The United States Parachute Association recommends that every DZ (drop zone or skydiving school for all you Wuffos) set aside one day a year for a safety day. yesterday was safety day at Skydive Twin Cities . My instructors gave talks on gear maintenance, canopy flying, aircraft operations and first aid. My job was to run everyone through the hanging harness and get them up to speed on emergency procedures. The hanging harness is basically a skydiving simulator that has the cutaway and reserve handles on it that a jumper can pull in response to the emergency situations I throw at them. It’s great training and seeing that I love to torture students lots of fun. I love to make up preposterous situations with unlikely twists and see how well the jumper can handle them. My goal is to get them to keep fighting all the way to the ground even in what might seem like an hopeless situation. I kill a lot of them, because I cheat, but in the end they come out of it better prepared to deal with a malfunction that most of them will have some day. I also like to get them to think outside the box, although I hate that saying. My favorite is to tell them that they have come out of the clouds over a large lake and have no hope of getting to shore and ask them what they think they should do. It usually takes a minute to get them to tell me that they maybe look for a boat to land close to. I then ask them why they want to land next to a boat,
“What do they have in a boat that you will want?”
“A life jacket?” “No.” “A radio?” “No.” “First aid kit?” “No.”
“If you skydive into a lake in the summertime and land next to a boat they are going to give you a BEER!”
Hopefully it’s a Guinness, for strength. Safety First you know.