Incident at Skydive DeLand


incidentVisiting jumper Aline Leao was hospitalized for injuries sustained after a jump Friday morning, August 1st 2014 at Skydive DeLand, Florida.

According to news reports, Aline had 14 jumps and experienced a problem with her main canopy. She is believed to have cut away very low, or  around 30-40 feet off the ground.  She was transported to Halifax Hospital for further evaluation and treatment for head injuries. Aline remains in critical condition.

The incident is under investigation.

News Reports:,, video

Cessna 206 carrying skydivers crashes in Ireland


incidentThe first half of the year, incidents involving skydivers came hard and fast, but now the focus seems to have shifted over to aircraft mishaps.

Thankfully no injuries were reported when a Cessna 206 carrying a number of jumpers experienced engine trouble and had to land in a field near Abbeyshrule, Ireland. This happened shortly after takeoff so jumpers were not high enough to get out.
Excellent job by the pilot.

News report: Westmeath Examiner


Pilot bail-out at Fly Free Skydiving


Shawn Kinmartin, the pilot of a small Cessna (182) operating at Fly Free Skydiving just south of St. Louis, Missouri had plenty of reasons to buy beer after his first jump last Saturday!

Flying a load of 4 jumpers, one jumper experienced a premature reserve deployment after snagging on something in the door during climb-out, dislodging the reserve pin.  It seems that the reserve free bag and pilot chute caught the tail, causing damage and interfering with controls. Working with Air Traffic Control, the pilot was able to maneuver the plane so that it pointed into farmland on the other side of the Mississippi River.  Around 2000 feet, Shawn bailed from the aircraft and landed safely in a nearby bean field.

The four jumpers on the load all landed safely at the DZ.

The take-home message is to be vigilant about your gear. Protect those pins from packing to deployment, and note how moving around in a smaller aircraft or tight door situations may present more opportunities for snag points than the wide open doors of larger planes. Watch yourself, watch your friends!

News Reports: (story and photo gallery), Aviation Safety Network

Prop Strike at Start Skydiving


incidentA long-time employee (manifest) at Start Skydiving in Middletown, Ohio walked into a spinning propeller yesterday (Sunday, June 2nd, 2014). She suffered severe head injures and was airlifted to a hospital in Dayton, OH.
The dropzone usually flies a caravan (one prop up front) but this weekend was operating a Twin Otter (props on each wing).

We reached out to our resident columnist and experienced skydiving pilot, Dean Ricci (aka the Fuckin’ Pilot) for comments and suggestions regarding propeller safety:

NOTHING is that important.
There is no message that must be passed on in person right now. A drink for a hot and tired pilot can be given to them by the first to board the aircraft. Excitement, enthusiasm, anger, frustration… All these things can wait.

Yesterday the unthinkable happened. For a reason that simply doesn’t matter, a member of our skydiving family forgot where she was. She forgot just how dangerous the world we have chosen to live or work in can truly be. It may cost her life, or at the very least change it forever. Our environment doesn’t care if you’ve had a bad day. It doesn’t care if you were out late last night getting bombed with friends. In fact, it doesn’t care at all, so you have to. All of you.

The propeller of your jump ship won’t stop spinning because you’ve strayed too close, and the price is just too much to pay.
NEVER walk forward of an aircraft propeller, either running or not.
NEVER stand in front of an aircraft to signal the pilot for any reason unless you are trained professional ground crew with a real purpose. That is what radios are for.
Never lose sight of where you are and what you’re doing. THINK, every day about what’s going on, what the plan for the day is and what may happen. If you shouldn’t be there, DON’T GO THERE. THINK, THINK, THINK.

Send your thoughts to Start Skydiving in Ohio today. Each and every person there is on the front line of a lesson that every single one of us needs to know. Not learn, KNOW! 

Every one of us owes a death, without exception, but it’s a bill best paid as late as possible. Fuck the interest, let the God Damn house wait to collect.

Blue Skies, Black Death
Dean Ricci The Fuckin’ Pilot, an online resource for jump pilots, has compiled aircraft related incident lists by type, with links to NTSB reports. The prop strike category currently holds 8 listings, 5 of them fatalities.

We send our condolences to everyone at Start Skydiving.

News Reports: WCPO, WHIO,

Knot in a brake line – hello reserve

On a fine Arizona day following a nice skydive, Trunk from Hypoxic turned and tracked, waved off and pulled.

TrunkAfter an uneventful opening, was time to pop the toggles. Some of the excess brake line stowed on the back of his risers had moved around during or before deployment resulting in the toggle being pulled through a loop of sorts.   Reaching up to release the brakes, the excess was knotted up (shown at the end of the video).  Being an experienced skydiver that knows his canopy well, Trunk quickly decided that he would not be able to clear the tangle below his hard deck – if at all – so he went for the reserve and landed uneventfully.
The canopy was a Velocity 103 and it was a balmy, no-wind day in Eloy, AZ

Back in the days of Velcro, the excess brake line was tucked up nice and tight. But Velcro and lines tend to not get along, so by popular demand, manufacturers have moved away from the Velcro to different methods – and some don’t even bother. What works for you? Ever had this happen?

Trunk plans on revisiting his procedures for stowing the excess to minimize the odds of it happening again.