Chicago Skydiving Safety

Skydiving is a high-speed aerial sport that may expose participants to the risk of injury or death, but it can be done safely.  Skydiving safety has improved dramatically over the years.  An estimated 3,200,000 jumps are made each year in the United States, of which about 15% are tandem skydives.  In most recent 5 year period (2010-2014), the average has been 22.6 fatalities per year, up slightly from a 22.4 fatality average over the previous 5 years (2005-2009), and drastically down from a 29.2 fatality average over the 5 years prior to that (2000-2004) .  

The current fatality rate is approximately .0075 per 1000 (1 in 133,333 jumps made). 

Discussing only tandem deaths, the safety record improves even more, to .003 per 1000 (1 in over 400,000 jumps made).  

Check out the USPA's safety-faq page here

Analysis of most skydiving accidents show that most are caused by human error, despite the media's boiler-plate report that "the parachute failed to open."  Contrary to popular belief, very few skydiving accidents are caused by random or unexpected equipment failure.  Approximately 5 in 6 skydiving fatalities  occur with experienced skydivers performing aggressive maneuvers that have very little room for error.  These "daredevils" expose themselves to significant risks in exchange for the thrill of the advanced maneuvers.  Skydivers who are trained well, who stay current, and who take a conservative approach to the sport are involved in very few accidents, and suffer few, if any, injuries.

Factors contributing to the impressive Tandem Skydiving safety record:

1.  Your tandem instructor is well trained and current (jumps often to keep their skills honed).

2.  Your tandem instructor is on the jump with you (you're in it together, what happens to you happens to them).

3.  The tandem equipment has the latest safety features and advancements.  It is very reliable and well maintained.

4.  The tandem training class briefs you on your participation, including what is expected of you.

5.  Tandem jumps are made under conservative meteorological conditions.

 

Ok, so you've discussed the fatalities, what about injuries? 

Good question...  Injuries while Tandem Skydiving are also rare, but are most likely to occur at two points in the process:

1.  During exit... it is possible for the student to grab or hit the aircraft.  The instructor understands these risks, and minimizes them by reviewing the exit procedures with the tandem student and having the student cross their arms in front or hang on to their harness during the exit from the aircraft.  It is important that the tandem student follows the instructions and exit procedures.

2.  During landing... it is possible to injure the lower body (feet, ankles, legs, pelvis), even with a good landing.  The instructor understands these risks, and minimizes them by reviewing the landing procedures during the class, and also by completing practice landings after the parachute opens.  It is important that the tandem student listens to instructions and performs the actual landing just as they did the practice landings.

Tandem Skydiving is probably the best method for a person to experience skydiving.  Tandem Skydiving is statistically very safe.  More people die skiing/snowboarding each year than skydiving.  Approximately 50 times more people die each year from bicycling than skydiving.  More than 100 times more people die each year swimming (excluding boating related activities) than skydiving.  If we discuss the non-fatal injury statisics, they are even more drastic when compared with the statistically-safer skydiving.  Skydiving is not as dangerous as it seems on the surface.  If you have questions about Skydiving Safety, call your local Skydiving Center and ask them about it.

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