Monday, March 05, 2007

Parachute operation and landing

Choosing when to deploy the parachute is a substance of safety. A parachute should be deployed high enough to give the parachutist time to switch a malfunction, should one occur. Two thousand five hundred feet is the practical minimum for advanced skydivers. In freefall, skydivers monitor their altimeters to decide when to break off from the configuration (if applicable) and when to open their parachutes. Many skydivers open higher to put into practice flying their parachute. On a "hop-and-pop," a jump in which the parachute is instantly deployed upon exiting the aircraft, it is not uncommon for a skydiver to be under canopy as high as 4000 or 5000 feet.
Flying the parachute has two basic challenges: to land where considered, often on a target; and to avoid injury. On a more advanced note, some skydivers enjoy performing aerobatic maneuvers with parachutes. An example of this would be the "Swoop", an extremely exhilarating, but dangerous skill which entails a fast speed approach towards the ground, and then levelling off a couple of feet above the ground to cover as much distance as possible (as much as 600 feet), in a fast horizontal swoop.
A modern parachute or canopy "wing" can glide large distances. Elliptical canopies go faster and farther, and some small, very loaded canopies glide faster than a man can run, which can make them very challenging to land. A highly skilled skydiver using a very small canopy can achieve over 60 mph horizontal speeds in landing.
A good landing will not have any uneasiness at all, and will land the skydiver within a few feet of his intended location. In competitions, champion accuracy skydivers regularly land less than two inches from the center of a target.
Nowadays, most of the skydiving connected injuries happen under a fully opened and functioning parachute, the most common reasons for these injuries are badly-executed, radical maneuvers near to the ground, like hook turns, or too-low or too-high landing flares.

No comments: