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

A modern type of suspension line considerably smaller than dacron line

Mean sea level. Used by pilots when defining altitude, MSL refers to feet above sea level as opposed to above the ground. Pilots always use MSL when referring to altitude

Someone with leadership skills and skydiving expertise who plans formation skydives

The DeHavilland Twin Otter, a very popular turbine jump ship carrying up to 23 jumpers

Out landing
Landing off target

Out of date
See in date

Packing data card
See data card

Pea gravel, used in the landing area as a target reference and because it is forgiving of hard landings

Pilot chute
A small, round parachute that acts as a drogue to extract the main parachute from the container and deploy it

1) The skydiver who first gets to the base. Base/pin are the two people around which many formations are built. 2) The act of docking on the base. 3) The closing pin of the main or reserve container, which should both be checked prior to jumping

The pea gravel area

Parachute landing fall. A technique used to minimize injury during rough landings, a PLF distributes the landing shock along feet, calves, thighs, hip and shoulder

A single engined turbine aircraft carrying up to ten jumpers

Post dive
Review of a skydive after everyone has landed

PRO rating
A USPA rating indicating competence to perform difficult demonstration jumps

Slang for the handle on a pull out pilot chute system

Pull out
A type of hand deploy pilot chute where the pilot chute is packed inside the container and pulled out using a handle with a lanyard to the pilot chute

Pull up cord
A piece of cord or line used to pull the closing loop through the grommets of the container

Relative wind
The apparent wind felt by a jumper in freefall, relative wind is the result of the skydiver's speed through the air

The auxiliary parachute carried on every intentional parachute jump

Skydiver slang for the entire parachute, including main and reserve canopies and the harness/container

Someone with a certificate from the FAA stating they have successfully met the requirements to be a parachute rigger

Rigger's certificate
The certificate possessed by a rigger as proof of competence. Senior riggers may make minor repairs and pack reserve and main parachutes. Master riggers may make major repairs and alterations as well as packing parachutes

Rip cord
The deployment system on all reserves and most student parachutes. The ripcord is a piece of cable with a handle at one end and a pin at the other. When pulled, the pin comes out of the closing loop holding the container shut, and the pilot chute is released

The webbing that connects the harness to the suspension lines. At the bottom of the risers will be a mechanism for attaching and releasing the risers and harness, usually in the form of a three ring release. On the rear risers are the brakes/steering lines. The suspension lines attach to the top of the risers with connector links, also known as rapid links

1) A formation where each skydiver has grips on the arms of those next to him, also known as a star. 2) A round parachute, as opposed to a modern ram-air "square" parachute

Reserve static line. This is a line from the main risers to the reserve cable. In the event the main is cut away, it may pull the reserve pin. Note: this system is only effective in malfunctions where the main is at least partially deployed

When a canopy is flying with the ambient wind it is said to be running. This produces the greatest possible ground speed

Relative work, the term used to describe formation skydiving until a change in nomenclature made by the International Parachuting Commission in the early 90s

The oldest award for formation skydiving achievement, for those who have been in a star of at least eight people in which each person left the aircraft separately and flew to the formation

Reserve parachutes have a small lead seal on a piece of red thread around the closing pin. This seal indicates the reserve has not been opened since it left the riggers hands

A type of AAD

Skydiver's Information Manual. Published by the USPA, the SIM is a comprehensive manual on USPA policies and training methods. It also includes FARs pertinent to skydiving

Although on the surface this term refers to a superior skydiver, in drop zone use skygod is a derogatory term for a skydiver whose ego has grown faster than his skydiving ability

A rectangular piece of nylon fabric with a grommet at each corner through which the canopy's suspension lines are routed. Packed at the top of the lines, the slider controls the opening of the canopy by preventing the parachute from expanding too rapidly

A position in the skydive or on the plane.

Single Operation System. This system simplifies emergency procedures by combining the functions of the cut away and reserve handles in a single handle

A material from which microline is made

The position of the aircraft when the jumpers exit. Spotting duties (selecting the spot) can be done by a skydiver or the pilot

A ram air parachute as opposed to a round parachute

Safety and Training Advisor. The STA is a volunteer representative of USPA who attempts to disseminate information about safety and act as a liaison between the DZ and USPA. Most S&TAs hold instructor ratings

The vertical strips of cloth depending from the end cells of the canopy. Stabilizers improve the canopy's ability to fly straight ahead and enhance efficiency by reducing tip vortices

When the angle of attack of a wing becomes too high to sustain lift, the wing is said to be stalled

Static line
In static line deployments the parachute deployment system is attached to the airplane, with a cord ten to fifteen feet long, resulting in deployment immediately after exit

Steering lines
The lines that run from the steering toggles on the rear risers to the trailing edge of the parachute

Steering toggles
Handles attached to the end of the steering lines to facilitate their use. Toggles and lines are configured so they can be stowed in a partially down position to enhance the opening of the parachute

To neatly arrange suspension lines on the deployment bag or steering toggles in their keepers

A type of freefall competition where an individual skydiver attempts to execute a predetermined sequence of maneuvers in the shortest possible time

Suspension lines
The lines from the risers to the canopy. They are normally in four groups, labeled from front to back as A, B, C and D. They can be further divided into right and left or front and back riser groups, and by type of material

1) To dive down to a formation or individual in freefall. 2) To aggressively approach the landing area in order to produce a long, flat flare and an exciting landing

Parachute jumps in which two skydivers, usually an instructor and student, share one parachute system. The student is in a separate harness that attaches to the front of the instructor's harness

Terminal velocity
The speed at which drag matches the pull of gravity, resulting in a constant fall rate. Typical terminal velocity for formation skydiving is in the 120 to 135 mile per hour range, but speeds as high as 300 miles per hour have been reached

Three ring
A parachute release mechanism that utilizes three rings of separate size in a mechanical advantage system. Invented by Bill Booth in the late 70s, the three ring release is almost universally considered the best cut away system available

Throw out
A deployment method in which the pilot chute is stowed in a pouch on the belly, leg of bottom of container

Handles on the steering lines

To assume a body position that creates a high forward speed. Used to approach or depart from other skydivers in freefall

Technical Standard Order. A technical standard that all American parachutes must meet before they can be marketed. Unless specifically exempted by the FAA, a parachute must have a TSO placard to be legal

Turn around load
When the aircraft does not shut down between loads, but lands and picks up skydivers for immediate departure

The upper winds, or winds at exit altitude. The "uppers" are often much stronger and occasionally from a different direction than ground winds

The United States Parachute Association is a non profit skydiver's organization. USPA offers guidance and assistance to skydivers in training, government relations, competition, and many other fields. Most drop zones require USPA membership of individual skydivers because such membership includes third party liability insurance

Wave off
Prior to deployment a skydiver should make a clearly defined arm motion to indicate to others nearby that he is about to open his parachute. A good wave off is essential to the avoidance of deployment collisions

Wind drift indicator. A paper streamer thrown from the jump plane to estimate winds under canopy and determine the spot

Many lighter skydivers wear a weight vest to allow them to maintain a fast fall rate

Wind line
An imaginary line from the desired landing area, extending directly along the direction the wind is blowing

Winds aloft
See uppers

Wing loading
The ratio of weight born by a wing to its surface area. In the US, divide your exit weight in pounds by the square footage of the canopy

Skydiver slang for people who don't jump, from ;Wuffo you jump out of them planes?

Common slang for a type of fabric relatively impermeable to air. The less air that flows through the fabric wing of a ram air parachute, the more efficiently it flies