wednesday, December 23 at approximately 1:00 A.M. He weighed 175lbs and was jumping a Falcon 235.
    Lessons:As someone on rec.skydiving mentioned, prepare yourself mentally for this situation. If you find yourself low and heading downwind, you have three options. The natural reaction is to make a hard turn to get facing the correct way; this can easily break or kill you. Alternatively, you can do the best flare you can, followed by a good PLF; running it out will probably not be possible if the winds are anything other than light. While this might get you hurt, it is preferable to landing in a hard turn. The third alternative, which is only a possibility if you have practiced it up high, is to do a slow braked-turn to get crosswind or so. If you don't know how to do this, please ask an instructor for advice on how to learn this very important canopy control technique. Done right, it can save your butt, done poorly, it's equivalent to a hard turn, with similar consequences. Be aware that in light winds (say, 5 MPH or less), there is little risk to just landing downwind. This jumper was flying a canopy loaded well under 1.0 lb/ft^2. Even with a lightly loaded canopy, it is very possible to hammer yourself into the ground. This problem is not just a feature of highly loaded canopies. Any canopy flown improperly can maim or kill. As someone on rec.skydiving mentioned, prepare yourself mentally for this situation. If you find yourself low and heading downwind, you have three options. The natural reaction is to make a hard turn to get facing the correct way; this can easily break or kill you. Alternatively, you can do the best flare you can, followed by a good PLF; running it out will probably not be possible if the winds are anything other than light. While this might get you hurt, it is preferable to landing in a hard turn. The third alternative, which is only a possibility if you have practiced it up high, is to do a slow braked-turn to get crosswind or so. If you don't know how to do this, please ask an instructor for advice on how to learn this very important canopy control technique. Done right, it can save your butt, done poorly, it's equivalent to a hard turn, with similar consequences. Be aware that in light winds (say, 5 MPH or less), there is little risk to just landing downwind.

    This jumper was flying a canopy loaded well under 1.0 lb/ft^2. Even with a lightly loaded canopy, it is very possible to hammer yourself into the ground. This problem is not just a feature of highly loaded canopies. Any canopy flown improperly can maim or kill.

  39. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    1/23/1999 Ubarim, Brazil Lowt 100 ?/?    
    Description: This jumper usually jumped a Sabre 170, but on his first jump on a Spectre 150, he made a low turn and collided with a car, killing him.
    Lessons:-
  40. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    1/31/1999 Skydive Arizona, AZ LOWT,LAND 26 110 ?/?    
    Description: In the early afternoon on a clear-weather, light-winds day, this jumper was heading downwind just past the far edge of the main landing area at a low (50ft?) altitude, passed the wind-tetrahedron and realized he was heading downwind. Rather than doing a slow braked turn, or even accepting a downwind landing, he initiated a hard toggle turn back into the wind. He flared an instant before impact, but hit the ground at an angle of perhaps 60 degrees, impacting feet/torso/canopy nearly simultaneously. After bouncing back into the air and cartwheeling, he did not get up. He was stabilized by paramedics and flown out by helicopter, but died about 6 hours later at a nearby hospital. He was jumping a lime green Sabre 150, loaded at perhaps 1.3 - 1.4 lb/ft^2. He was not trying to perform a high-performance swooping landing.
    Lessons:I watched the last few seconds of this accident from the other side of the landing area, by the manifest. This jumper made an (incorrect) split-second decision which cost him his life. This type of accident happens often enough to be very frustrating. An inexperienced jumper with a heavily loaded canopy makes a low turn to {avoid an obstacle, avoid a canopy, get into the wind, pick up speed for landing}, and impacts while still in the turn. For every fatality, I wonder how many serious injuries their are? Two Thoughts: 1) You Must Not Land In A Turn. 2) You have your whole life to skydive, unless you get a canopy that's beyond your ability and get yourself critically broken or killed while learning.
  41. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    3/18/1999 Monterrey, Mexico LOWT 35 ?/?    
    Description: This diver made a 180 degree hook turn, and hit the ground very hard. He was rushed in to the hospital where he died 35 days later from the injuries sustained. He entered surgery for several fractured bones. He had four fractured vertebras near the neck. The doctors told the family it was very probable he would never gain any movement of his legs or arms. He was not a usual hook turner. The canopy was a Triathalon with unspecified wingloading.
    Lessons:Ya just can't land a parachute while it's still turning.
  42. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    4/25/1999 Gilbertsville, PA LOWT, LAND 41 874 Y?/Y?    
    Description: The deceased had broken his pelvis two years prior from a botched hook turn. The general consensus is that says he hasn't done a hook turn since that accident, and all witnesses agreed that he was coming straight in when this happened. About 40 feet from the ground, something went wrong and the nose of his canopy folded, made a quick turn and collapsed. It may have been turbulence, though he might have been trying to avoid another canopy and lost control, or he could have lost his grip on one front riser as he was using them to setup up his landing. Witnesses indicated he twitched his head, as if to look at something, and the canopy entered a dive immediately thereafter. He was jumping a Jedei 105, loaded at about 1.4 lb/ft^2. He had been jumping for about 7 years, and had toned down his flying style since his previous accident.
    Lessons:Insufficient information to make any assessment; could be turbulence, could be pilot error, could be both.
  43. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    6/6/1999 Greensburg, IN LOWT,LAND 43 ?/?    
    Description: After a normal left-hand turn from downwind to final, the deceased's canopy continued turning until impact. The Falcon 190 was in good condition, and the toggles were in his hands until impact. One report hypothesizes a dust devil as the probable cause of the canopy's strange behaviour.
    Lessons:-
  44. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    6/17/1999 Plage du Prado, France LOWT 28 207 ?/?    
    Description: Low turn after returning from a long spot
    Lessons:
  45. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    6/19/1999 Texel, Netherlands LOWT 35 5300 ?/?    
    Description: The deceased performed an intentional low 360-degree (front-riser) turn prior to landing, one that turned out to be too low. He died instantly from the landing. Observers thought that his altitude was insufficient even for a 180 degree turn. He was jumping a Javelin with an Impulse 105 main. He was very experienced with low turns prior to landing (a 360 was typical), was both AFF- and Tandem-rated, flew camera, and was generally well regarded as a competent, safe skydiver. The canopy was loaded at approximately 1.5-1.7 lb/ft^2.
    Lessons:Intentional low turns prior to landing are fun, and can kill you if performed incorrectly even once. There is some evidence to suggest that the length of one's swoop isn't greatly increased by exceeding 180 degree turns.
  46. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    7/4/1999 Egorievsk, Russia LOWT 35 200 ?/?    
    Description: The jumper performed an intentional low turn close to the ground (~30m) while flying a Velocity 111 loaded at 1.8+ lb/ft^2. The landing was brutal. He died at the hospital 3 weeks later. He tried to jump a Stilleto 135 at a different DZ and was turned away; after a couple jumps on the Stilleto at this DZ, he switched to the Velocity with the above outcome.
    Lessons:This canopy is so far outside the reasonable flight envelope for a jumper (ANY JUMPER) with 200 jumps, that it is hard to imagine anyone even let him jump the thing. Admittedly, there is no formal way to stop someone, but enough people saying, "Hey, Bob, you're really going to get yourself killed on that thing" might eventually get through even the thickest skull. Parachutes come in a bunch of flavors (student: Mantas, loading < 0.8; docile: PD 9 cells, loading < 1.1; Moderate: Sabre, Triathlon, loading < 1.3; High Performance: Stilleto, Diablo, Loading < 1.6; Ultra-high performance: PD Velocity, Icarus EXTreme, loading > 1.6). It's pretty wise to make a bunch of jumps (hundreds) in each category before moving up (or down) to the next category. If you jump a category, you're probably taking a significant risk. Be smart. With good instruction and supervision, it is reasonable to move from student to the low end of moderate in a hundred jumps or so. Steps up from here need to come more slowly as the cost of error increases greatly.
  47. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    7/18/1999 Dieppe, France LOWT? 31 1600 ?/?    
    DropZone.com Description:
    Lessons:
  48. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    7/31/1999 Merano, Italy LOWT 33 300 ?/?    
    Description: The jumper performed an intentional low turn close to the ground, about 100 feet to low according to the DZO. He came too close to a group of trees at about 30 feet, and snagged them with his canopy. The canopy collapsed and he fell to the ground. .
    Lessons:
  49. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    8/13/1999 Quincy, IL LOWT?,LAND? 39 190 ?/?    
    Description: The deceased was spotted in a field a ways away from the main landing areas by jumpers on another load. He was found to have landed under what was probably a properly opened main canopy, about 20 feet away from the point of impact. A low turn is a likely suspect, but without any witnesses or corroborating evidence, it may be very hard to find out what happened. He was jumping a Viper at a moderate-to-high wingloading, and did not jump that often. The 190 jumps he had made were over 5 years. The winds that day were very high, and the DZ was unfamiliar to him.

    From rec.skydiving: "According to the short form report of the pathologist's results, he died of severe thoracic trauma and lasted less than five minutes after impact. As I understand it, the extent of his injuries was such that immediate medical attention may not have saved him. The broken femur didn't help, but it wasn't the cause of death. From what I can gather, he impacted knees first at a speed consistent with an unflared landing in a turn. His chest strap and helmet were removed, and he wasn't wearing gloves. Civilians who arrived on the scene first said that he seemed to have removed his rig, taken off his helmet and gloves, laid down and died, but a closer look showed that he likely pulled off his helmet and clawed out of his harness as he succumbed to his injuries. "

    Lessons:Landing out of a main landing area is always a more hazardous landing, straight in approaches are frequently prudent, as there may be unseen obstacles and you will be without your usual altitude references. As with many incidents, there were multiple causal factors including an infrequent jumping history, an off-DZ landing, a fast canopy, high winds, and an unfamiliar DZ.
  50. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    8/21/1999 San Vincenzo, Italy LOWT 200 ?/?    
    Description: During a boogie, two jumpers decided to spot themselves over a beach, 1km from the runway. One landed without a problem; he was filming and recorded the remainder of the accident. The other did a low turn to landing (Stilleto, unknown loading), probably to turn into the wind. He impacted almost horizontally. He removed his rig, someone asked him if we was okay, and he said he was. About 5 minutes later, his speech became slurred, and he died shortly thereafter.

    This was the pair's first day at the boogie, and landing at the beach was strictly prohibited. The beach was a difficult landing area, water, 40' of sand, then pine trees, plus quite full of people.

    Lessons:These two jumpers put themselves in a known high-risk situation, and the cards came up against one of them. Demos are much more stressful than normal skydives, and should not be performed without adequate preparation and training.
  51. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    9/5/1999 Gardiner, NY LOWT 29 500 Y/N    
    Description: This jumper, visiting (recently moved?) from Russia had started jumping at this DZ a few weeks prior, using a Velocity 90 (new), an old rig and an old jumpsuit. He had the choice of landing downwind on the DZ or upwind off the DZ and, unfortunately, chose the latter, making a hard turn at tree-top level. He impacted horizontally to the ground, killing him instantly. The canopy was loaded at about 2.0 lb/ft^2. He had about 30 jumps on this canopy, was very current (350-400 jumps in the last year), had mostly jumped a Springo140 or Stiletto135 (at 1.3), and had made a few jumps on a Velocity 111. He is reported to not regularly have made intentional low turns, and to have usually jumped as a cameraman.
    Lessons:A Velocity 90 is simply not a canopy for the inexperienced, unless you perhaps weigh 100 lbs, and maybe not even then. (I don't know how they perform at lower wing loadings). With every 4-5 passing years, we are seeing a jump in canopy performance (7-cells F-111 (early 80's?), 9-cell F-111 (late 80's), zero p (early 90's), 9-cell elliptical (mid 90's), 9-cell cross-braced zero-p (late 90's)) and we see a corresponding spike in accidents. (Interestingly, it would appear that these jumps in performance are occurring at increasing rates, particularly if you include in the timeline the introduction of military rounds, PC's, hybrids (terplane, pterodactyl), primitive squares, etc. Also, what is considered "acceptable" for a new jumper has moved up this performance ladder... typically what is 2 "generations" back is considered appropriate "student" gear.). It is unclear if or how this should be policed or managed from a licensing/instructional standpoint, but it is clear that if you're thinking of going to a small, hot canopy early in your jumping career, you are taking a significant risk. Additionally, while the deceased did step up canopy sizes, he did so rather rapidly, without taking time to gain experience at each level. In particular, the failure to regularly make low turns probably did not prepare him with an understanding of how rapidly altitude can be lost in a turn.
  52. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    9/12/1999 Ailertchen, Germany LOWT 30 ?/?    
    Description: The deceased did a 180 degree turn into the low wind (5m/s) at approximately 40m. She was normally not doing low turns. The area where she tried to land was a few hundred meter away from the normal landing area and about 300 m behind some trees but still on the DZ. Maybe she tried to pass the trees and misjudged the altitude.
    Lessons:Landing in a turn is rarely a good idea…
  53. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    9/18/1999 Skydive Lake Tahoe, CA LOWT,LAND 28 200 ?/?    
    Description: This jumper was heading crosswind in light winds, and made a ~90 degree toggle turn to get back into the wind at approximately 75ft or so. (Reports from witnesses vary, indicating how hard it is to get good information. Some have claimed a 180+ turn from a downwind direction at 75 ft, but in any case, the result was the same.) He impacted while still in a turn. An ER nurse and others were on the scene in seconds, an ambulance arrived within 10 minutes, and a CareFlight helicopter about 20 minutes later. He died later that evening at the hospital. He suffered head trauma and a severely broken femur; he never regained consciousness. He was wearing a helmet of unknown type. This was probably not an intentional low turn to build up speed for landing. The turn was low enough that altitude effects (the DZ is at ~5000ft MSL) was probably irrelevant; the same turn made at sea level would have had similar repercussions. [I was a witness to this accident; that's two in one year for me.]
    Lessons:It is almost always preferable to land downwind, rather than land in a turn. Keep your awareness about you under canopy; you have to adjust your flight plan (okay, I'll go over that hangar, do downwind to about the runway, then a quick crosswind, and land by the windsock) as things change (whoa, not making much progress into the wind, better turn around earlier).
  54. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    9/26/1999 Cessnock, Australia LOWT 33 300 Y/?    
    Description: After a 4-way training jump with a short spot, this jumper had a normal canopy opening and was flying into a 5knt headwind back to the DZ. She was unable to clear fences/trees, and turned the canopy rapidly downwind at about 50ft. No flare was observed. While she was attended to by emergency personnel immediately, she passed away the following morning. The canopy was a Sabre 150, loaded at approximately 1.0 lb/ft^2. She was wearing a Factory Diver full face helmet.
    Lessons:A braked-turn to crosswind might have prevented this accident. Additionally, aiming for a sure-but-out landing area is preferable to a close-call getting back to the DZ.
  55. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    10/24/1999 Canon City, CO LOWT 34 700 ?/?    
    Description: The deceased and another jumper got out low on the sunset load of a C-206 at Canon City and were planning to jump into a smallish area surrounding the static display of the F-4 Phantom next to the entrance of the airport from the highway. Reports indicate the intended landing area is roughly football-field sized. He was jumping a Stiletto 135, loaded at 1.6 lb/ft^2. He had made about 50 jumps on this canopy, including one into the same landing area the day before. The two jumpers discussed the landing area on the way to altitude. The two jumeprs make about 100 demo jumps a year, usually using PD 235's and PD 253's. They exited and deployed their main canopies, which were both good. The first jumper landed uneventfully in the their designated landing area Witnesses said the deceased made a turn away from the demo landing area as if he was aborting, but then made a low turn back towards it. it is unclear whether he changed his mind at low altitude about his landing location, or whether he missed grabbing his front riser as planned, and reverted to making a much-too-low toggle turn instead After making this low turns, he impacted the ground (loose gravel area) while nearly horizontal from his canopy. They were both jumping in T-shirts and shorts, with no helmets. He suffered a fractured femur, fractured humerous, multiple fractures in his pelvis which caused massive internal bleeding, and serious head trauma. [Unlike previously reported, there was no brain surgery.] He went into cardiac arrest about 15 hours after the accident and died.
    Lessons:A small canopy can be very, very unforgiving. Hard turns near the ground are very risky. This is a fairly small canopy for someone with this much experience. The landing area is not exceptionally small for a canopy flown at that wingloading.
  56. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    2/17/2000 Tanacos, Portugal LOWT 46 1500 ?/?    
    Description: The jumper was about 200 feet when he made the final 180 degree turn and faced into the wind when - without any plausible or visible reason and before returning to the vertical position - he made another 180. At the moment of impact he was in the maximum accelration of the turn with the canopy lower than he was. He was one of the most popular jumpers in Portugal.
    Lessons:
  57. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    5/21/2000 Taft, CA LOWT 33 200 N/?    
    Description: This 175lb jumper made a low turn under his Sabre 150, and did not recover from the turn before impact.
    Lessons:A loading of 1.3 lb/ft^2 is aggressive and unforgiving, particularly with so little experience.
    USPA Description: After a noirmal 2-way sit-fly skydive, this jumper was seen spiraling his canopy to below 100 feet, at which point he initiated a front-riser turn. The jumper and the canopy hit the ground at the same time while still in a steep dive.
    USPA Conclusions:This jumper was apparently attempting an aggressive, high-performance landing maneuver and misjudged his altitude. The final turn prior to landing must be initiated high enough to recover to straight and level flight before initiating the landing flare. Perhaps this jumper's depth perception was distorted from the spiral before the final turn.

    This jumper weighed 185 pounds without gear, for a wing loading of 1.4 pounds per square foot, which would be considered very aggressive for his experience. The lack of helmet may have also been a factor in this fatality.

  58. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    5/28/2000 New Addington, England LOWT ?/?    
    Description: This event took place during a demonstration jump performed by a professional demonstration team. A wind drift indicator was thrown at 2000', then the Cessna 207 climbed to 3500' for the jump. The deceased was the second of six jumpers to leave the aircraft. The deceased performed solo maneuvers under canopy. He was the second jumper to land. He turned his canopy into the wind at 300' upwind of the target. He turned downwind and ran to the edge of the arena, then faced upwind again. At about 100', he did a 120 turn downwind, held that heading for 1-2 seconds, and then initiated a sharp left turn, impacting while still in the turn, having turned approximately 90 degrees.
    Lessons:Demo jumps are more stressful than typical skydives, and the pressure can result in suboptimal performance. It is possible the strong upper winds caused him to set-up for landing much too far upwind, thus requiring the extra maneuvers at low altitude.
  59. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    6/20/2000 Panama City, FL LOWT 32 300 N/Y    
    Description: This person was jumping a sabre 170 with an exit weight of over 200lbs. He exitted, planning to swoop, but found himself too low after several spirals, and buried a toggle to try to get back into this wind. He didn't make it.
    Lessons:I blew a landing with a similar canopy and similar experience. I was in the hospital for a week. It can happen -- be careful.
    USPA Description: This jumper exited from 3,000 feet AGL and deployed his main for a normal opening at 2,500 feet. After several spirals to the left, he was observed hedaing downwind when he made a hard, right hand toggle turn at approximately 60 feet. The jumper impacted the ground at an angle between 30 and 45 degrees and came to rest 45 feet from the point of initial impact.
    USPA Conclusions:This jumper apparently was attempting to build speed in his last turn for a high-performance landing, but he misjudged the altitude and turned too low. Any turn prior to landing must be initiated at an altitude that allows recovery to straight and level flight before beginning the landing flare.

    It's possible that this jumper became disorientated during the hard spirals before he turned downwind. It could have affected his depth perception.

    Most jumpers would consider his experience level very low to attempt this type of maneuver. Worse, this jumper weighed 215 pounds without gear, loading this 170-square-foot canopy at approximately 1.4 pounds per sqaure foot. This canopy is no longer sold, so it is not a new design. Regardless, his canopy choice would have to be termed aggressive, considering his lack of experience.

  60. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    6/24/2000 Chico, MT LOWT 39 ?/?    
    Description: With light to moderate winds, this skydiver made an intentional turn low to the ground to pick up speed for landing. The turn was executed too low, and he impacted at a high rate of speed. He died in the helicopter on the way to the hospital, despite near-immediate attention from two doctors present at the DZ.
    Lessons:An error, or unexpected turbulence, when making a low turn can kill you.
    USPA Description: After a normal opening and canopy flight, this jumper executed a front-riser turn at a low altitude that continued psat 180 degrees before impact. The DZ field elevation was above 5,000 feet MSL. He was transported by helicopter and died on the way to the hospital.
    USPA Conclusions:The experience level of the jumper was not reported, nor was the numberof jumps he had made flying this or other highly-wing-loaded, tapered canopies. His wing loading on this tapered canopy was estimated at 1.5 pounds per square foot, which is the manufacturer's maximum recommended wing loading for an expert jumping this model size.

    When a turn is made to induce speed prior to landing (high-performance landing), it must be executed high enough for the canopy to return to straight and level flight before the flare for landing.

    Additional care must be taken when ladning at a DZ with a higher altitude above sea level than a jumper may be used to. Manufacturers' specifications and recommendations are often based on data gathered at sea level. It was not reported whether the jumper was from that area or familiar with landing at such a high field elevation.

  61. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    7/15/2000 Humacao, Puerto Rico LOWT 27 1000 Y/N    
    Description: This person, an instructor, was performing a low turn prior to landing. He apparently dropped one of his toggles, and was unable to perform a good flare, and hit the ground at an estimated 40mph. He did not survive. Video indicated that he did not keep his toggle buried in his palm, but rather had it only at his fingertips.
    Lessons:Something as simple as dropping a toggle can kill you in the wrong circumstances. It's a mistake you simply cannot make if you choose to make low turns prior to landing.
    USPA Description: This AFF jumpmaster was jumping with a level 4 AFF student. The freefall and initial canopy descent was uneventful. At approximately 300 feet, the AFF jumpmaster made a turn and was facing into the wind for landing. He failed to flare prior to landing, struck the ground and came to rest 45 feet from the initial point of contact.
    USPA Conclusions:The degree of turn that was initiated or the method of control input at the estimated 300 feet was not reported. The estimated wing loading on this elliptical canopy was 1.4:1. A witness reported that the toggles were not in the hands of the jumper during the final part of the landing, nor was any attempt made to land with rear risers.

    Jumpers must be aware that control of the canopy must be kept at all times, especially a highly-wing-loaded elliptical during the last 300 feet. Front-riser maneuvers, for example, must be made with toggles in hand. A jumper performing any kind of diving maneuver near the ground must also be familiar with all the canopy controls, including rear risers, and prepared to use them as needed.

    Having his hands out of the toggles and not using back risers kept this jumper from being able to safely flare and land his canopy.

  62. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    7/21/2000 Kapowsin, WA LOWT 25 1200 ?/?    
    Description: The deceased was visiting from his home DZ (Skydive Orange), and completed a 45 degree low front-riser turn into the main landing area, impacting without any flare, 75' shy of the pea gravel pit. Another report (from a video tape of the landing) indicates it was a 90 degree turn, and that he almost hit the peas, coming to rest right next to them. He was flying a Stiletto 120/135, and weighed in the neighborhood of 160lbs. He had a compound femur fracture and multiple internal injuries. This landing area is on a slight incline and is restricted to C-license holders and above. He was removed from life support 2 days after the accident.
    Lessons:A foreign DZ can present new challenges. It is possible the slight hill and/or target fixation played a role in this accident.
  63. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    8/6/2000 Crete, NE LOWT 43 100 N/Y    
    Description: The deceased made an uneventful 2-way jump from a Cessna 182. After making a left turn onto what appeared to be final approach, he made a further 360 degree right turn, and impacted while still in the turn. The main was a falcon; one person suggested he might have been trying to hit the peas to "make his 100th jump more special."
    Lessons:Don't land in a turn. It is essential to recognize that a poorly flown canopy can kill you as surely as a poorly driven car. Wingloading would be interesting to know here. Target fixation (focusing on the target and not on the periphery) may have been a problem here.
  64. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    9/9/2000 Calgary Parachute Club, AlbertaCanada LOWT 30 ?/?    
    Description: Died in hospital from injuries sustained during a low turn.
    Lessons:
  65. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    12/31/2000 Zephyrhills, FL LOWT 42 1000 Y/?    
    Description: This jumper, visiting from out of town, executed a turn prior to landing, but it was too low to be completed. He was running downwind from the fueling area over Manifest, the covered area, and the packing place. At what looked to be about 75 feet, he cleared the packing tent and made about a 120 degree turn back into the wind towards the mockup and loading area. There is a new swoop pond that runs the length of the packing tents and it is possible that his fixation on avoiding both it and the packing tents contributed to his losing track of altitude. His Stiletto 120 hit the ground just a split second after he did. His full-face Oxygn helmet was filled with blood when it was removed in order to try to restore breathing. Based on the profuse blood on his jumpsuit and the ground where he lay, he likely had a compound fracture of the femur as well. The impact was heard and felt by everybody on the DZ. Despite immediate medical attention and transportation by medical helicopter from the scene, he passed away several hours later at the hospital.
    Lessons:The ground remains as unforgiving as ever. You simply cannot, must not, land in a turn.
    USPA Description: After a 14-way formation skydive, this jumper was seen flying his canopy with fast toggle turns all the way to the ground. He hit the ground while still in a turn. He was airlifted from the drop zone and died a few hours later in hospital.
    USPA Conclusions:It is not known why this jumper continued turning his canopy until hitting the ground. Highly-loaded canopies continue to injure and kill many jumpers who misjudge their landings. Turns must be completed with enough altitude to allow the canopy to return to straight and level flight before the flare.
  66. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    4/15/2001 Skydive Dallas, TX LOWT 38 1 Y/Y    
    Description: This student was making his first skydive (AFF Level I), and deployed his parachute at the correct altitude. The radio was on, as he responded to radio commands from the ground. At about 100ft from the ground, instead of raising his hands for full flight, he stayed in deep brakes. The wind was strong enough to back him up towards the hangar. People were motioning and yelling at him to raise his arms, and the same commands were given over the radio. He caught the hanger out of the corner of his eye, and turned his head to look it at, and thus turned the canopy towards the hanger. He struck one of the support beams of the hanger at high speed, killing him.
    Lessons:
    USPA Description: After an uneventfull freefall and initial canopy descent, this first-time jump student was on final approach near a hangar. The surface winds were reported at 16 mph. He flared at 50 feet and turned crosswind, which pushed him into the side of the hangar at a 45-degree angle. The impact with the hangar resulted in fatal injuries to his head and possibly neck.
    USPA Conclusions:The student was reportedly responding slowly to radio commands, which put him further downwind than intended. Although he was close the hangar, he was clear of the obstacle. When he turned his head to look at the hangar, his canopy began a turn in that direction, sending him crosswind and into the side of the hangar. Apparently, the student initieated the turn into the direction he was looking, rather than steering straight ahead into the clear area.
    This drop zone had filed a waiver to the USPA Basic Safety Requirements to jump in winds up to 16 mph. (The BSRs otherwise limit students to 14 mph.) The Skydiver's Information Manual, Section 4.19, states that "before the jump, the student should … have a flight plan established to guide the canopy without assistance. Ground-to-air radios and signals are commonly used but should only be considered as a back-up to good training.
    In the USPA Integrated Student Program, students in Category A (first jump) are cautioned that "jumpers landing away from the planned landing area may have to make their own correct decisions to land in a safe area." The ISP also states that students making "jumps in Category A and B should be limited to calmer conditions.
  67. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    5/13/2001 Neuhausen (Cottbus), Germany LOWT 100 /    
    DropZone.com Description:
    Lessons:
    Fallschirmsportverband Description: - jumped with rented gear 135 sq. ft.
    - jumper got a briefing from an instructor, no clear wind direction, some thermal activity
    - after a 90 Degrees turn out of his crosswind aproach, he went into his final aproach and was seen to make landing preparations
    - at about 15 to 20m with no apparent obstacles he started a hard left turn (about 70% toogle input) obstacles and hit the ground.
    - Death by neck fracture.
    Fallschirmsportverband Conclusions:
  68. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    6/9/2001 Pepperell, MA LOWT 41 920 Y/Y    
    Description: This jumper was making a hop and pop, jumping a Stilleto 150 in a borrowed Javelin container. He had made at least 20 jumps on this canopy in the last 8 days, 4 on the day of the incident, and had owned the canopy for about a month. It was heavily loaded at perhaps 1.5 lb/ft^2. He made a toggle turn - too low - to final, impacted hard on grass/gravel, and bounced approximately 27 before stopping on tarmac. The impact was legs first, then head, causing significant trauma. He was not known for typically making high-performance landings. The head injuries were serious, and he was removed from life support without regaining consciousness about 3 days later. He normally jumped with a helmet, but did not do so for this hop and pop skydive.
    Lessons:
    USPA Description: This jumper made a solo skydive from 5,000 feet to open high and spend time flying his new canopy. He made a turn to final of less than 90 degrees and hit the ground before completing the turn or flaring. He suffered head and neck trauma and died after he was removed from life support several days later.
    USPA Conclusions:This jumper had made approximately 40 jumps on this canopy, which he was jumping at a wing loading of approximately 1.5. His previous canopy experience was not reported. Jumpers who are changing canopies should receive training and guidance from experienced canopy pilots regarding the flight characteristics of the canopies they are learning to fly. Turns must be finished with enough altitude to flare the canopy before landing.
  69. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    7/7/2001 Rheine (Eschendorf), Germany LOWT 300 ?/?    
    Description: No other information besides the fact it was a low turn, and that he passed away about a week later at hospital.
    Lessons:More information appreciated.
    Fallschirmsportverband Description: - After a normal deployment and canopy ride (with demo flag) the jumper flew crosswind at about 50m altitude.
    - At about 15-20m he atempted a 270 Degree turn (!!!) to start his final aproach into the wind.
    - He could not finish his turn and hit the ground hard after 180 Degrees of his turn.
    - 2 Days later he died of internal injuries.
    Fallschirmsportverband Conclusions:
  70. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    7/28/2001 Beiseker, Canada LOWT 34 1 Y?/Y?    
    Description: For reasons as yet unknown, the deceased made a sharp low turn (more than a 360!), and hit the ground while still turning.
    Lessons:More info appreciated.
  71. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    8/2/2001 Monroe, GA LOWT 39 600 ?/?    
    Description: After making a solo skydive from 5500', this jumper made a radical low turn for final approach and did not have time to recover before striking the ground, and then the wingtip of a parked aircraft. He passed away about 6 hours later from severe head trauma and internal injuries.
    Lessons:The usual: don't land in a turn. High speed approaches can be risky!
    USPA Description: After an uneventful freefall and initial canopy descent, this jumper made what the reporter called a "radical" turn for final approach. He hit the ground and then a parked aircraft while still in the turn. He died several hours later from internal injuries.
    USPA Conclusions:The rport says that this was thought to have been an intentional high-performance landing by turning the canopy at a low altitude to gain speed. Jumpers who wish to make high-performance landings need to receive proper training in high-performance canopy flying. These types of maneuvers are often fatal when misjudged, when the slightest mistake is made or when an unforseeable circumstance arise during te swoop (dropped or broken toggle, incursion, turbulence, etc.).
    All jumpers should seek competent advice regarding canopy flying in all areas to be better prepared andeducated about how to fly their canopies, regardless of the size or design of the parachute. This is even more important for those interested in high-performance landings.
    Ultimately on every jump, the canopy must be at straight and level flight for the landing flare before reaching the ground.
  72. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    8/26/2001 Gardiner, NY LOWT 41 3300 ?/N    
    Description: This jumper was participating in a swoop competition, and set up for her turn over a treeline. During the steep critical middle part of her turn, the left side of her canopy collapsed and reinflated 3 times. She lost all true forward flight and had only the momentum left from her turn. She impacted in a slight turn caused by lack of left cells causing the right side to continue flight. Her body was at about a 30 degree angle when she hit. Time from cell disturbance to impact was approximately 1 second. Observers reported they thought perhaps lines had broken in order to have caused such an extreme reaction from the canopy. Other jumpers had noticed the turbulence near the treeline, but had not had such a dramatic canopy response. She was jumping an Icarus Crossfire 89 - an elliptical 9-cell canopy - loaded at 1.4 lb/ft^2. The manufacturer recommends a loading from 1.0 to 2.0 lb-ft^2.
    Lessons:Low turns, done to increase airspeed prior to landing in order to allow high speed canopy flight along the ground, involve exposure to significant risk. Canopy collapse due to turbulence is hard to prevent in general, except by avoiding exposure to situations where it can occur. There is some evidence that higher wingloadings can prevent canopy collapse from turbulence because of the increased pressure inside the cells, but the price for this benefit includes more radical malfunction modes and a higher price for small landing errors.
    Description: This jumpre was participating in a pond swooping competition. She executed a front-riser turn onto final approach toward the pond. As the canopy began to level out, it appeared to collapse on the left side, rapidly dropping her three times in quick succession. She hit the ground hard and rolled into the pond before coming to a stop.
    Conclusions:
  73. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    9/23/2001 St. Thomas, Virgin Islands LAND?, LOWT?, EXC 63 4000 ?/?    
    Description: Information is sparse, but it appears this jumper made a low turn without sufficient altitude to recover while making a demonstration jump into a festival.
    Lessons:Demo skydives present additional hazards. It is unclear wether this low turn was done in order to make a high-performance landing, or if it was "accidental", such as when avoiding an obstacle.
    USPA Description: This jumper was making a demonstration jump onto a crowded beach during a festival. He traveled downwind over the crowd at a reported 40 mph and was observed to make a turn at 50 feet in an apparent attempt to land into the wind. He reportedly struck the ground at the same time as the canopy and died in the hospital a few hours later as a result of the hard landing.
    USPA Conclusions:There was very little reported about the specifics of this fatality. One eyewitness said he heard the jumper yelling for people to get out of the way prior to his final turn.
    This jumper, although very experienced, did not hold a USPA PRO Rating. It appears as though there was a very small landing area established on the beach for this jump. There may have been inadequate ground crew to keep a clear area for the landing. And winds may have been too strong for a jump of this nature (the witnes reported the jumper was traveling 40 mph downwind).
    With so little information reported, there can only be speculation, but it seems that there was a lack of landing options for this jump into a crowded area. The jumper may have been trying to land in the only area he had available, which may have been too far downwind for him to reach a safe altitude.
    Demonstration jumps should be carefully planned and allow for different landing options to meet the circumstances that may unexpectedly arise. A fully trained ground crew, which has enough members to handle the crowd control, must be in place for demonstration jumps. Demonstration jumpers must be willing to cancel a jump if any safety measure is compromised.
  74. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    2/20/2002 Skydive Spaceland, TX LOWT 28 270 N/N    
    Description: After an uneventful hop and pop from a Cessna 182, this jumper initiated a hard front riser turn at ~80ft while heading downwind. He had completed the turn and had transitioned to pulling both front risers down when he impacted the group. He has unresponsive for perhaps 10 minutes, and received immediate medical care from an EMT who was present at the scene. He died about 2 weeks later at hospital. He was jumping a Sabre 120, loaded at perhaps 1.5 lb/ft^2 or more. There was no canopy traffic, and the landing area was wide an open. He had not attemped many high performance landings in the past, though he had briefly discussed how to do them with an instructor.
    Lessons:Learning to make high-performance landings is a high-risk endeavor. It is probably best learned with larger canopies (1.1-1.3lb/ft^2) before moving to more heavily loaded ones. additionally, shallow turns or even straight in approaches should be mastered before moving to 180's.
    USPA Description: Following this jumper's uneventful freefall and initial canopy descent, witnesses estimated that he initiated a front-riser turn between 75 and 125 feet above the ground and then pulled both front risers "to his chest", according to the report. At that point, he struck the ground. The jumper's helmet-mounted video camera recorded the descent and clearly showed what had occurred.

    He suffered multiple fractures and internal injuries, including two broken femurs, a broken back,a torn aorta, a ruptured spleen and a damaged kidney. He was airlifted to a hospital, where he survived on life support for nearly a month. He died shortly after it was withdrawn.

    USPA Conclusions:This relatively low-experienced jumper was trying to make a high-performance landing without any reported training under a parachute that proved too small for him to handle. His exit weight was 200 pounds, and he was jumping a 120-square-foot canopy. That calculates to a 1.67:1 wing loading. The jumper outweighed the "expert" category the manufacturer recommends for that canopy by 35 pounds and the manufacturer's maximum suspended eight by 20 pounds. The local DZ staff and experienced jumpers had reportedly warned this individual on several occasions about his canopy control.

    Jumpers need to thoroughly understand their current canopies before deciding to downsize. Jumpers who wish to perform high-performance landings should accept advice and receive training from an experienced canopy specialist, which could ofset some of the extreme risk of this activity.

    In any event, jumpers must complete all turns under canopy with enough altitude to return to straight and level flight before the time to begin the landing flare.

  75. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    3/3/2002 Castellon, Spain LOWT, LAND 176 ?/?    
    DropZone.com Description:
    Lessons:
    Fallschirmsportverband Description: - Jump from a Ce 208 - at about 1000m main was deployed; because of the difficult wind situation he did not land on the dropzone. He landed at the beach. - On final aproach he made a turn to avoid a wire obstacle and with the relatively small canopy uncontrolably hit a wall - heavy head and chest injuries, died in hospital after emergency surgery.
    Fallschirmsportverband Conclusions:
  76. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    3/30/2002 Netheravon, England LOWT 54 5000 ?/?    
    Description: This skydiver made an uneventful free fall descent (a 4-way RW jump), deployed his main parachute at a suitable altitude, remained ?up wind? of the intended landing area until he commenced the final ?down wind leg? of the descent. At a very low altitude, approximately 50ft he initiated a radical left turn in order to face into wind for landing. He then struck the ground at high speed before completing the turn. {Taken from the BPA committee report at: http://www.bpa.org.uk/safetydocs/STC%2011%2004%2002.doc)
    Lessons:Errors in judgement when making low turns can kill. Still.
  77. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    4/14/2002 Skydive Spaceland, TX LOWT 32 200 Y/N   #127275
    Description: This jumper was participating in a high performance ("swoop") canopy landing competition. He was jumping a Cobalt 120, at an agrressive 1.7 lb/ft^2 loading which he had recently down-sized to. He had made several practice jumps next to the ditch during the weekend without incident. During these jumps, we was observed to still be increasing the rate of turn and decent during the last 90 degrees of the turn, and thus getting into the corner. On the jump in question he was seen hovering in one spot prearing to swoop, and then he performed a hard 360 degree turn (riser/togger not specified), and impacted the ground near the water (a 350'x30' ditch) while still in a dive, at a 30 degree angle, making no attempt to flare out of the dive. It is surmised he either intended to swoop the ground (acceptable under competition rules) or misjudged his approach. There was a brisk 45 degree crosswind during the competition. He passed away about a month later in a nearby hospital. There were several lower-time jumpers (400-800) in the competition, and a serious safety briefing was held.
    Lessons:Swoop landing is a special dicipline in skydiving, with it's own risks. Coaching and instruction is helpful when learning this, and any, skill. One possible explanation for this is target fixation, brought on by the additional intensity of competition.
    USPA Description: This jumper was participating in a pond swooping competition. After an uneventful freefall and initial canopy descent, he initiated a 360-dgree trun at an altitude estimated at 300 feet or less. He struck the ground before the canopy could be returned to level flight, resulting in multiple fractures and internal injuries. He was airlifted from the scene by helicopter and survived several surgeries in the following weeks. He died of heart failure three weeks after the accident.
    USPA Conclusions:This relatively low-experienced jumper was flying a canopy with a wing loading of 1.83:1. The canopy manufacturer states that this wing loading is for a "pro" level of experience. The jumper had stated to others before the jump that he was going to attempt a 360-degree final turn.

    Jumpers who wish to make high-performance landings must approach high-performance canopy flight with extreme caution, using a structured process with the guidance of an experienced canopy specialist. Inthis case, there was no mention of his previous canopy landing experience.

    Jumpers must complete all turns under canopy with enough altitude to return to straight and level flight before beginning the landing flare.

  78. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    7/4/2002 Skydive New England, NE LOWT 24 201 Y/?   #172848
    DropZone.com Description:
    Lessons:
    USPA Description: After a group freefall jump, this jumper was engaging in canopy formation activity. After breaking off, she attempted to make it back to the drop zone but apparently she could not. Witnesses reported that she made an aggressive turn at treetop level. She was found by a road at the edge of the intended drop zone. She had evidently struck the ground hard, and she died several hours after the accident.
    USPA Conclusions:Investigators believe that this jumper was trying to avoid power lines by making a turn at the last second, which resulted in the hard landing. The injuries sustained were not reported. However, she was wearing a leather frsap hat, which would provide minimal head protection against a hard landing.
    After opening, jumpers should make landing in a clear area their first priority. When making off-landings, it is better to choose the center of the largest field available than to land near a road or house that may have power lines nearby. It was reported that more suitable landing areas farther from the intended DZ may have been available to her.
    Power lines can be difficult to see until the jumper is very close to them. Once she was faced with an obstacle requiring that she turn the canopy at low altitude, a braked turn may have been a better option.
  79. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    7/14/2002 Skydive Chicago, IL LOWT 33 1500 ?/?   #176533
    Description: Passmore was the final diver and as he came in, he made a sharp hook turn and pancaked onto the water, severing his aorta and causing numerous other internal injuries, according to the autopsy report.
    Lessons:
    USPA Description: After an eventful freefall and initial canopy descent, this jumper attempted to swoop a pond by making a low toggle turn at approximately 50 to 60 feet. He narrowly missed a dock and struck the water hard while nearly level with the canopy. He was pulled from the water immediately and received CPR from a jumper, who was also a doctor, until the ambulance arrived. However, he died as a result of the injuries sustained from the hard impact with the water.
    USPA Conclusions:This jumper was attempting to swoop a pond that was surrounded by trees and buildings, which limimted his options for his approach to the water. It was reported that he had very little experience with high-performance landings. Jhis final turn at such a low altitude (50 to 60 feet) was too low for the canopy to return to straight and level flight before he impacted the water.
    During a high-spoeed impact, landing in water may not prevent seriou sinjuries. Jumpers who are attempting difficult landings must be aware of the risks of limiting their landing options. They need to be able to abort the attempt with enough altitude to make a safe landing in a clear area if there is any problem with the approach.
  80. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    7/14/2002 Hinton, England LOWT 32 432 ?/?    
    DropZone.com Description:
    Lessons:
    BPA Description: was critically injured performing a low turn, on the 14th July. She died from her injuries on the 21st July.

    Circulated to those present was a Board of Inquiry Report resume, including the Conclusions and Recommendations of the Board, which consisted of the NCSO & Technical Officer. This report needs to be formally accepted by STC.

    At approximately 11:20 hrs on Sunday 14th July 2002, Rachel Louise Gray boarded a LET 410 along with sixteen other parachutists, which was to be the 4th parachuting lift of the day for that aircraft.

    The aircraft climbed to approximately 12,000ft AGL. A ‘jump run’ was made over the centre of the PLA. Once the aircraft was at the correct EP approximately half the parachutists on board exited. The aircraft then completed a second circuit and ‘ran in’ over the PLA again. Once over the correct EP the remainder of the parachutists exited, with Rachel being the first to leave.

    Rachel Gray was carrying out a solo jump. Her canopy was seen to deploy at the correct altitude, (between 2-3000ft AGL), and was seen to be flying correctly.

    BPA Conclusions:The Conclusions of the Board are that Rachel made an uneventful free fall decent. Deployed her main parachute at the correct altitude, and remained in a suitable area above the intended landing area. At a very low altitude, approximately 100ft AGL, she initiated a radical left turn, having been facing in a northerly direction, in order to face south for landing. She then struck the ground at high speed before fully completing the turn.

    There had been very little wind at the time of the accident and all parachutists on board the aircraft had been instructed, prior to take off, by the CCI to land facing in a southerly direction.

    Prior to the accident Rachel had completed only three jumps during 2002. These had all been within the previous six weeks. With 432 jumps, she was an experienced parachutist. However, the Board believes that this lack of currency, together with the low wind speed, may have contributed to Rachel making the incorrect decision to turn so low to the ground.

    At approximately 100ft AGL Rachel’s canopy, which was flying in a northerly direction, was observed to make a radical left turn, impacting with the ground before the turn was completed.

  81. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    7/18/2002 Conneticut Parachutes Incoporated, CT LOWT 34 500 ?/?   #178694
    DropZone.com Description:
    Lessons:
  82. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    7/27/2002 Hibaldstow, England LOWT 24 ?/?    
    DropZone.com Description:
    Lessons:
    BPA Description: At approximately 06.45 hrs on Saturday 27th July 2002, Oliver Reynolds boarded an SMG-92 aircraft along with nine other parachutists, which was to be the first lift of the day for that aircraft.

    This lift was the start of the first ‘round’ of the British National Championships in FS and Oliver was a member of a 4-way team taking part.

    The aircraft climbed to 10,500ft AGL. A ‘jump run’ was made over the centre of the PLA. When the aircraft was over the ‘exit point’, Oliver, along with his four fellow team members exited in order to carry out their planned FS jump. The remaining parachutists exited shortly after.

    The free fall part of the descent went without incident, during which a number of FS manoeuvres were completed. At approximately 4,000ft AGL the parachutists separated and deployed their parachutes between 2 - 3,000ft AGL.

    All parachutes deployed normally and Oliver’s parachute appeared to be flying correctly. At approximately 200ft AGL his parachute was observed to be flying over the landing area designated for Experienced Parachutists, approximately 100 metres from the parachute centre buildings and control point. At a very low altitude Oliver’s parachute was seen to make a radical turn, either left or right, (there was some confliction between witnesses as to the direction of turn). The parachute completed approximately 180° of the turn, at which point he impacted with the ground.

    BPA Conclusions:The Conclusions of the Board are that Oliver made an uneventful free fall descent, deployed his main parachute at the correct altitude, remained in a suitable area in order to land in the intended landing area. At a very low altitude he initiated a radical turn in order to face into wind for landing, though there was very little wind and a satisfactory landing could have been achieved facing in any direction. He then struck the ground at high speed before fully completing the turn.

    The Board do not know why Oliver made such a radical turn so close to the ground and can only conclude that he was not aware of how low he was prior to initiating the turn, or that he may have felt he could have executed the turn successfully.

  83. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    8/5/2002 Rantoul, IL LOWT 45 170 Y/Y   #602650
    Description: He was jumping a Vengance 170 and I would estimate his weight at 220lb? It almost appeared as if he was intending to splash in to the pond rather than swoop it. It was very hot out that day and it was the last jump. He was still well into a turn when he hit with now attempt to save himself. He pulled his arms and legs in a tuck before he struck the water
    Lessons:
    USPA Description: After an uneventful freefall and initial canopy descent, this jumper made a 30-dgree final turn in an attempt to swoop over an artifical pond. He hit the water while still in the turn. Witnesses reported that there was no attempt to flare the canopy before impact with the water. He was pulled from the water, and CPR was administered immediately, but he died as a result of the injuries sustained from the hard landing.
    USPA Conclusions:The exit weight for the deceased placed him in the "expert" category recommended by the manufacturer for the canopy he was jumping. His total number of jumps was 170, which few jumpers would consider expert. His previous experience and training were not reported.
    Swoop ponds may give jumpers a false sense of security, thinking that if they miscalculate the final turn, the water will keep them from getting injured or killed. At higher speeds, water landings can be just as dangerous as dry land. Turns must be completed with enough altitude for the jumper to return to straight and level flight for the landing flare.
  84. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    9/10/2002 Skydive The Ranch, NJ LOWT 24 160 N/Y   #212392
    DropZone.com Description:
    Lessons:
    USPA Description: After an uneventful freefall and initial canopy descent, this jumper made a low final turn and truck the ground before flaring the canopy. He died later that day from head injuries sustained from the landing.
    USPA Conclusions:This jumper had a relatively low experience level for jumping a parachute at a wing loading estimated at 1.3:1. He hit the ground hard without flaring the canopy after making a 90-degree turn. Witnesses reported that the final turn was not a "hard" turn but did increase the forward speed of the canopy and that a flare would have provided enough lift to lessen the injuries. He struck the ground first with his feet, then knees, chest and head but sustained no broken bones. He was wearing a full-face helmet but still suffered head trauma from the landing.
    Turns must be completed with enough altitude for the parachute to return to straight and level flight for the landing flare. Jumpers must be prepared to use proper parachute landing falls in the event of any hard landings.
  85. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    1/6/2003 Nagambie, Australia LOWT 40 1300 ?/?   #335961
    Description: After filming a tandem the jumper "landed very hard while still in a turn"
    Lessons:
  86. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    4/18/2003 Weston-on-the-Green, England LOWT 28 63 ?/?   #452520
    Description: On a windy day, this jumper appears to have made a low turn in an effort to face into wind for landing.
    Lessons:Landing crosswind or even downwind is preferable to landing in a turn.
    BPA Description: At approximately 12.15 hrs on Friday 18th April 2003, the deceased, an FAI ‘B’ Certificate parachutist, with 63 jumps, boarded a Dornier G92 aircraft at RAFSPA along with thirteen other parachutists. He was part of a four-way group intending to make an FS descent.

    The aircraft climbed to approximately 12,000ft AGL. A ‘jump run’ was made over the PLA. When the aircraft was over the ‘exit point’, a group of four parachutists exited the aircraft, followed by a group of two parachutists. The deceased, along with three fellow parachutists, then exited as a group of four. They were followed shortly after by the remaining four parachutists on board.

    The free fall part of the descent went without incident, during which a number of FS manoeuvres were completed. At approximately 4,000ft AGL the parachutists separated and deployed their parachutes between 2 - 3,000ft AGL.

    All parachutes deployed normally and the deceased’s parachute appeared to be flying correctly. At some stage his parachute was seen to fly past the intended landing area and at approximately 100ft AGL was observed to be facing the parachute into wind, approximately 100 metres short (down wind) of the intended landing area. His parachute was then seen to make a sharp left hand turn, completing approximately 90° before impacting with a concrete area of the ground.

    BPA Conclusions:A BPA Board of Inquiry was formed, consisting of Tony Butler and Tony Goodman. During the investigation, it was noted that three of the plastic connector link protection ‘tubes’ on the main parachute had been ripped and damaged, probably over a period of many jumps and the fourth ‘tube’, on the right front riser, was intact, but was positioned approximately half way down the riser.

    Following the investigation, the Board came to the following Conclusions:

    The deceased made an uneventful free fall descent. He deployed his main parachute at the correct altitude. He remained upwind for the majority of the descent. He over-flew the intended landing area and because of the wind strength and/or possibly due to a lack of judgement, ended up too far down-wind to enable him to get back to the intended landing area.

    Being over an area which contained a number of minor hazards, the Board believe that he then decided to pull down on both his front risers, in an effort to gain extra ‘drive’ in the hope of landing closer to his original intended landing area.

    The Board believe that when he pulled his front risers down, he may have also pulled on the right connector link protection ‘tube’ and pulled it loose from the connector link. The riser may then have slipped up, through the ‘tube’, having the same effect as releasing that riser, which could have caused a very sharp turn to the left.

    It is also possible that he could have made a sharp intentional turn to the left, though the Board believe this is unlikely. It is also possible that as he was nearing the ground, he may have been distracted, acknowledging a friend who was below him, though, it is unlikely that this would have affected the outcome of this tragic accident.

  87. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    4/26/2003 Monroe, GA LOWT 62 1673 Y/?   #461553
    Description: This experienced jumper was on the first load in "tricky" winds with an off DZ spot. He was seen initiating a hard toggle turn at approximately 100 feet to avoid an unknown obstacle.
    Lessons:
    USPA Description: After an uneventful 10-way group freefall skydive and routine deployment, this jumper was faced with an off-field landing. At an altitude estimated between 60 and 80 feet, he made a hard 180-degree right turn and struck the ground at the same time as the canopy. The jumper broke his neck upon landing.
    USPA Conclusions:Three other jumpers in the same group landed safely in a nearby field. Witnesses observed this jumper turning left and right at apporximately 200 feet as if trying to decide where to land. It is not clear whether the jumper was trying to steer in the wind or avoid obstacles, but for whatever reason, he made an aggressive turn too low for the canopy to recover before landing. Neither the jumper's canopy size nor wing loading was reported.
    Faced with a bad spot, jumpers should plan high enough to fly a safe landing approach into a clear area. Turns must be completed in time for the canopy to recover to straight and level flight for the landing flare.
  88. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    5/4/2003 Skydive Zurich, Switzerland LOWT ?/?   #473415
    Description: The jumper was part of a 6 way formation skydive that broke off at 1200 metres. AT approximately 100 metres, the jumper performed a 180 degree turn to face back into wind. With insufficient height to complete the turn, she hit the ground at the same time as the canopy. Despite extraordinary medical assistance, she succumbed to her injuries in hospital.
    Lessons:
  89. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    5/5/2003 CEPS de l'Arieg, France LOWT 38 227 ?/?    
    Description: The jumper had approximately 30 jumps under his new canopy in the preceeding 3 weeks. He did a low 180 turn to get back into the wind and impacted violently. He died from injuries 1 hour later.
    Lessons:Wings level for landing! Don't be afraid to land across or even down-wind with a good Parachute Landing Fall
  90. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    6/5/2003 Lochen, Austria LOWT 28 ?/?    
    Description: During practice for the Euopean accuracy championships, the jumper's canopy collapsed during a low turn. The jumper hit the ground hard and his neck was broken.
    Lessons:
  91. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    6/6/2003 Pepperell, MA LOWT 40 228 Y/N   #511936
    Description: It appears the jumper performed a low-turn trying to return from a long spot.
    Lessons:
    USPA Description: After a long climbout with a group of jumpers exiting a Twin Otter, this jumper and one other jumper decided to land off the drop zone in the same field. The other jumper landed without incident. Witnesses observed this jumper make a radical 270-degree turn at a low altitude, causing him to strike the ground hard while still in a turn. He suffered multiple leg fractures, a shattered pelvis and internal injuries from the hard landing. Although the jumper received immediate medical attention at the scene, he died later that day in a nearby hospital.
    USPA Conclusions:The jumper was apparently trying to avoid a small wire that ran approximately 25 feet above the ground through the middle of the field where he chose to land. With his estimated exit weight at 245 pounds, his wing loading was 1.3:1, higher than the manufacturer recommends for an expert under this canopy.
    Jumpers need to consider the consequences of jumping parachutes at high wing loadings. Canopy control issues may not arise until the jumper is presented with a landing challenge, such as landing off the drop zone or dealing with heavy canopy traffic.
    Jumpers should plan landing patterns into clear, open areas free of obstacles. USPA's Integrated Student Program teaches braked turns and approaches to prepare jumpers for landing in a variety of conditions. A properly performed braked turn results in far less altitude loss than a single-toggle turn, making it a safer option for unplanned heading changes at low altitudes. Jumpers must complete all turns with enough altitude for the canopy to return to straight and level flight for the landing flare.
  92. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    6/29/2003 Northeast Pennsylvania Ripcords Inc, PA LOWT 26 94 Y/Y   #546795
    Description: The jumper turned low perhaps to avoid an obstacle or to turn back into wind and impacted on tarmac.
    Lessons:
    USPA Description: After an uneventful freefall and initial canopy descent, this jumper was observed making a 180-degree turn at a low altitude and struck the ground at a high rate of speed before the turn was completed. He died at the scene from injuries sustained during the landing.
    USPA Conclusions:This jumper had recent;y returned to the sport after a long winter layoff. His previous canopy control was described as conservative. After he approached the landing area downwind, he apparently attempted to face into the wind for his landing, initiating a 180-degree turn at an extremely low altitude.
    It was not reported whether there were any obstacles that may have prevented him from landing crosswind or downwind. Winds were reported to be six to eight mph. His wing loading was estimated at 1.1:1, a wing loading that the manufacturer considers advanced.
    The USPA Integrated Student Program teaches students about wing loading and its effects to help them make informed choices about the equipment they will use as experienced jumpers. ISP students also learn braked turns and braked approaches through ground training and canopy exercises in flight. These exercises are designed to teach canopy control in braked flight and the benefit og altitude-conserving braked turns.
    Jumpers should plan landing patterns that allow for landings into clear areas free of obstacles. Turns must be completed with enough altitude for the canopy to return to straight and level flight for the landing flare.
  93. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    7/5/2003 Carolina Skysports, NC LOWT 26 800 Y/N   #555670
    Description: The jumper performed a high-performance low turn in order to enter a swoop course but failed to complete the turn in time and impacted with the ground before his canopy did. The jumper sustained multiple serious injuries including a severe blow to the head that led to high levels of inter-cranial pressure. Eight days later the doctors declared he was clinically brain dead and he was removed from the respiration machine the next day and his organs were donated.
    Lessons:The jumper had done approximately 500 jumps on a Vengeance 150 and had recently switched to the Jedei 120 on which he had approximately 40 jumps. Some of his landings in no-wind conditions had apparently injured him enough to stop him jumping for the weekend and had concerned his peers. He wanted to take part in a swoop competition yet hadn't attempted the course on his previous canopy before trying it with the more highly loaded canopy. The jumper was borrowing gear as he was unable to return to his own gear or other borrowed gear due to a lost freebag and harness damage being repaired by the manufacturer. It was his intention to sell his gear and downsize. Know the limitations of your skills and your equipment!
    USPA Description: After an uneventful freefall and initial canopy descent, this jumper initiated a hard toggle turn at approximately 25 feet and struck the ground at the same time as the canopy while still in the turn. He suffered several broken bones and a severe head injury from the hard landing. He received immediate first aid and was airlifted to a hospital soon after the accident. He was removed from life support ten days after the accident
    USPA Conclusions:This jumper had a history of erratic landings and close calls while jumping a 150-square-foot canopy. He had been warned by several other jumpers and drop zone staff about his dangerous landings. In spite of this, he had recently purchased a 120-square-foot canopy and continued to have close calls and poor landings at an even higher wing loading of 2:1. The dropzone had recently placed a swoop course in the ladning area, and this jumper stated during the ride to altitude for this jump that he was going to swoop through the course. He was told by several jumpers not to attempt the swwop course but disregarded their advice.
    Jumpers who are experiencing canopy control problems should move up to larger parachutes and seek training from experienced canopy specialists. Jumpers should not downsize or attempt high-performance canopy flight without appropriate guidance and training. Jumpers must complete all turns with enough altitude for the canopy to return to straight and level flight for the landing flare.
  94. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    8/22/2003 Bridlington, England LOWT 29 ?/?   #890971
    DropZone.com Description:
    Lessons:
    BPA Description: At approximately 16:10 hrs on Friday 22nd August 2003 at British Skysports, Bridlington, an FAI ‘A’ Certificate parachutist with 29 jumps, boarded a Cessna 208B along with thirteen other parachutists. He was jumping a PD Navigator 200 canopy. The aircraft climbed to approximately 13,000ft AGL. A ‘jump run’ was made over the PLA. Once the aircraft was at the exit point, the parachutists on board exited individually or in small groups. He was the eighth parachutist to exit the aircraft. He was carrying out a solo jump. All parachutists’ canopies were seen to deploy at the correct altitude (between 2-3000ft AGL), and all were observed to be flying correctly. At approximately 200-300ft AGL, his canopy was observed to be flying towards some farm buildings, which were some considerable distance from the designated landing area for Student and Intermediate parachutists and close to the permitted landing are for Experienced parachutists. At approximately 50-100ft his canopy was seen to make a radical left turn. The parachute completed approximately 270°, at which point he impacted with the ground, approximately 150 metres south of the clubhouse.
    BPA Conclusions:The Conclusions of the Board are that the jumper made an uneventful free fall descent, deployed his main parachute at the correct altitude, but failed to remain in a suitable area in order to land in the area designated for inexperienced and intermediate parachutists. It appeared that he might have intended to land closer to the club buildings, in an area where experienced parachutists are permitted to land. At a very low altitude the jumper initiated a radical turn in order to avoid a hazardous area, though a slight turn would have enabled him to avoid the hazards. The wind direction had changed by approximately 90° since the previous lift, though the wind speed was low and a satisfactory landing could have been achieved facing in any direction. He then struck the ground at high speed before fully completing the turn. The CCI had shouted to him to turn left, to avoid the hazards, but it is not known as to whether he had heard him.
  95. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    9/14/2003 Finger Lakes Skydiving, NY LOWT 36 1000 Y/N   #660887
    Description: The jumper was demoing a canopy well within his capabilties (according to those who knew him well - normally jumped a Crossfire 109 and had experience of Velocity 103 and Crossfire 99), He initiated his final turn too low, and planed out his canopy too late. He struck a driveway with great force. Emergency personel initiated CPR but the jumper died. The jumper was not wearing a helmet but it is unlikely it wqould have made any difference.
    Lessons:
    USPA Description: After an uneventful solo freefall and initial canopy descent, this jumper initiated a 180-degree turn at approximately 250 feet above the ground. He completed the turn before reaching the ground but reportedly made little or no attempt to flare the canopy before he struck the ground at a high rate of speed. He died at the scene from his injuries.
    USPA Conclusions:This was the jumper's third jump on a 96-square foot cross-braced canopy. His wing loading, estimated at 1.72:1, is considered advanced by the manufacturer. Surface winds were roprted between two and four mph but 30mph at 3,000 feet. The jumperlanded on the downwind side of a row of trees, which may have affected the flight of the canopy.
    This jumper's regular canopy was reported to be 108 square feet and of a conventional rib design typically associated with more docile performance characteristics and quicker recovery from a turn. Cross-braced canopies are known to require hundreds of feet to recover from performance turns for safe landings. Expert cross-braced canopy pilots routinely start such maneuvers above 500 feet.
    Section 6-10 of the 2004 Skydiver's Information Manual recommends that a jumper advancing to a higher-performance wing does so at the same square footage as a familiar canopy. A jumper should land any new design or smaller canopy conservatively until learning that canopy's flight characteristics in the entire range of control inputs and weather conditions.
    On any canopy, jumpers must complete all turns with enough altitude for the canopy to reurn to straight an level flight for the landing flare.
  96. Date Location Category Age # Jumps AAD?/RSL? Dropzone.com Report Dropzone.com Discussion
    10/4/2003 Lodi, CA LOWT 21 44 Y/Y   #697254
    Description: It appears this recent AFF graduate jumper was determined to purchase an inappropriate canopy for his skill level. He was not allowed to jump it at the dropzone where he regularly jumped and travelled to another so that he could, before reyturning to his home in Vancouver He suffered blunt-force trauma to his body, broken legs, multiple broken bones, a crushed pelvis and multiple pulmonary contusions. He died in hospital a couple of days later from these massive injuries.
    Lessons:
    USPA Description: After an uneventful freefall and initial canopy descent, this jumper initiated a 270-degree turn at 50 feet above a highway. He struck the ground while still in a diving turn and suffered multiple broken bones and internal injuries, as well as a head injury. He was airlifted from the accident scene and died in a hospital four days later.
    USPA Conclusions:This very inexperienced jumper was making his tenth jump on an elliptical canopy marketed to jumpers seeking higher performance flight characteristics. The manufacturer recommends this jumper's wing loading, 1.1:1, for jumpers at the upper end of the intermediate experience level.
    The report did not indicate that the jumper turned to miss any obstacles in the landing area. However, he may have been attempting a high-performance landing maneuver. Another jumper reported that before the jump, this jumper had indicated a desire to practice a "swoop turn." Regardless of the reason for the low turn, this jumper apparently did not understand the consequences of initiating an aggressive turn at such a low altitude.
    The USPA Integrated Student Program includes canopy exercises to help familiarize jumpers at any experience level with their current canopies. It recommends performing the exercises high and in clear airspace.
    The ISP also has information on wing loading and canopy design to educate new jumpers regarding canopy performance and how wing loading and canopy design affect canopy flight.
    Jumpers should not downsize or change to different canopy design to educate new jumpers regarding cano