From The Mag

Punching Jumpers in their Value Box!

Skydive Midwest’s aerial map, overlaid with the camera positions. The red boxes are the hangar and swoop area, aqua boxes are landing areas and the green cones are the camera recording areas.
Written by guest author

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Originally printed in issue #101 (May 2018) of Blue Skies Magazine.
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By Brad Cole

We all know our sport is expensive. Smart drop zones try to add value to their jumpers’ experience—give them the most bang for the lift-ticket buck, so to speak. Some DZs think the most they can offer is in the form of huge, sparkling bathrooms. When you look around your home DZ, what can you imagine that would enhance the DZ but not break the bank? What do fun jumpers really want? How big do the bathrooms really need to be?

The big question to the industry this season should be: How can drop zones step up their game with training and modernization that positively affect jumpers’ abilities to jump for life?

Canopy piloting has historically been underrepresented in skydiving education. At Skydive Midwest, where I’m working full-time now, we want to change the safety culture and put a spotlight on the progression of our canopy pilots. Courses are good but we want to bring a reality to every landing by having video proof that is debriefable. Why are we only watching our freefall footage?

We’re rolling out our new SkyCam Canopy System this year to answer all these questions. Four cameras have been installed to cover almost our entire landing area. Every landing will be recorded and that video will be instantly accessible to skydivers. Tandem pilots, AFF students, swoopers and jumpers at every experience level will be able to debrief their landings with multiple cam angles.

To our professional canopy coaches and to our canopy pilots around the world, how can we modernize the way we interact? Imagine for every landing you lay down over a weekend, you walk away with your own personal footage. Next, use that rarely used technology call the interweb. Spend your private time at home interacting with your canopy mentor or student via the web and debrief landings. Distance doesn’t matter anymore and canopy coaching can happen from any corner of this round or flat earth. Canopy coaches can sit at home in their underwear and provide personal coaching for every jumper at SDMW. We ask again to our industry, why does the video debrief stop at the canopy opening?

SDMW plans to take a swing at several concepts like this during 2018 to bring more to the skydivers’ value box, where it counts. We’ll keep you updated on all of them!

Skydive Midwest’s aerial map, overlaid with the camera positions. The red boxes are the hangar and swoop area, aqua boxes are landing areas and the green cones are the camera recording areas.

About the author: Brad Cole started jumping in 1999. His favorite thing is the look in a skydiver’s eyes when the green light goes on.

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