The following document is a brief overview on general safety recommendations for wingsuit use on the drop zone. These recommendations can serve as a basis for safe DZ operation with wingsuit skydivers.
Wingsuit First Flight Course
- A wingsuit First Flight Course (FFC) should be taught by a current wingsuit coach, recognized by a formal training program from a manufacturer and/or national organization.
- Before the FFC is commenced, the prospective wingsuit pilot needs to meet all national organization criteria to qualify for wingsuit training (number of jumps and currency requirements).
The FFC should be taught in accordance with the training methods of the manufacturer, and should always contain the following elements:
- Theory and gear knowledge
- Jump planning and preparation
- Exit technique and safety
- Practice Pulls and Deployment Technique
- Freefall recovery and canopy emergency procedures
- Coach assessment on successful completion of the FFC
Mandatory equipment varies from country to country, and it is essential that local guidelines are always followed.
The following gear is highly recommended for use during a wingsuit jump:
- Visual Altimeter
- Audible Altimeter
- (open face) Hard helmet
- (preferred) 7 cell, Non-aggressive / Light loaded main canopy
- RSL / Skyhook
- Freefly approved / modern gear
Use of the following gear while doing a wingsuit jump is strongly discouraged:
- Pull-out Pilot-Chute (use throw-out only)
- Collapsible pilot-chute with a bungee/elastic kill-line
- (Older) rigs with the pilot-chute pouch on the leg strap
- Mechanical AAD (FXC etc)
- Elliptical/aggressive main canopy
- Use of camera/GoPro during the first 25 wingsuit jumps
Wingsuit selection should be appropriate to the experience level of the jumper. Wing suits can be divided into three distinct classes:
- Rookie 0-75 Jumps
- Intermediate 75+ Jumps
- Advanced 250+ Jumps
A current list with all wingsuit models available on the market, sorted per size/category, can be found online at paralog.net/ppc/suits.php
Exit order and body position
- Wingsuit skydivers should board the aircraft with leg wing zipped, but arm wings open (only to be zipped up at higher altitude prior to exit). This allows for unrestricted arm/hand movement in the event of a low altitude aircraft emergency.
- It is recommended that wingsuits always exit last. To prevent unplanned flybys or other close calls in freefall, even clear and pulls and other jump types with higher deployments are advised to leave the plane BEFORE wingsuits.
- During the exit, the wingsuit arm and leg wings should be kept fully closed until AFTER the jumper has passed underneath the rear stabilizer of the aircraft.
Navigation and deployment
- Good planning is essential for a safe wingsuit flight. Before the jump, understand current winds, direction of jump run, and pre-determine the deployment location. The planned flight path should then be communicated to the pilot before exit.
- With multiple wingsuit groups are on the same load, it is imperative to communicate flight paths, and adjust each group’s plan to prevent patterns from crossing/overlapping.
- To prevent unplanned proximity to other freefall jumpers under canopy, it is important to avoid flying directly back over jump run (down the line of flight).
- A wingsuit should avoid unplanned proximity (250 meter horizontal, and 1000 ft vertical distance) to already deployed canopies of AFF students, tandems or normal freefall jumpers.
- Exceptions such as XRW should only be attempted with prior permission from the dropzone and all jumpers involved, with canopy pilots and wingsuit pilots skill and experience level fitting the canopy size and wingsuit model flown.
- The first 25 wingsuit jumps should only be attempted with clear ground visibility.
- Always follow cloud clearance/visibility requirements of your local organization.
- After successful completion of a first flight, a minimum of 2 up to 10 solo (or guided) wingsuit jumps are recommended, where new skills are practiced and perfected. (Once again, local requirements may vary dependent on the jumper’s experience level.)
- 4500 ft is the recommended deployment altitude for the first 25 wingsuit jumps. After this, deployment may gradually and incrementally be lowered to normal deployment altitude.
- A higher deployment altitude is recommended whenever switching to a new wingsuit model that the skydiver has not jumped yet, due to differences in accessibility of the BOC.
- For the first 100 wingsuit jumps, it is recommended that deployment altitude is no lower than 3500ft.
This document was written by Benoit Syben and Jarno Cordia with input from Eli Gerris, Yorick Bleijenberg, Tamsyn Snyman, Andreea Olea Xander Stewart, Thijs Deschepper, Fokke vd Werf, Martijn Maas, Marcel Verdult, Bart Vereecken and