Safety Day presents the perfect opportunity to strengthen the relationship between jump pilots and skydivers. Your pilots can participate in DZ safety culture by speaking to jumpers about skydiving from a pilot’s perspective, including segments on aircraft weight and balance, aircraft emergencies and forced off-airport landings of the jump aircraft. Have them discuss these issues with your jumpers, who may not have given the subjects much thought. The goal is to create good dialogue between skydivers and jump pilots before action becomes necessary during an in-flight emergency.
Safety Day can also give your pilot the opportunity to learn. The Federal Aviation Administration approvals for most single-engine jump planes require pilots to wear emergency parachutes while flying skydivers. If your pilot isn’t a skydiver, consider teaching your pilot how to egress, clear the aircraft and use the parachute. Have your pilot gear up in the pilot’s rig and get an experienced skydiver or instructor to check that the pilot is wearing it correctly. Make sure your pilot is prepared in case a load of skydivers needs to ride down with the plane. Remind pilots of the risk of AAD activation during a rapid descent. And make sure your DZ has a plan to escort anyone approaching or departing the aircraft on the ground to ensure that they do so via the rear of the aircraft and away from the propellers.
Randy Ottinger | D-6041
USPA Director of Government Relations