BRITISH PARACHUTE ASSOCIATION www.bpa.org.uk
Wharf Way, Glen Parva, Leicester, LE2 9TF Tele: 0116 278 5271, Fax: 0116 247 7662, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
GUIDELINES FOR JUMPING A WING-SUIT
(These are not BPA rules, but are produced in an effort to assist Club Chief Instructors and those wishing to jump a wing-suit)
PURPOSE a. Wing-suits are specially designed jumpsuits with fabric membranes located between the legs of the jumper and from each arm to the torso. The membranes typically are inflatable, dual-surface designs to produce lift. Wing-suits slow the jumper’s descent in freefall and increase glide. Using a wing-suit, jumpers can stay aloft longer and cover greater horizontal distances in freefall relative to other jumpers.
QUALIFICATIONS AND PREPARATION a. Before attempting a wing suit jump, a skydiver should: Have a minimum of 500 freefall skydives or a minimum of 250 freefall skydives made within the past 18 months, and receive one-on-one instruction from an experienced wing suit jumper. Completely read and understand all manufacturers’ documentation and training information provided with the wing suit. Have the ability to perform exits and skydive in the deployment position described in this outline before making a jump with the wing suit. Training by an experienced wing-suit flyer should cover the following topics: Gear selection, especially canopy choice and the deployment device. Rigging and wearing the wing suit. Aircraft pilot briefing and skydiver heading awareness during wing-suit flights. Aircraft exit techniques. Basic techniques for wing suit flights. Deployment procedures. Emergency procedures. Grandfathering – Any jumper that does not meet the requirements to jump a wing suit but can demonstrate (I.e. Video/logbook entries) they have done so safely after instruction from an wing suit instructor abroad, may continue to do so.
EQUIPMENT a. The correct parachute deployment device and method are critical for successful wing-suit jumps: Arm motion is very limited for the main deployment procedure. The suit generates a large burble behind the jumper. Bottom-of-container throw-out pilot chute is the only deployment system that should be used while making a wing-suit jump. (Some suits may have a throw-out pouch attached to the suit its self. These suits may have been designed for BASE jumping and not skydiving). Under no circumstances should a pull-out system, leg-mounted throw-out, or ripcord-activated, spring-loaded pilot chute be used. Wing-suits must be worn correctly to ensure proper performance during the flight and that safe deployment and emergency procedures can be carried out by the jumper wearing the suit: Arm-torso fabric membranes should include a quick-release system that the jumper can operate in any flight mode. The quick release system should be frequently maintained Leg-leg membranes should also be releasable (zip) to allow the jumper free leg movement during landing. After the suit is on, the jumper should make sure that all of the straps and operation handles could be accessed properly. Some parts of the harness may be obscured by the wing-suit so the jumper should ensure that they are securely fastened.
Form 235 (i)
(Issue 1, Jun 2003)
Canopy choice is an important consideration for wing-suit jumps: The main canopy should be docile in nature with consistent opening characteristics. Problems such as abrupt heading changes or line twists on opening can become a much larger problem due to the jumper’s limited extremity movement when wearing a wing-suit. The jumper should use a familiar canopy. Altimeters. A visible altimeter is required as per standard BPA regulations. Chest mounted altimeters my read inaccurately. An audible altimeter is highly recommended. AADs. An AAD is recommended but a speed (in conjunction with altitude) triggered device may not work due to the slow descent rate.
EXIT TECHNIQUES a. Flight plan: To avoid entering the airspace of other groups of jumpers, wing-suit jumper(s) should plan to fly the wing-suit off the line of flight for jump run. The wing-suit jumper(s) should co-ordinate with the pilot for the planned jump run and make the aircraft pilot aware of the wing-suit jump flight plan. Because of the slow descent and horizontal capabilities of a wing-suit, the pilot and wing-suit jumper should fly away from each other following exit. Be aware of other aviation activities on the airfield i.e. Gliders, micro-lights, flying school etc, DO NOT encroach their airspace. DZs are notified as being no more than a 1.5 mile radius from the centre of the notified DZ/PLA. Therefore, you may not legally skydive outside that radius. There are many possible variations of exits and aircraft configurations, but wing-suit jumpers should exit the aircraft first or last: Some aircraft door will be difficult to negotiate due to the restricted arm and leg movement with the suit in the jump configuration. Wing-suit jumpers should practice the exit on the group using a mock-up or the actual aircraft. Exit techniques: To prevent a collision with the horizontal stabiliser of the aircraft, a wing-suit jumper should exit with the flight surfaces collapsed until well clear: legs together arms against to the side A wing-suit jumper should never jump or fly upward while exiting.
DEPLOYMENT a. b. c. d. e. Deployment is generally considered the most complicated part of flying a wing-suit. Deployment procedures should be practised on the ground until smooth and proficient. Stop all radical manoeuvres by 6,000 feet AGL. The wave-off signal is accomplished by clicking the heels together several times. Recommended deployment altitude: Beginner wing-suit jumpers should initiate deployment no lower than 5,000 feet. Once a jumper has become comfortable with the equipment and procedures, deployment is recommended by 3,500 feet. Keeping the body symmetrical is critical for safe deployment: Start by closing the legs and bring both arms to the side of the body. Keep the legs slightly extended to create a slightly head-down attitude and improve airflow over the back of the jumper.
Form 235 (ii)
(Issue 1, Jun 2003)
Initiating deployment: Bring both hands in symmetrically while grasping the pilot chute handle with the hand on that side. With the wrist of the pilot chute hand, quickly flick the pilot chute into the airstream to the side of the jumper while bringing both arms to full wing extension symmetrically. Quickly retract both arms to re-collapse the wings as soon as the pilot chute is released. As soon as possible after deployment: Release the wing extensions (typically a zipper is provided for non-emergency situations). Begin controlling the canopy using the back risers or by shifting your weight in the harness if you are experienced with this technique, to maintain heading and fly clear of traffic. After establishing a controllable canopy and a clear heading, release the membrane between the legs. Once the wing-suit is ready for the remainder of descent and landing, release the brakes for full canopy flight. Regardless of whether the suit is ready or not, ensures you have full control of your canopy by your personal “hard deck”.
EMERGENCY PROCEDURES a. b. If one wing comes loose in freefall the other should be released immediately. Routine parachute emergency procedures should be planned and carried out with the wings of the suit still attached. If the main canopy malfunctions and requires a cutaway, the legs should be closed together to collapse the wing, prior to cutting away and deploying the reserve in order to minimise the burble behind the jumper and aid reserve inflation. Unless it becomes necessary, do not waste time releasing the wings in the event of an equipment emergency. Water landings. Water landings should be avoided at all costs. A flotation device is highly recommended if jumping near bodies of water. In the event of a water landing, getting out of the suit is the utmost priority. If the wings have not already been cutaway before landing, they should be as soon as possible. A knife is highly recommended to help get out of a suit in a water landing.
INITIAL WING-SUIT FLIGHTS a. b. c. Practice wave-off, deployment, recovery, after exit on the first jump, until comfortable. Learn basic stable flight with the wing-suit before trying radical turns or barrel rolls. Learn to control fall rate and heading with solo jumps before jumping with other wing-suit skydivers.
DEPLOYMENT ALTITUDE Despite the lower rate of descent in a wing-suit the BPA minimum deployment altitude applies to wing-suit skydivers as to any other type of skydive.
Form 235 (iii)
(Issue 1, Jun 2003)