Guide to Skydiving Gear and Equipment
1 year ago
Every sport has its own particular accouterments – indispensable items that are practically synonymous with the activity, and that enable play or add an element of safety.
What would baseball be without a bat or woven, leather mitts? Soccer without shin guards or cleats? American football without protective pads or helmets with the classic metal facemask? And, to reference one of the most obvious pieces of skydiving equipment, what would skydiving be without parachutes? Of course, for each of these sports, our list just barely scratches the surface.
While it’s a bit easier to discern what is required for the more mainstream sports, our little niche activity of skydiving is still shrouded in a bit of mystery. If you’re interested in exploring this adventurous sport more, it will be important to learn all you can – including the skydiving gear that makes each and every jump possible.
Getting your bearings in a brand new hobby can be a little overwhelming – we hope to make it a little easier! Here’s a beginner’s guide to skydiving gear and equipment.
Skydiving Gear For Tandem Skydiving
At Skydive New England, all of the equipment that you need for your first tandem skydive will be provided to you. So, what does this include?
The view from altitude is one you won’t want to miss! Each of our tandem students is provided with a pair of goggles to wear to protect their eyes in freefall. If you wear glasses, you will be provided with a pair of goggles that are made to fit over your eyewear.
The tandem skydiving harness has four attachment points that securely connect the participant to the skydiving rig and the tandem skydiving instructor. We will provide you with this harness, and your instructor will adjust it so that it fits properly.
Dual Parachute Tandem Skydiving Rig
The backpack-looking item which holds the parachutes is referred to as a skydiving container or “rig”. Every container system used for skydiving is required to be a dual parachute system consisting of the main parachute and a reserve parachute. The main parachute is, as the name suggests, the primary parachute. The reserve parachute serves as a backup in the unlikely event there is an issue with the main parachute.
Automatic Activation Device (AAD)
Each skydiving rig used for tandem and student skydiving is also outfitted with a piece of pivotal skydiving equipment known as the Automatic Activation Device (AAD). This is a microprocessor computer located within the skydiving rig that deploys the reserve parachute in the event a skydiver is incapacitated.
Skydiving Equipment for AFF Skydiving
If you are interested in learning to skydive, you can do so through our Accelerated Free Fall training program. As with tandem skydiving, Skydive New England provides our AFF students with all the skydiving equipment they need.
Although goggles will be provided for you, if you’re not fond of the idea of sharing with others, you can also purchase a pair of your own. The cost of goggles ranges from about $20 to $50.
During skydiving, it’s important to protect that beautiful brain of yours, and impact-rated skydiving helmets are used to help keep craniums safe. The tough outer shell of a skydiving helmet is composed of a combination of ABS and a polycarbonate blend, while the inside is lined with foam for a comfortable fit. As a student, the helmet you will wear is open-face. However, once you are licensed, you may purchase and use a helmet that has a face shield (known as a full-face helmet).
One of the most basic and underrated pieces of skydiving gear is the jumpsuit. On the surface (pun intended) the skydiving jumpsuit is designed to protect your skin from debris and to provide your instructor with grips to help stabilize you in freefall. However, as you progress, you will learn how important a skydiving jumpsuit can be to your flying progression. Jumpsuits are also often discipline-specific, with different types being used for different types of flying (i.e. sleek and slick for Freeflying or with booties and grippers for Relative Work).
The altimeter is a critical piece of equipment that uses barometric pressure to calculate altitude. The altimeter is necessary to ensure that you are deploying the parachute at the correct time/altitude. Although the altimeters that we provide to our students are analog, digital altimeters are commonly used once a student has graduated from the AFF training program.
Other Pieces of Skydiving Equipment
As you progress and gain experience as a skydiver, there are a few other pieces of skydiving equipment that you may use. Here are two additional pieces of skydiving gear that are often used by experienced skydivers.
An audible altimeter is worn within the helmet and uses an audible tone to indicate pre-set altitudes. Audibles are used in addition to visual altimeters to ensure that a jumper remains altitude-aware in freefall and under canopy. This becomes particularly important as jumpers become involved in more advanced canopy piloting and in types of skydiving where there is significant horizontal movement (like wingsuiting).
The Flysight is a GPS tracking device used by wingsuiters and canopy pilots. While on a skydive or under canopy the Flysight gives off an audible tone when there is a change in glide ratio, horizontal or vertical speed. The GPS data is logged from the jump, so after landing, an individual can review their skydive as plot points on a graph. This allows jumpers to see how changes in their body position affected their flight dynamics.
Ready to get geared up? Now that you’re more familiar with different pieces of skydiving equipment, let’s get you in the air to see how it all works firsthand! Come jump with us!