Skydiving is performed as a recreational activity and a competitive sport. It is widely considered an extreme sport due to the risks involved. Hence certain equipment must be in place before anyone can be allowed to go skydiving. A skydiving equipment consists of at least three, usually four components, a container / harness system, a main canopy, a reserve canopy and an automatic activation device (AAD).
Other items may include a helmet, jumpsuit, altimeter, and gloves. An increasing number of skydivers also wear cameras, like GoPros, to record their skydives. Most skydiving equipment are ruggedly designed and can be enjoyed by several owners before being retired.
A rigger is trained to spot signs of damage or misuse. Riggers also keep track of industry product and safety bulletins, and can, therefore, determine if a piece of equipment is up-to-date and serviceable.
So, if you are looking towards starting a skydiving company, you would need to have some of the very basic equipment in place before you can successfully swing into operation. Having said that, here are some of the equipment you would need to start your skydiving company;
6 Types of Equipment Needed to Start a Skydiving Company
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1. A Skydiving Parachute
You can’t go skydiving without a parachute. As a matter of fact, the skydiving parachute is the most important piece of equipment required for skydiving – and experienced jumpers take a great deal of pride in the chute they choose. Skydiving parachutes come in all different sizes and all skydivers jump with two parachutes; a main and a reserve. The reason for two is that, in the event one has a problem, you can deploy the second.
Parachutes are contained in a backpack, known as a ‘container’, and together, they are known as a ‘rig’. Rigs come in different sizes depending on the size of the parachutes inside. They are also made to fit their owner. At a sport skydiver’s deployment altitude, the individual manually deploys a small pilot-chute which acts as a drogue, catching air and pulling out the main parachute or the main canopy.
There are two principal systems in use: the “throw – out”, where the skydiver pulls a toggle attached to the top of the pilot-chute stowed in a small pocket outside the main container: and the “pull – out”, where the skydiver pulls a small pad attached to the pilot-chute which is stowed inside the container. Higher performance and Tandem Parachutes cost significantly more, whilst large docile student parachutes often cost less.
2. A Skydiving AAD
A Skydiving AAD is an ‘automatic activation device’. It is installed in rigs to deploy your reserve parachute in the event that you can’t deploy either your main or reserve for yourself. For example, if for some reason you find yourself unconscious in freefall. The AAD monitors your descent rate and altitude and if you are still falling at freefall speeds by a certain height, it will use an electrical charge to cut the loop that holds your reserve parachute in.
Please note that for now, there are two main manufacturers of AAD – Cypres and Vigil. There are other brands coming onto the market, but skydivers mainly choose from the top two as they are tried and tested and have been around for many years.
3. A Skydiving Jumpsuit
Aside from the skydiving parachute, another important equipment that a skydiver must not forget is a jumpsuit. There are different types of jumpsuits and there are certain jumpsuits that are designed for certain disciplines. For belly flying, you will want a jumpsuit that is fitted with something called ‘booties’.
These are like sails for your feet! They make turning more efficient, making it easier to get more points and make more formations. For example, when it comes to free – flying, you don’t want booties at all, but might want something with some drag on the arms and legs to help you stay stable.
As you gain more experience, you will want something tighter to the body. Then there are wingsuits. Have you ever seen a ‘flying squirrel’? That is basically what a wingsuit is; it is a jumpsuit with sails that go from your arms to your legs and which enable you to fly through the air, kind of like an airplane.
4. Skydiving Altimeter
Skydiving Altimeter is yet another essential equipment needed to start a skydiving company. This is important because you need to know where you are and when it is time to deploy your parachute. The altimeter is the device that tells you what height you are at.
It is also important as you come in to land, to know where in your landing pattern you should be. If don’t have enough money or you are just starting out, an analog altimeter will suit your needs. Worn on your hand, they are kind of like a big watch. The dial moves around to indicate your altitude.
Please note that there are digital altimeters, such as ‘Visos’, which are a common brand. These show numbers in a digital format and are usually smaller than analog altimeters. Skydivers who want less bulk on their hands may choose this as an alternative to the more traditional alti.
5. Skydiving Goggles
Skydiving Goggles are another very important skydiving equipment that you must have if you want to start your skydiving company. They protect your eyes when you are in freefall – and it is always nice to be able to see as you are falling through the sky at 120mph!
You can be creative with the type of skydiving googles which is why some people choose to wear tinted goggles, partly to shield them from the sun, partly because they look so darn cool! Others choose clear goggles. Interestingly, skydiving goggles can be worn over glasses or contact lenses, too.
6. Skydiving Helmet
Although it is not mandatory to have or put on skydiving helmet in the United States of America, but it is advisable that you get skydiving helmets because some of your clients may not go skydiving if they can’t get a safety helmet. It cannot be over emphasized that wearing a helmet protects you, especially during exit and free fall. Not only that, it is a great place to keep your hair.
Skydiving helmets, like all skydiving equipment, come in all shapes and sizes. There are loads of helmet manufacturers based in the US, selling open face skydiving helmets – those which are open to the elements and worn with goggles – and full – face helmets – those which have a full visor and don’t need to be worn with goggles.