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DropZone - Skydiving Glossary
Category: Sport and Leisure > Skydiving
Date & country: 13/09/2007, USA
Words: 168

Automatic Activation Device. A device that senses rate of descent and altitude and which will attempts to mechanically activate the reserve parachute if the skydiver passes below a set altitude at a high rate of descent

Also known as Precision Landing, this is a competition discipline in which the skydiver attempts to land on an established target. At the National level the target is 3 cm in diameter, about the size of a quarter. Accuracy landings of various difficulty, from 20 meters to 2 meters, are required for USPA licenses. See the SIM for details

Accelerated Free Fall. An AFF student receives training on freefall jumps of 40 seconds or longer, accompanied by a qualified jumpmaster, as opposed to Static Line training which does not involve long freefall in the initial training phase

Above Ground Level. Altitudes are in reference either to Ground Level of Sea Level (see MSL). Skydivers always use AGL when referring to altitude

The speed of a flying object through the air, commonly used in reference to aircraft or canopies

A device indicating altitude

Angle of attack
The angle at which the wing is presented to the apparent wind. With square parachutes this changes when the brakes are applied

Angle of incidence
The angle at which a canopy is trimmed to glide through the air

Apparent wind
The wind perceived by an observer. See relative wind

Skydive Arizona's version of AFF, the Accelerated Skydiving Program includes two tandem jumps and an enhanced version of the AFF syllabus

Aspect ratio
The ratio of a canopys width (side to side) to breadth (front to back). Seven cell canopies typically have an aspect ratio of about 2.2 to one, while nine cell canopies are usually between 2.8 and 3.0 to one

An AAD made by FXC Corporation

To move backward in freefall relative to a neutral reference. Usually unintentional and undesirable, caused by poor body position

The deployment bag in which the canopy is packed

The core around which a formation skydive is built. Can be a single person or a group of people, depending on the number of skydivers involved

BASE jump
A jump made from a fixed object rather than an aircraft. BASE is an acronym for building, antennae, spans (bridges) and earth (cliff)

Short for Beechcraft, an aircraft manufacturer. Usually used in reference to a Beech D-18, a.k.a. Twin Beech. At one time these were common skydiving planes, but they are becoming obsolete

Bottom of Container. Refers to the location of the pilot chute. An increasingly common position for main deployment devices, as opposed to belly or leg mounted

Body position
Ones freefall body posture. Variations in body position are what make a wide range of freefall maneuvers possible

A gathering of skydivers, usually focused on fun rather than competition. Big drop zones host several boogies a year, often on long holiday weekends

To land at unsurvivable speed. Also to frap, or go in

Box man
A neutral, face to earth body position in which the arms form right angles at shoulder and elbow, and the legs are spread at about 45 degrees from the long axis and bent 45 degrees at the knees. Generally considered the ideal position for Formation Skydiving

The brake lines of the canopy are synonymous with steering lines. Used together, they slow the parachute. Used independently they result in a turn

Break off
To cease formation skydiving by tracking away from the formation prior to deployment

The thin webbing strap from the pilot chute to the top of the canopy. Part of the deployment system which consists of pilot chute, bag and bridle

Basic Safety Requirements. BSRs are guidelines. They do not have force of law but are generally regarded as excellent minimum safety standards

The area of turbulence behind an object going through the air, whether a person in freefall or a canopy in flight

The time remaining until you are to board the aircraft. For example, a fifteen minute call means you will board in fifteen minutes

The construction of fabric and lines used to land safely after a freefall. Usually used in conjunction with a type reference (round, square, zero-p, main or reserve)

The point where two lines join together so they run smoothly into one. Cascading the suspension lines results in reduced bulk and drag

Square canopies are made up of pressurized cells, usually seven or nine. Each cell consists of a load bearing rib at each side to which the suspension lines are attached. A third, non load bearing rib runs down the middle of the cell. The cell is pressurized through the open mouth at the front and also through cross ports in the ribs. Adjacent cells share load bearing ribs

Center point
The point around which movement takes place. In an individual the center point is considered to be in the middle of the torso. In a group, it is the point that the formation centers around

An aircraft manufacturer. Single engined Cessnas such as 180s, 182s and 206s are the workhorse of smaller drop zones, carrying four to six jumpers

Chute assis
French for sit flying, or freefalling with one's seat presented to the relative wind

Closing loop
The small loop that holds the flaps of the container closed once the pin has been guided through the loop

A skydiver with some formal training in the art of instructing freefall technique

The element of the parachute that houses the canopies. Technically, the Harness/Container but usually just referred to as the container

A canopy is crabbing when it is flown at an angle sideways to the ambient wind, resulting in a path across the ground that is sideways as well as forwards

To creep is to practice formation skydiving sequences while laying prone on a creeper

A board equipped with wheels on which a skydiver lays to simulate freefall maneuvers

Cross ports
Holes in the ribs of a cell that allow air to flow from one cell to another

Canopy Relative Work, now officially known as Canopy Formations. CRW involves flying open canopies in close formation, where the pilots actually take grips on each other's parachutes

To "be current" is to have jumped recently enough to retain proficiency in the sport. Uncurrent skydivers, depending on their experience, must be supervised to some degree when they resume jumping. See the SIM

Cut away
To release the main parachute, cutting away is a standard emergency procedure prior to deploying the reserve. More properly known as a breakaway, the technique did involve using a simple release system activated by pulling a handle

A type of AAD. Made by AirTech of Germany, this is the most common type of AAD and the first modern design to be widely adopted by expert skydivers

A common construction material for canopy suspension lines. Dacron lines are thicker and softer than so called "microlines"

Data card
Every parachute carries a data card with information on the reserve parachute, including type, last date packed, owner, serial number, etc

A type of aircraft, the Douglas DC-3 is a large, twin engined airplane capable of carrying over 40 jumpers. Like the Twin Beech, DC-3s are being rapidly replaced by more modern turbine engined aircraft

To flatten out or reverse one's body position from the normal arched box man. A de-arch results in a slower fall rate than an arch

Dead spider
Slang for de-arch

Decision altitude
The altitude at which a skydiver is trained to begin execution of emergency procedures. Usually 2,500 feet AGL for students, and 1,800 feet for expert skydivers

Deployment system
The components of the parachute that control deployment of the canopy. Includes pilot chute, bridle and bag

Dirt dive
To rehearse a skydive on the ground

Dive floater
A dive floater is a skydiver who is inside the airplane in the exit line up, but leaving prior to the base. This configuration only occurs on large formations

Dive loops
Many advanced skydivers have loops or "blocks" on their front risers to make it easy to grip the front risers for steering purposes. Also called front riser loops

Anyone diving out of the plane during a formation skydiving exit

Door jam
To practice an exit in the aircraft door of a mock up of it prior to the skydive

Down plane
A CRW formation with two canopies, both pointed toward the ground. This can also occur to a single skydiver with both main and reserve deployed

Drop zone
Common slang for a skydiving center, also DZ

A brand of audible altimeter

A wing shape characterized by a tapering leading and trailing edge so that the middle of the canopy is wider, front to back, than the ends. This configuration is typical of many high performance canopies

End cell
The cell furthers out on a canopy

Exit weight
The total weight of the jumper and all equipment and clothing

The Federal Aviation Administration is the agency of the US government that regulates aviation activity, including skydiving

Federation Aeronautique International. The international organization governing air sports

Fall rate
The speed at which a skydiver falls. Matching fall rate is essential to successful formation skydiving. This is done with jumpsuits, weights and body position

Federal Aviation Regulations, the laws governing aviation

Finger trap
A method of installing a loop in a brake line without producing rough spots on the lines, the finger trap is accomplished by sliding one line into the other. The loop serves as a method of setting brakes in the desired position for the parachutes deployment

The act of pulling down the brakes of the canopy in order to slow it down, resulting in an increased angle of attack and reduced descent rate

Skydivers who leave the airplane before the base are called floaters since they must use a slow fall rate to get up to the base. Floating also refers to an exit position outside the airplane

1) A freefall skydiving formation of more than one jumper. 2) A flight of more than one jump plane

A type of skydiving characterized by acrobatic individual flying, reminiscent of gymnastics

Formation Skydiving, formerly known as relative work. In FS, skydivers attempt to go through a predetermined sequence of freefall formations

A funnel occurs when one or more skydivers find themselves in an unstable body position and end up in a skydivers burble. The resulting loss of stability for the other skydivers usually causes the formation to break up

A company manufacturing AADs. One FXC design is common on students but considered by many to be unsuitable for expert skydivers. A new FXC design, the ASTRA, went on the market in the spring of 1996 and is relatively unknown

Glide ratio
The distance a canopy flies forward compared to down. A canopy with a 3:1 glide ratio flies three feet forward for every foot of vertical descent.

Global Positioning System. By picking up signals from satellites, a GPS receiver can tell the user position over the ground. Used in skydiving aircraft to spot the exit

Hand holds built onto formation skydiving jumpsuits to make it easier to take grips

Using the hands to hold onto another skydiver in freefall or during the aircraft exits. In formation skydiving, the formations are scored as complete when every skydiver has taken the correct grips

Ground speed
The speed of an airplane or skydiver over the ground, as opposed to through the air

Hand deploy
To activate the parachute by manually deploying the pilot chute as opposed to pulling a ripcord

The webbing and fabric holding the main and reserve canopies to the skydiver

The direction an aircraft, skydiver, or parachute is facing. The ability to recognize and maintain heading is crucial to jumping with others successfully. "On" or "off" heading are terms commonly used to describe exits and deployments

When a parachute is flying directly into the ambient wind, it is said holding. See running and crabbing

Hook knife
A small knife carried in the jumpsuit or on the parachute harness, the hook knife is designed to cut lines or webbing. A small razor blade is recessed in a hook shaped handle to prevent unintentional cuts

Hook turn
A turn of 90 degrees or more executed close to the ground. Because of the high risk associated with this maneuver, hook turns have an unfavorable connotation

Hot fuel
When the airplane does not shut down during fueling. Do not board the aircraft while fueling is in progress

In date
A reserve packed within the previous 120 days is said to be "in date". If more than 120 days have elapsed since the reserve was packed it is"out of date" and illegal to use

Someone who has held a USPA jumpmaster rating for at least one year and passed an Instructor Certification Course

The International Parachuting Commission oversees sport parachuting. It is a committee of the FAI

Jump run
The flight path taken by the jump plane to put the skydivers in position over the airport

Someone who has successfully attended a USPA Jumpmaster Certification Course. A jumpmaster has all of the privileges of an Instructor except that they cannot supervise a first jump course, sign off licenses, or manage a student program without an instructor's supervision

A cover all type garment designed for specific skydiving applications such as FS, freestyle or accuracy

A signal to move on to the next step in a skydive

King Air
A turbine aircraft made by Beechcraft and common in medium sized drop zones

Line of flight
An imaginary line corresponding to the jump plane's path over the ground, the line of flight is a useful reference line on larger formation skydives. Also, during the jump run the skydivers will be distributed along this line of flight

Log book
Like pilots or sailors, skydivers log their activity and achievements in order to document their experience

A navigational system similar to GPS except based on ground transmitters, LORAN is relatively obsolete

The primary parachute

1) The list of skydivers on the jump plane. 2) The act of going to the office where this list is maintained to put yourself on a plane. 3) The location where manifesting takes place